Recently, one of my favorite artists from my youth, Mariah Carey, revealed her battle with bipolar disorder. In her interview with People, she said: “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she 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.”
What resonated most with me was the secret that she worked so hard to keep. I could relate to that in so many ways. In my book, I share how hard it was to carry the secret that my mom was ill. That fear and heavy burden to keep that concealed took a lot of energy. This is all due to the stigma and the fear of being judged because you are not normal. It is so unfortunate.
But, when public figures like Mariah speak out they free themselves and create a safer space for others to just be themselves and maybe even find their own courage to speak up. We are not there yet when it comes to the stigma. But, I can sense a major shift is happening around awareness, education, and compassion for those impacted by mental illness.
In the coming weeks as Mental Health Awareness month approaches in May, I have a few TV interviews scheduled. During one of them in Washington, DC, they already told me that they want to talk about Mariah Carey. I can’t wait to applaud her braveness in speaking up. And, I can’t wait to share the interviews with you!
My request: Talking about Mariah Carey is a great way to raise the conversation about mental illness. Recognizing the incredible courage that it took her to speak up is a beautiful place to start. I encourage you to consider initiating a conversation about mental illness this week. Think about the space you may cause for others in doing so.