The last three months have been a revolution in the life of Britney Spears. Last November, the singer was released from the guardianship that her father exercised over her for 13 years; a month later, the “Princess of pop” turned 40 announcing her next wedding with her boyfriend Sam Asghari and in his social networks, he is constantly shown with little clothes and suggestive dances.
This Wednesday, the singer celebrates the 23rd anniversary of her already emblematic album “… Baby one more time”, which has sold 30 million copies in the world so far, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.
This job brought Spears fame, recognition, and millions of dollars, but also press harassment and instability that led her to lose the direction of her life and career at some point.
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Thus, after a series of public nervous breakdowns – including one in which the singer attacked a paparazzi with an umbrella – a judge ruled on February 1, 2008 that her father, James Parnell Spears, would be given financial and personal control over his daughter.
Although the singer’s erratic behavior indicated that she was not in a good mental state, the details of her condition were taken care of at the beginning of her “breakdown” by her environment.
Last year “Britney vs. Spears”, documentary where it was revealed that the artist’s father used a diagnosis of “dementia” as one of his arguments to justify imposing legal guardianship on her.
The last years of the singer’s life have not been easy, for example, she revealed to a judge in Los Angeles, in the litigation against her father, that she was drugged for years by him to make her pass off as mentally incapable.
With feet in reality
For the psychiatrist Diana Ramírez, the fact that a patient like Britney is prescribed and takes medication does not mean that she cannot take control over her life.
“When you see her speak, you see a playful person, she speaks with meaning, so people can see that she has her feet in reality, a person with a mental imbalance is erratic and dispersed, and she is always very equanimous” said the specialist.
This opinion seems supported by the multiple tours, video clips and television appearances that Britney Spears has had in the last 13 years, where she looked lucid and very conscientious for the long working hours she was subjected to.
Most people remember when Britney publicly shaved her head in February 2007, and most of those who haven’t have probably seen photos of the incident. Although at that time there was no idea why he did it, according to the psychiatrist consulted by THE UNIVERSAL Two things were clear: “I was sore and desperate.”
“These types of attitudes speak of a person on the verge of collapse, a person who feels beyond his limits and seeks to vent that pain or despair through an act of breaking, as in his case it could be cracking the skull and the attack of anger that had later ”, commented.
A strange tutelage
A year later, Britney Spears was placed under guardianship, according to The New York Times, which means that his personal and financial affairs would be handled by someone else, in this case, largely by his father.
Court documents detailing parts of the guardianship, including mandatory drug testing and treatment with lithium (a drug generally used to treat bipolar disorder) were leaked in 2016, but the exact reasons for it are still unknown to the public. guardianship.
“Although we don’t know exactly why this arrangement was made for Spears, certain aspects of her case are concerning to many, including the fact that the guardianship remained in effect 13 years later, against Britney’s wishes, a situation in which he has become more and more vocal, ”said attorney Carolina Marín.
While Britney fought for her freedom, her millions of fans around the world did it alongside her and it was thanks to the hashtag #FreeBritney, created in 2019, that they all joined in the same cry.
The #FreeBritney resurfaced in 2021, with Spears herself using the hashtag in a post from Instagram after a court ruled in July that Spears could retain her own attorney while she seeks to terminate her guardianship.
“A guardianship is a legal arrangement in which a judge appoints a person or a team of people (called the“ guardian ”) to help care for another person (called the“ ward ”), who is deemed unable to provide for herself. This arrangement is intended to help someone who cannot understand the importance and consequences of their decisions from making decisions that cause them significant physical or financial harm. Once a court grants a guardianship, only a court can lift it, “said the lawyer.
The specialist explained that, in general, when judges grant a guardianship, they specify both the duration and the scope. In other words, they will say how long the agreement is likely to last and what kinds of decisions the guardian is allowed to participate in.
“Guardianships are generally implemented for people with significant cognitive impairment, or problems with memory, learning new things, concentration or decision-making, and in the case of the singer who has been seen working tirelessly, This deterioration is not visible, at least not physically, because it is a fact that she is able to work and does it, ”Marín said.
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For his part, for the doctor in Psychiatry, Omar Minaya, most of the guardianships used for people of legal age correspond to cases of dementia or serious cognitive impairment related to neurological trauma, such as a stroke.
In some cases, he also detailed that he has seen a tutor assigned to younger people with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Although mental health guardianships exist, they are not common. As a psychiatrist, I have only seen them used a few times in my career for people with mental illness. In most of the cases that I have seen, the mentees had intellectual disabilities in addition to their mental illnesses. On rare occasions other pupils experienced long-term deterioration related to a serious chronic mental illness.
The doctor also reaffirms that a guardianship as long as Britney’s is rare, because she had a psychiatric episode and was treated at the time, so it is not a constant condition in her life.
“Many psychiatric illnesses are episodic, which means that someone spends much of their time in their usual state (either unaffected or minimally affected by the symptoms of their mental illness) and only part of their time is significantly affected. by the symptoms.
Due to the episodic nature and ability to manage many of the most serious symptoms of mental illness, something that broadly and continuously takes away someone’s rights, such as a guardianship, is generally not appropriate, ”he commented.
A worrying case
Putting all of this together, the specialists stated that it is easy to see why Spears’ case is worrisome to so many, since, from the outside, her desire to be left without a guardian was denied for a long time, coupled with the fact that the decisions in the that your guardian is involved went beyond the realm of ensuring basic security.
This was made clear in court documents obtained by The New York Times They noted that Spears said she was forced to act and was denied funds to make cosmetic changes to her home, such as re-staining her kitchen cabinets, despite pursuing a lucrative career.
“Since I did not evaluate Spears myself, I cannot answer questions about the need for this type of arrangement. As a psychiatrist, I find Spears’ case troubling. It highlights many topics related to the way people with mental illness are sometimes treated. There is so much stigma attached to mental illness that it includes misconceptions that people with mental illness are dangerous, lack knowledge and cannot live full and independent lives, ”added Onaya.
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Britney Spears. 23 years of “… Baby One More Time”, the album that changed his life