Mariah Carey just made a strikingly honest confession. Some 17 years after learning that she has bipolar II disorder, the pop icon has opened up about her diagnosis.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Carey confessed that she was "in denial" after first learning of her condition. But, through the years, the singer has used therapy and medication to help manage her mental health. And now, she's keen to use her platform to help others do the same.
"[Mental illness] does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me,” the singer said. “This is just one part that I felt it was time to be able to speak about.”
Carey graces the cover of the most recent issue of PEOPLE and shared the picture of the magazine in an April 11 Instagram post. "I'm grateful to be sharing this part of my journey with you," she wrote. The cover is also featured on PEOPLE's Instagram account.
The magazine also spoke to Dr. Kevin Gilliland (who does not treat Carey) about the symptoms that define bipolar II disorder. According to Gilliland, those with the condition experience periods of low-level mania called hypomania. Hypomania can lead to unpredictable moods, but it can also make people feel more creative. People with the condition can also experience bouts of depression.
“They get described as moody, or difficult people to work with, because those are the two poles of the mood — depression and manic,” Gilliland said.
However, he emphasized: “It’s something you learn to live with.”