Mariah Carey is known as a larger-than-life figure in all things pop music (and memes), but behind closed doors, she’s been dealing with a mental health condition that affects millions of people all over the world. The singer shared in a new interview that she has begun treatment for bipolar disorder, after being diagnosed 17 years ago.

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” the singer told People. “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.”

Carey revealed that she was initially diagnosed with bipolar II disorder — a mental health condition in which moods can cycle between extreme highs and lows over time — in 2001, when she was hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown.

It wasn’t until recently, though, after a difficult few years that saw a broken engagement, a disastrous televised NYE performance, and more, that the singer sought treatment. She is currently on medication and in therapy to help her manage the condition, and she told People she’s “in a really good place.” She also shared that she’s been in the studio working on a new album, due out later this year.

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

(photo via Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)