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.

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

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

CS: What are somesigns your job is negatively impacting your mental health and you’re headed fora mental health crisis?

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

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

CE: Most mentalhealth issues can be managed with breaks, outside time, exercise, and stressreduction. However, there are a few times that checking into a mental healthfacility would be paramount for your safety. If you feel you want to harmyourself 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) checkinginto a mental health facility would be paramount. Also, if you find yourselfwanting to harm others or your children, you should immediately check in.     

CS: BritneySpears’ manager said the singer’s medication stopped working. What circumstanceswould cause psychiatric medication to become ineffective? What should you do ifthis happens?

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

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

CE: Depending onyour mental health crisis, you might return to work quickly or you may needtime to heal. If the stress is overwhelming or too demanding, you may not beable to return to the job you actually had. If the job is the main source ofstress and your mental health breakdown, then that job is probably not the bestidea as you will end up back into the facility or having more issues that canlead to even bigger problems like physical issues and crippling depression orheart attacks.

CS: Anything toadd?

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

Read more: TedBundy: Are You Dating a Psychopath?

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