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On Wednesday morning, Mariah Carey bravely went public with her secret bipolar disorder battle in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE. The admission was undoubtedly freeing for the Grammy-winning superstar, who admitted that she had long been afraid that her diagnosis would be outed.

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she said. “It was too heavy of 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 was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001, which aligns with her infamous TRL visit during which she seemed disoriented, handing out ice cream to audience members with a bewildered Carson Daly onlooking. But if you were listening closely, the singer had been dropping subtle hints of self-reflection and internal struggle within her music for decades. Songs like “Outside” from her 1997 hit album Butterfly, an anthem for anyone who ever felt misunderstood, provided solace for fans. And seemingly, as a songwriter, it provided solace for her as well.

The first song I encountered of Carey’s that felt filled with so much pain and sadness was “Looking In,” the last track on her 1995 Daydream album. Alongside a dark piano instrumental, Carey sings: “She smiles through a thousand tears/ And harbors adolescent fears/ She dreams of all/ That she can never be/ She wades in insecurity/ And hides herself inside of me…” I may have been young, but I could understand, as I read her album credits, that these B-sides that would never become hit singles, were there for a reason.

As a long-time Mariah Carey fan since discovering my mother’s Mariah Carey: Unplugged cassette tape, I couldn’t be more proud of one of my idols for being brave enough to share her mental health journey. I’m a ’90s kid, and sadly, all of the idols I grew up with have died battling indescribable pain, namely The Big Three: Prince, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston.

Doctors often say that it takes years before a patient is properly diagnosed, whether it be denial or hesitation on the patient’s end, or just simply being misdiagnosed. I revisited Mariah’s discography, not only to hear from M.C. in her own words, but to provide solace to anyone who’s feeling inadequate, overwhelmed, or fighting their own private battles. You are not alone.

 

“I Am Free”- Daydream, 1995

“Once I was a prisoner

Lost inside myself

With the world surrounding me

Wandering through the misery

But now I am free…”

“Close My Eyes”- Butterfly, 1997

“I was wayward child

With the weight of the world

That I held deep inside

Life was a winding road

And I learned many things

Little ones shouldn’t know”

“Outside”- Butterfly, 1997

“Standing alone

Eager to just

Believe it’s good enough to be what

You really are

But in your heart

Uncertainty forever lies

And you’ll always be

Somewhere on the

Outside”

“Can’t Take That Away From Me (Mariah’s Theme)- Rainbow, 1999

“I have learned

There’s an inner peace I own

Something in my soul that they can not possess

Oh I won’t be afraid and the darkness will fade…”

“Rainbow (Interlude)”- Rainbow, 1999

“I know

There is a rainbow

For me to follow

To get beyond my sorrow

Thunder

Precedes the sunlight

So I’ll be all right

If I can find that rainbow’s end…”

“Through The Rain”- Charmbracelet, 2002

“When you get caught in the rain with nowhere to run

When you’re distraught and in pain without anyone

When you keep crying out to be safe but nobody comes

And you feel so far away that you just can’t find your way home

You can get there alone, it’s okay, what you say is

I can make it through the rain

I can stand up once again on my own

And I know that I’m strong enough to mend

And every time I feel afraid I hold tighter to my faith

And I live one more day and I make it through the rain…”

“My Saving Grace”- Charmbracelet, 2002

“Spent precious years wrapped up in fear

With no end in sight

Until my saving grace shined on me

Until my saving grace set me free

Giving me peace

Giving me strength when I’d

Almost lost it all

Catching my every fall

I still exist because you keep me safe

I found my saving grace within you…”

“Heavenly”- Me. I Am. Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, 2014

“There will be mountains that I will have to climb

And there will be battles that I will have to fight

But victory or defeat, it’s up to me to decide

But how can I expect to win if I never try?”