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Beba Rexha on living with bipolar disorder: I won't be 'imprisoned by this'

After years of living with her symptoms, the singer now enjoys a more "balanced" life, thanks to therapy and medication.
/ Source: TODAY

Beba Rexha is getting candid about what it's like to live with bipolar disorder.

The 30-year-old singer graces the cover of the March edition of Self and inside the magazine's pages, she opens up about her long journey to finding help for her symptoms.

Bebe Rexha is featured in the upcoming March issue of Self magazine.
Bebe Rexha is featured in the upcoming March issue of Self magazine.SELF

Though Rexha opened up about struggling with mental illness in her 2018 single "I'm a Mess," she was upset when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year.

“I was very fearful,” she revealed. “I didn’t want to think there was something wrong with me.”

Just days after receiving the diagnosis, she decided to go public with it in an April 2019 tweet in an effort to "free" herself and also to help fans who may also be struggling.

“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," she added.

Rexha revealed she has bipolar I disorder which, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, is "defined by manic episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care." Depressive episodes can also occur and typically last at least two weeks. Episodes with a mix of depressive symptoms and manic symptoms can occur as well.

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Rexha is glad she sought help to deal with symptoms of bipolar disorder. "I made an adult decision to take another step to better myself," she told Self magazine.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The "You Can't Stop The Girl" singer says she began experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder as a child. "Even as a little girl, I remember always (being) anxious, scared of what was going to happen. I was so worried all the time,” she shared.

"I would get super hyper, and I would text everybody, and I’d just get sloppy. I couldn’t control my emotions, and I was always super anxious, and couldn’t sit still," she continued.

The singer was also plagued by "weird" feelings and thoughts.

“I’d be in the passenger seat of the car and I would want to open the door and jump out and just get f------ squashed. Which is terrible.”

After years of struggling alone with her symptoms, Rexha decided to seek professional help, though she was concerned about the stigma around 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 recalled thinking.

The singer now sees a therapist and takes medication under the guidance of a psychiatrist. “It’s helped me live a more balanced life, less ups and downs. When my medication started kicking in, I couldn’t believe how I felt. I couldn’t believe that’s how good people could feel.”

Looking back, Rexha has no regrets about sharing her diagnosis with fans.

“It’s scary, but at a certain point you got to say, ‘F--- it, this is who I am.’ Or you just keep it to yourself,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s nobody’s business. But, for me, I like to be very transparent with my fans … and I won't allow it to label me. It’s something that I’m going through, but it’s not me.”