Bebe Rexha says she went public with her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2019 to “free” herself from fear.
The 30-year-old singer explained why she shared her diagnosis and discussed her experience with the mental health condition in a new interview with Self magazine.
Rexha went public with her diagnosis on Twitter in April. She said she initially had a breakdown after learning she has bipolar disorder, a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, including depressive lows and manic highs. “I was very fearful,” Rexha recalled. “I didn’t want to think there was something wrong with me.”
Rexha ultimately decided to share her diagnosis, both to empower herself and others struggling with mental health conditions. “That was my worst fear all my life: going crazy,” she said. “I felt like me opening up to my fans was me finally saying, ‘I’m not going to be imprisoned by this.’ And maybe it’ll make somebody not feel imprisoned, in that moment, if they feel like they’re going through a rough time. That’s why I decided to really open up and to free myself from that.”
Rexha is also diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a condition where hormonal fluctuations cause severe mood changes before a person’s menstrual period. Rexha said she was previously afraid to share her struggles because of the stigma of mental illness. “It’s the war you have inside your head: Will it affect my career? Will people judge me? Will they want to work with me?” she explained.
With the support of her family, Rexha started seeing a therapist and later began taking medication. She said the medication hasn’t changed who she is as a person or a performer. “I’m still the same person in the studio,” the singer said. “Medication has maybe helped me be a little bit more insightful and learn things about the world and also allowed me to be a little bit more centered so that I can actually write about my feelings.”
Overall, Rexha said she is “fine” and doesn’t want people to pity her for having bipolar disorder. “There’s nothing to feel bad for. I’m fine, I’m healthy, I’m working on myself,” she said. “I’m bettering myself as a human.”