Mariah Carey’s High and Low Notes

Posted Monday, Apr. 30, 2018

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Anyone who has paid an even passing glance to the career of Mariah Carey knows that the performer has had her ups and downs. Filled high highs and low lows, Carey’s time in the spotlight has been fraught to say the least. Sure, her single “Vision of Love” inspired a generation of singers, but then there was Glitter. Yes, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is a Christmas classic and—according to The New Yorker even!—“one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon.” But recent performances of the song have had critics wondering if Carey’s best days were behind her. Maybe the talent is gone, but the diva remains.

A celebrity has no obligation to explain herself, and neither do the rest of us. We’re all entitled to our privacy, though all celebrities deal with the line between public persona and private life differently. For some, the line doesn’t exist. For others, it’s a brick wall. Whatever Carey might truly feel about her right to stay out of the gossip columns, she recently opened up to People magazine. During her interview, she shared some news that might help explain the ups and downs of her career. 

Carey announced that she suffers from bipolar disorder—and had been diagnosed in 2001. “I didn’t want to believe it,” she told People, on why she didn’t reveal her condition at the time.

Although Carey has bipolar II disorder, which is less severe than bipolar I, she nevertheless experiences periods of hypomania and depression. Perhaps even more significant, Carey feared the stigma associated with mental illness, which she said kept her from being more open about her condition. 

“I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone,” Carey told People. “It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”

This Mental Health Awareness Month, we applaud Mariah Carey for coming forward with her diagnosis and wish her all the best. We hope her voice will be a strong one in support of the continued deconstruction of the stigma surrounding mental illness in our country.