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2012 NFL Kick-Off Concert

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Mariah Carey is ready to let the world in on a personal battle she’s kept hidden. In the latest issue of PEOPLE, the singer reveals that she was diagnosed as bipolar.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” the superstar told PEOPLE editor in chief Jess Cagle but after years of turmoil including romantic drama, her own reality show and professional upheaval, she finally decided to get treatment.

“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.”

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Carey now has a therapist and takes medication for bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II disorder deals with periods of depression as well as hypomania, which is a less severe version of the mania typically associated with bipolar I disorder. However, it can still cause irritability, sleeplessness and hyperactivity. Why did Carey decide to come forward? In her words, she’s in a “really good place” right now.

What To Know About Bipolar II Disorder

“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,” Carey says. She’s working on a new album due out later this year.

“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. Eventually I would just hit a wall,” Carey says. “I guess my depressive episodes were characterized 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.”

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