Mariah Carey: ‘I lived in denial and isolation’ – Singer on dealing with bipolar disorder

Mariah Carey: ‘I lived in denial and isolation’ – Singer on dealing with bipolar disorder

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Ms Carey, from Long Island, New York was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a mental breakdown meant she was admitted to the hospital. In an interview with People in 2008, the star, who has sold over 200 million records, said it was “the hardest couple years I’ve been through”.

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she said.

“It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore.

“I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love – writing songs and making music.”

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition, characterised by massive emotional highs and miserable lows, also known as depression and mania.

The depression side consists of feeling very low and lethargic while mania, or the massive highs, consists of feeling very high and overactive.

Carey, who experienced typical symptoms, is just one among hundreds of high-performing creators, including Robbie Williams and Stephen Fry, who are suffering from the condition.

She said she developed a “severe sleep disorder” which she said “wasn’t normal insomnia” during the recording of her album at the time in the studio.

“I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down,” she added.

“I guess my depressive episodes were characterised by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad – even guilty that I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing for my career.”

As part of her treatment, she was given medication, which she said was “pretty good”.

“It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that,” Carey added.

The main medication for bipolar in the UK is lithium – used as a mood stabiliser. This is also used in America.

Lithium stabilises the release of neurotransmitters, which send chemical signals around the brain.

Although Carey didn’t specify what medication she was taking, she said: “Finding the proper balance is what is most important,” she told People.

In the UK, the antipsychotic medicine aripiprazole and lithium are the only medicines approved to treat teenagers with bipolar disorder.

As pointed out by Carey, some people experience side effects while taking lithium, which is consumed as a tablet.

According to the National Alliance on social media, some of the side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

If someone with bipolar uses lithium, their thyroid function will be checked yearly, or every two to three months if the dose has been changed.

Taking lithium, according to studies, can inhibit the release of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland.

The thyroid hormones help regulate the metabolism, the process of creating energy from food. So, if the hormone is not being used properly, this can lead to fatigue.

Roughly one in 100 adults in the UK will be diagnosed with bipolar at some point in their lives.

Since part of bipolar is being depressed, the condition may lead to symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, feelings of guilt and despair, and feelings of emptiness or worthlessness.

If you or someone you know is struggling with symptoms of bipolar, there are crisis helplines available, such as the Samaritans which can be called for free on 116 123.

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