After Britney Spears’ ‘manic’ episode in an LA restaurant, fans fear again her mental health – as psychologist says the pop star, 41, is ‘still reeling’ from the trauma of conservatorship

Reports that Britney Spears had an alleged ‘manic meltdown’ while eating out at an LA restaurant on Friday – after fans apparently approached the star – suggest that she could still be struggling to come to terms with life after her conservatorship ended, claims a top psychologist and trauma-informed coach.

Britney’s husband, Sam Asghari, 28, denied the singer was ‘talking gibberish’ while the pair dined out at the JOEY restaurant in Woodland Hills, California, as reported by TMZ, saying: ‘Don’t believe what you read online people.’

And Britney herself dismissed the incident, saying in a long, rambling post, which has had 75,000 likes, that she was ‘bored’ of the speculation around her and that she’d merely been ‘a little drunk at a restaurant’.

FEMAIL spoke to psychologist Dr Tony Ortega and trauma-informed therapist Caroline Strawson, who said the star is likely to still be floundering following the shackles of the 13-year conservatorship being lifted over a year ago in November 2021.

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The star’s husband explained Spears’ behaviour, saying it had been borne out of frustration at fans photographing her while she was enjoying a quiet meal.

Asghari quashed rumours that he’d stormed out of the restaurant after the incident, saying: ‘People get a little too excited to see my wife so everybody is filming, doing their thing.

‘But you know how it is, fame comes with the territory and I went to get the car to get the hell out of there, and people just thought I’d left, but that didn’t happen. So it is what it is man.’

Since the conservatorship lifted, Britney has become known for her quirky social media antics, often featuring her dancing to the camera in different outfits.

Britney followed up the latest concerning episode by posting a video of herself posing for the camera – and flipping her middle finger – in a video set to Divinyls’ 90s hit I Touch Myself.

Explaining the incident in a longer post to her 41.6million fans three days ago, she wrote: ‘I watched ‘NATURAL BORN KILLERS’ this morning and damn I got ENLIGHTENED … and HOLY SMOKES S**T BALLS.

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‘I’m sure I brought a billion SMILES to me LOOKING LIKE SHREK at a restaurant. Even my best friend couldn’t WAIT TO SEND IT TO ME, THEY DON’T THINK TWICE because we are all natural born killers,’ Spears added.

‘I know the news is all hyped about me being a little drunk at a restaurant … it’s like they’ll be WATCHING MY EVERY MOVE !!!’ Spears continued.

‘I’m so flattered they talk about me like a maniac THEN have the balls to talk about all the negative things that happened in my past !!!’ she said.

‘Honestly it would be safer for me to compliment this world and f**k up because if I become a prophet and don’t create history, we might have something y’all… I’m just KIDDING, but it’s a good thought,’ Spears added.

Caroline Strawson, a trauma informed therapist and coach, says that a life in the spotlight means that Britney is likely to be triggered by high-stress situations.

She explains: ‘What many of us do not realise is that trauma is stored in the body, waiting like a ticking time bomb to go off the moment something triggers you.

‘Trauma responses are responses in our body where our nervous system detects danger or potential danger. Britney has no control over this because, in these moments of being triggered, emotion overrides any logic the brain may be trying to tell her.’

She said that fans approaching the star might be enough to spark irrational behaviour, despite the fact Britney wasn’t in danger.

Strawson explains: ‘So many people try and just “think” their way out of trauma and healing, believing that once an event or person is removed from your life, you will feel better. Sadly, this isn’t the case.

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‘Trauma is a somatic experience and is not about the person/event causing someone to feel the way they do. The conservatorship will have reinforced beliefs that Britney will have been programmed with from a very young age. Life for Britney was conditional.

‘She learnt from a very early age that her sense of worth was wrapped up in singing, dancing and earning money. This is why many celebrities go on to have these very public trauma responses because it’s their nervous system driven to protect them from pain.’

In the months following the end of the legal document, Spears has frquently vented about feeling silenced during the years the conservatorship was in place, saying she ‘felt paralyzed’ by ’15 years of secrets’.

She wrote early last year on her Instagram platform: ‘I was a f*****g nun in my conservatorship!!! The prayer of silence I’ve endured would possibly offend the Pope.’

The star received an outpouring of support from her die-hard fans who helped start the #FreeBritney movement, which is thought to have helped free the star from her father Jamie Spears, but many have continued to express fears for the former child star since it was lifted.

Love and support, says Dr Tony Ortega, a clinical psychologist with more than thirty years experience, and author of #IsHeHereYet: Being The Person You Want To Be With, might not be enough to outweigh the ‘long term negative ramifications’ of the conservatorship.

‘Basic life skills can likely atrophy [under such a conservatorship]. How many of us lost certain skills while we were locked up during quarantine? Socializing again became a bit of a herculean feat. Imagine living under these conditions, actually much more restrictive conditions, for years and years, being told what to do 24/7. One would lose a lot of skills, primarily social skills.’

He adds: ‘Britney Spears is a global phenomenon but not just for her unforgettable music lyrics but also for her battles with mental health and the subsequent conservatorship drama. You wouldn’t want this kind of fame, mental illness and family division for your worst enemy; it would likely have long-term negative ramifications for anyone.’

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Strawson, author of best-selling book Divorce Became My Superpower, says Britney’s childhood – long before the conservatorship was put in place – is also rearing its head in her life now.

‘Growing up in the public eye, Britney learnt that love was conditional and that simply being Britney Spears was not enough. She needed to take on roles. She had to perform a role, earn money and keep her family in the lifestyle they wanted, meaning she had to keep on playing that role.

‘Roles of a singer, a dancer, an entertainer, and a moment-maker to get that sense of belonging that she is enough. Over the years, Britney learnt to stay safe by complying, getting herself into a freeze trauma response.

‘To the outside, it looked like she was singing and performing, however she was stuck in functional freeze as her nervous system was trying to numb out her pain whilst she dissociated, feeling nothing because that would be a painful reminder of not being good.

‘This would have an effect on anyone, as playing a role to receive love constantly is exhausting and likely one of the contributing factors for when she shaved her hair.

‘Erratic behaviour is a way to cry for help so someone, anyone, would stop and notice a child in distress – a child because these are all emotional wounds that form in our childhood. She may have been an adult, but it was the childhood wounds that caused the trauma responses, which were trying to keep Britney safe.’

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