Ever since Britney Spears graced our screens, I have long been a fan of her music. You Drive Me Crazy became a dedication to my first crush, I Was Born To Make You Happy was frequently played after the demise of an online relationship and Overprotected was played and replayed on full volume as a teen until I felt my parents had finally got the idea. Even today, Criminal seems to be a popular choice which my husband is increasingly growing sick of.
I can remember a day in secondary school when my English teacher spoke of Britney, “the blonde-headed Bimbo that she is.”
“Hey, some people like her” I chirped up, it was the truth. It wasn’t meant to be defensive, it was a statement.
“Poor Helen, everybody feel sorry for Helen”. There were sniggers around the table as I gritted my teeth and glowered at my teacher. It took all of my strength to keep me from leaping across the table and giving the condescending cowbag a piece of my mind.
As I grew older, my affinity for Britney dwindled along in the background. I still liked her music, but I discovered other artists, too. Linkin Park, Evanescence and Depeche Mode all became part of my favourited soundtracks.
When Britney experienced her breakdown in 2007, I knew that something was wrong. This wasn’t a woman simply seeking attention for herself, this was a cry for help. This was a woman feeling overwhelmed and overburdened, a feeling that I too could somewhat relate to.
I myself have had “slip-ups” in the past. I have had moments where I’ve felt so overwhelmed with family affairs that I have scratched my arms until they have bled. There have been days when I’ve been so overwhelmed with housework that I have thrown and smashed mugs and I have had family members painfully comb out huge tangles in my hair when my skin picking has gotten so bad. People in crisis aren’t aware of their behaviours, they’re existing and they are acting. The voice of reason in their head has shouted and shouted for so long that it has now given up and shut down. I understand, I have been there.
When my mental health is at it’s worst, I experience dissociation. For anyone who has ever experienced it, dissociation is a bit like the feeling you get when you spend all day looking at a computer screen. When you finally move away from it, you can wind up feeling a bit clumsy and disorientated. You are aware of thinking and aware that you have a body, but for whatever reason, you can’t quite make the connection that the hand you have in front of your face is your own. Dissociation is like this, but it can last for hours, days, and sometimes even weeks.
During these spells, I depend on my husband to make a lot of decisions for me. He is not controlling me, it is something that I ask to happen. I ask him to remind me to stop for lunch, to brush my hair and do water changes on my fish tank. I also ask him to remind me to check the oven as when my anxiety is bad as I am notorious for forgetting it and leaving it lit. Having him prompt me reminds me of the things that I need to do and the things I might forget to do without him. It is not about him deciding what is best for me and taking control away from me. Rather, he is taking care of me, just as I have asked him to do.
On my blog, I share my ventures as a submissive woman who has relinquished areas of control to my husband. With stories like Fifty Shades Of Grey and 365 Days, it is easy to think that it is all just kinky sex or that my husband is simply controlling me, but that is not true. Part of my decision to submit to him was in allowing him to take care of me, to protect me and lead me. I am still free to vote, to interact with anyone that I choose to interact with and to wear whatever I want to wear. I have asked my husband to regulate my financial situation, just as I understand that Britney has asked hers to be regulated. This is not control that has been taken from me against my will. It is done because with my mental health, sometimes I have too little trust in myself. As soon as I have “too much” money, I panic about seeming rich and have a horrific tendency to squander it all on things that I don’t need. That’s the truth. That’s why I need my husband to take control. I feel safer only having the few hundred pounds that I am in control of and having him put the rest into our savings account. When I have less money to spend, I feel as though I make much better decisions about how I spend it. Then, if I want to make a bigger spend, I need to speak to him first.
This morning, I read this article from USA Today and it certainly makes for some interesting reading. In it, Los Angeles lawyer Troy Martin explains some of the details of the conservatorship on Britney and indicates to the fact that Britney herself doesn’t object. If anything, Britney at least accepts the conservatorship exists rather for her own wellbeing.
But it doesn’t necessarily have a dime to do with dementia.
Being from the UK, I don’t fully understand conservatorships as it’s not something we have. We do have sheltered living, but that generally is based on the individual passing a variety of complex tests which demonstrate a need for such measures being put into place. A brief bit of research and I note from Wikipedia that:
..a conservatorship may refer to the legal responsibilities over a person who is mentally disordered, including individuals who are psychotic, suicidal, demented, incapacitated, or in some other way unable to make legal, medical or financial decisions on behalf of themselves.Wikipedia
Given that the conservatorship was put into place after her 2007 breakdown then I would guess that the suggestion of dementia made by her father, Jamie Spears, is wrong. Britney had a mental health breakdown, there is no indication at all that she has dementia, at least none that her fans are aware of. Given this, I would agree with a number of fans that Jamie appears to be clutching at straws in order to reimpose some element of control. It doesn’t mean that I agree the conservatorship should be ceased, but the suggestion that Britney has dementia should be discredited, unless and until Jamie can provide viable evidence to support his claim.
More than anything else, Britney’s fans need to listen to Britney herself and listen to what Britney wants. This is her personal life and her own private business. For so long that it is working for Britney and she is not begging us to support an end to the conservatorship, do we really have any right interfering in her personal matters at all?