Photo by Noam Galai/FilmMagic

One of the best known R&B singers of all time has come forward with a confession. For the first time, Mariah Carey revealed that she suffers from bipolar disorder. The 48-year-old was diagnosed in 2001 after experiencing a mental breakdown.

The singer opened up to PEOPLE saying that when she learned of her diagnosis she didn’t want to believe it.

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore,” the 5-time-Grammy-winner told the outlet.

The artist recently began seeking treatment and taking medication for her bipolar II disorder. She tells the magazine she waited so long because she feared public knowledge of her condition would be career-ending.

“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me…I was so terrified of losing everything,” the songstress said in the interview.

It’s not too often that mental illness is openly discussed in the black community, and it’s even viewed as a taboo topic to some. Michelle Williams spoke about this in 2013 when she opened up to the Associated Press about her struggle with depression.

(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

“We’re taught, ‘Just go to church and pray about it. The Lord is going to heal you.’ Well, in the meantime, I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists — that’s your healing. Take advantage of it,” said the Say Yes artist. “Go see a professional so that they can assess you. It’s OK if you’re going through something. Depression is not OK, but it is OK to go get help.” 

Additionally Jenifer Lewis recently revealed that she lived with bipolar disorder for years, and self-medicated with alcohol before actually seeking treatment. Hopefully the brave confessions of these notable figures will encourage others to receive the treatment they need.

TELL US: Do you believe there’s a stigma around mental illness in the black community? Why or why not?

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