Mariah: I have bipo­lar dis­or­der

Grammy win­ner says she was afraid if she spoke out ear­lier about her strug­gles with men­tal ill­ness, it would have de­stroyed her mu­si­cal ca­reer there and then, writes Jonah Engel Bromwich

Sunday Tribune - - GOSSIP -

MARIAH Carey, the su­per­star singer who has lived in the pub­lic eye for three decades, has ac­knowl­edged that, in 2001, she was di­ag­nosed with bipo­lar dis­or­der.

Carey dis­closed the di­ag­no­sis in an in­ter­view with Peo­ple mag­a­zine’s ed­i­tor in chief, Jess Ca­gle.

The in­ter­view marks one of the first in­stances in which a celebrity of Carey’s stature has ac­knowl­edged her strug­gles with men­tal ill­ness. In the in­ter­view, she ex­plained why she had not pre­vi­ously re­vealed the di­ag­no­sis.

“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a life­long dis­ease that would de­fine me and po­ten­tially end my ca­reer,” she said. “I was so ter­ri­fied of los­ing ev­ery­thing.”

Carey said that she had lived in “de­nial and iso­la­tion and in con­stant fear some­one would ex­pose me”, and that she had come for­ward after the bur­den be­came too heavy to bear. She is in ther­apy and tak­ing med­i­ca­tion for bipo­lar II dis­or­der, a dis­ease that can cause sud­den and ex­treme shifts in mood, among other symp­toms.

Peo­ple mag­a­zine de­clined to ex­plain how the in­ter­view had come about, say­ing only that

Carey had trusted Ca­gle to tell her story. A pub­li­cist for Carey did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Carey was a teenager in the late 1980s when she was re­cruited by Tommy Mot­tola, the pres­i­dent of what was then CBS Records, to be­come a pop star. Her fame was swift with the back­ing of the la­bel, and that placed enor­mous pres­sure on her from the be­gin­ning.

She spent long hours in the stu­dio record­ing her de­but, Mariah Carey, and was nom­i­nated for four Gram­mys in 1991. She won two that year, in­clud­ing the award for best new artist. Her third al­bum, 1993’s Mu­sic Box, was also an enor­mous com­mer­cial suc­cess. By 2000, Bill­board had crowned her the artist of the decade.

But the money be­hind Carey’s rise led to sus­pi­cion. In­dus­try ob­servers ques­tioned the singer’s ini­tial un­will­ing­ness to tour and asked whether her voice was less im­pres­sive than it sounded on record. The scru­tiny in­creased in 1997 when Carey and Mot­tola parted ways.

In the sum­mer of 2001, after a drawn-out feud with her la­bel, and the re­lease of a new sin­gle, Carey was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal for ex­haus­tion. Soon after, her film project Glit­ter was re­leased and widely panned by crit­ics.

The lat­ter half of her ca­reer has been char­ac­terised by in­con­sis­tent per­for­mances and a string of high-pro­file re­la­tion­ships that have been ob­ses­sively cov­ered by the tabloids.

She re­tained her hit-mak­ing abil­i­ties (the block­buster songs

We Be­long To­gether and Touch My Body were re­leased dur­ing this pe­riod).

For many crit­ics, Carey’s mu­sic had be­come less of a fo­cus than her pub­lic per­sona and live per­for­mances. Last year, she was widely ridiculed for her failed lip-sync­ing per­for­mance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest in Times Square.

Carey’s dis­clo­sure of her di­ag­no­sis fol­lows ad­mis­sions of men­tal health prob­lems by other celebri­ties. Last year, Chrissy Teigen wrote an es­say about her ex­pe­ri­ence with post-par­tum de­pres­sion for Glam­our mag­a­zine and Se­lena Gomez told Vogue about her strug­gles with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

But Carey started her ca­reer dur­ing a dif­fer­ent era, and her in­ter­view with Ca­gle breaks new ground. She told Peo­ple that she had de­cided to speak partly on be­half of oth­ers.

“I’m hope­ful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from peo­ple go­ing through any­thing alone,” she said. “It can be in­cred­i­bly iso­lat­ing.

“It does not have to de­fine you, and I refuse to al­low it to de­fine me or con­trol me.” – The New

York Times

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