Mariah Carey is finally ready to talk about her bipolar disorder. First diagnosed in 2001, the five time-Grammy winner has suffered quietly for almost two decades, revealing in a new interview with People magazine that “until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me.”

“I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down,” she adds in the interview. “It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania. Eventually I would just hit a wall. I guess my depressive episodes were characterized by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad — even guilty that I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing for my career.”

Carey explained that she finally decided to get treatment “after the hardest couple of years I’ve been through.” She separated from her husband of six years Nick Cannon in 2014 (they have two children together, six-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan). Then, in 2016, she and billionaire fiancé James Packer parted ways. “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.” (She’s expected to release her 15th studio album this summer.)

She’s also in therapy and taking medication. “Finding the proper balance is what is most important,” she says. In sharing her story, she adds, she hopes “we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”