Mariah Carey recently opened up to People about her battle with bipolar disorder for the first time. “I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” the 48-year-old singer says. “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.”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, an estimated one percent of all Canadians will experience bipolar disorder, also known as “manic depression.” Carey, who shares twins with ex Nick Cannon, says she was first diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001 when she was hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown. “I didn’t want to believe it,” the singer said. “For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder…But it wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working…I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania.”

Now that she’s sought treatment, the singer says she is doing much better. “I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good. It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important.”

Filed under: bipolar disorder, mariah carey, mental health