Sinead O’Connor’s Struggle With Mental Health: Everything She’s Said About Her Multiple Disorders

The late singer was known for her music but made headlines prior to her death for her various mental health struggles. Here is everything to know about Sinead's health.

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  • Sinead O’Connor was an Irish singer who was diagnosed with various mental health disorders.
  • The late musician had been struggling with her mental health for decades.
  • Sadly, Sinead died on Jul. 26, 2023, at the age of 56.

Sinead O’Connor was an iconic singer and songwriter who died at the age of 56 on Jul. 26, 2023. At the time of her passing, her family released a statement announcing the somber news. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time,” they said in a statement to The Irish Times upon her passing.

Sinead O'Connor health
Sinead O’Connor pictured during a performance in 2014. (Shutterstock)

Not only was the late 56-year-old known for her songs from “Nothing Compares 2 U” to “This Is The Day,” but she was also known for many controversies. In 1992, she ripped a photo of Pope John II during her appearance on Saturday Night Live. Aside from her making headlines for her rebellious nature, toward the end of her life Sinead made headlines for her various health battles. Below is everything to know about her mental health struggles and what she said about them.

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Sinead O’Connor Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

Sinead O'Connor health
Sinead O’Connor pictured singing in 2020. (Shutterstock)

The Ireland-born musician was diagnosed with bipolar disorder some time in the mid 2000s, per PEOPLE. Years later, in 2007, she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the disorder. “I don’t think I was born with bipolar disorder—I believe it was created as a result of the violence I experienced,” she said at the time. Becoming a global super star seemingly made her struggles worse.

“It didn’t really help in terms of being well or a stable person the fact that I really was getting kicked around, metaphorically speaking, by the media for years,” Sinead went on to explain during the interview. “It seemed every time I went to work, all I was getting told was what a dreadful, terrible person I was. And I couldn’t really manage all of that on top of everything else.”

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition also referred to as manic depression, per the Mayo Clinic website. Some of the symptoms include “extreme mood swings,” “emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).” The health organization notes that the mood swings can be a rare occurrence or occur “multiple times” per year. Some treatments for the mental health condition include medication, day treatment programs, hospitalization, and more.

How Long Had Sinead O’Connor Been Sick?

Not only did Sinead struggle with bipolar disorder, but she also revealed that she struggled with depression, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), and suicidal thoughts. During a 2005 interview with The Independent UK, Sinead revealed that she tried to take her life in 1999. “I have made one suicide attempt in my life, and that was on my 33rd birthday, after a session in court that day where it was suggested that for the rest of my life I would only see my daughter once a month,” she explained at the time. “I made a very serious suicide attempt, and I did almost die.”

Many years later, Sinead appeared on Carson Daly show in 2021 and opened up about her CPTSD struggles. “I suffer from a condition called complex post-traumatic stress disorder, from things that I went through growing up,” she told the host at the time. Sinead also touched upon the famous moment on SNL when she ripped up the photo of Pope John II. She explained that it was a therapeutic act as the photo belonged to her mother who abused her in her childhood. “It was a way of ripping her up, as well, I guess,” she revealed.

In 2017, Sinead shared a viral video of herself crying and discussing her struggles with suicidal thoughts and her painful relationship with her family. Soon after, she appeared on Dr. Phil to talk about the emotional video (watch above). “I love my family and I don’t blame them,” she said. “It’s not easy for families of mentally ill people… we can be difficult.”

What Else Did Sinead O’Connor Say About Her Mental Health?

In the years closer to her death, Sinead spoke to PEOPLE about the treatments she tried to help with her mental health. She also revealed that she felt her CPTSD was unpredictable. “You can never predict what might trigger the [PTSD]. I describe myself as a rescue dog: I’m fine until you put me in a situation that even slightly smells like any of the trauma I went through, then I flip my lid,” she admitted during the 2021 interview.

She also explained that she went to therapy throughout her life to help navigate her troubles. “I manage very well because I’ve been taught brilliant skills. There was a lot of therapy,” Sinead said. “It’s about focusing on the things that bring you peace as opposed to what makes you feel unstable.” Sinead is survived by her four children: Jake Reynolds, Roison, Shane Lunny, and Yeshua Bonadio.