Britney Spears: Returning to Work After a Mental Health Crisis

Britney Spears’ manager spoke to the media, saying the pop star might never work again. The singer’s mental health has reportedly taken a downturn, and those close to her are saying she needs to slow down and step away from music.

Work can take a lot out of you. Over time, your job can wear you down physically and emotionally. What if you have a mental health crisis, but unlike a celebrity, you can’t afford to leave your job? How can you transition back to work safely? The Cheat Sheet reached out to Dr. Cali Estes, a therapist and founder of The Addictions Academy, to learn the best way to ease back into work after having a mental health crisis.

Britney Spears|Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images
Britney Spears|Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

The Cheat Sheet: How can you make sure your job doesn’t negatively impact your mental health?

Cali Estes: Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, yet most of us and society does not place the same emphasis on our mental well-being. Long hours at work, more demands, and less time off can increase stress and cause issues in our mental health. Self-care is ever more important now with all these new job demands. You need to take frequent breaks at work, try using essentials oils that are either calming (like lavender) or energizing (like orange). Taking time for nature and exercise along with eating better will help keep your mental health in check. Also, sitting at the computer can cause headaches and migraines over a long period of time due to eye strain and having to hyperfocus. Take frequent breaks, walking around the office, eating well, powering down on the weekend, and unplugging are a few ideas to help your mental well-being.   

Britney Spears| Image Group LA/Disney Channel via Getty Images
Britney Spears| Image Group LA/Disney Channel via Getty Images

CS: What are some signs your job is negatively impacting your mental health and you’re headed for a mental health crisis?

CE: If you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks around going to work or even checking your email from home, it is time for a mental health break. If you dread going to work or feel completely trapped and find yourself angry around Sunday night because you must return to work, you need a mental health break. Depression, anxiety and an overwhelming sense of dread are tied to our jobs. Forgetting things is another sign of overwhelm and can lead to more serious issues if you do not take a mental health break. Repeatedly checking email and bringing work home can impact your mental health if you never get to unplug and relax.

Britney Spears and family| Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood Observatory
Britney Spears and family| Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Planet Hollywood Observatory

CS: At what point should you consider checking into a mental health facility?

CE: Most mental health issues can be managed with breaks, outside time, exercise, and stress reduction. However, there are a few times that checking into a mental health facility would be paramount for your safety. If you feel you want to harm yourself in any way, have thoughts of suicide, or are cutting, restricting food, or binging and purging (signs that you have no control in your life) checking into a mental health facility would be paramount. Also, if you find yourself wanting to harm others or your children, you should immediately check in.     

CS: Britney Spears’ manager said the singer’s medication stopped working. What circumstances would cause psychiatric medication to become ineffective? What should you do if this happens?

CE: Sometimes medications do not work if you have been on them a very long time. Your body will build a tolerance to them and you will not get the same results. Also, you may have a misdiagnosis and the medications are not working because the neuropathways in your brain are firing differently than the diagnosis. Seek a second opinion and possibly a third if you need one. Also, food will affect your mood and mental health. If you are eating sugar and white flour it will affect the brain similar to cocaine and cause personality issues that can be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder. In addition, consider taking supplements that assist in repairing your neuropathways even more than traditional big pharma mental health medications. Seeing a naturopath if your current medications do not work may be an excellent idea

Britney Spears| Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Britney Spears| Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

CS: How can you transition back to work after a mental health crisis?

CE: Depending on your mental health crisis, you might return to work quickly or you may need time to heal. If the stress is overwhelming or too demanding, you may not be able to return to the job you actually had. If the job is the main source of stress and your mental health breakdown, then that job is probably not the best idea as you will end up back into the facility or having more issues that can lead to even bigger problems like physical issues and crippling depression or heart attacks.

CS: Anything to add?

CE:  From celebrities, their mental health can be even more impacted by social media blowback when they are not seen as friendly or doing well. Reading mean tweets or that they are ‘fat’ or ‘unattractive’ can send them into a tailspin and cause stress, anxiety, depression and more issues.

Read more: Ted Bundy: Are You Dating a Psychopath?

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