Bebe Rexha on Living with Bipolar Disorder: ‘It’s a Part of Me’

Bebe Rexha sings about managing her mental health on “Break My Heart Myself,” the opening song on her sophomore album Better Mistakes

Bebe Rexha isn’t afraid to speak her mind.

And the pop star applies her signature in-your-face honesty and attitude on her sophomore album, Better Mistakes, which dropped Friday.

“I’ve learned that you have to be your own cheerleader. I wish I would’ve known that 10 years ago,” the Grammy-nominated singer, 31, says. “If you don’t love yourself, who the f— will?”

On the autobiographical LP, Rexha channels both her confidence and her vulnerability on songs about love, loss, insecurities and even mental health. In 2019, the New York City native revealed she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which causes manic and depressive episodes.

“It’s a part of me I am constantly dealing with. It’s tough,” says Rexha, who manages her mental health with medication and “a lot of therapy.”

Rexha’s album opener, the stand-out “Break My Heart Myself” featuring Travis Barker, addresses her life with bipolar disorder, even nodding to the estimated percentage of Americans the illness affects.

‘Hello, my name is Stevie / Actually, I’m lying, it’s really Bebe / It’s the meds, they make me really sleepy / Klonopin, my friend, yeah, she numbs the feeling,” she sings on the track. “My doctor upped my dosage / My mom felt bad, so she sent me roses / But without it, I get really hopeless / And 5.7 of Americans know it.'”

Adds Rexha: “Sometimes putting it in a song normalizes it for me. It’s just my truth.”

The Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services organization will honor Rexha and others at its inaugural “Mental Health Is Health experience” event, which is streaming for free online May 26. (Click here for more information.)

Throughout her slow-burning rise to fame, Rexha has been known to speak her truth.

When she revealed that certain designers refused to dress her size-8 frame for the 2019 Grammys because she was “too big,” Rexha got as much praise for her body-positivity as for her music. She had faced scrutiny over her figure before.

Bebe Rexha on Living with Bipolar Disorder: 'It's a Part of Me'

Early on in her career, Rexha was told, “Nobody likes like a fat pop star,” she says. “That f—ed with my head, because they made me believe that I was nothing unless I looked a certain way,” she says, adding she’s more confident now. Before, “I didn’t like looking at pictures because there was a little fold of skin. Now I’m like, ‘You can’t live your life like that.’ I got the curves, I got the ass, and that’s what you’re going to get!”

Through all the ups and downs, Rexha has leaned on her parents and brother, her rescue dog Bear and her filmmaker boyfriend Keyan Safyari, 37, whom she was first linked to last fall.

“I’m in such a better place in my life,” she says. “I feel so much more free and at peace.”

For more from Bebe Rexha, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere now.

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