Melissa Rein Lively, of Scottsdale, Arizona, told USA Today on Thursday that she spent a week in a mental-health facility after filming herself destroying a face-mask display at a Target on July 4.
She said that extreme stress from the pandemic led to a "manic bipolar episode."
She also said that her husband had filed for divorce and that she had lost all her clients at her public-relations firm.
"I think mental illness has been really something that has not been addressed as a result of this pandemic," she told USA Today, "because what happened to me was scary, and it changed my life forever."
A woman in Arizona who posted a video of herself destroying a face-mask display at a Target on social media earlier this month said that her husband had filed for divorce and that she had lost all her clients at her public-relations firm.
Melissa Rein Lively told USA Today on Thursday that she spent a week in a mental-health facility after the incident on July 4 at a Target in Scottsdale, Arizona. She described it as the result of a "manic bipolar episode" brought on by stress.
"I think mental illness has been really something that has not been addressed as a result of this pandemic. Because what happened to me was scary, and it changed my life forever. I felt I had absolutely no control over my actions," Rein Lively told USA Today.
Rein Lively, the CEO and founder of a PR firm in Scottsdale, said that when she returned home from Target, her husband called the police and she had to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
"I can absolutely see that how I acted was unbelievably inappropriate, not to mention classless, and just completely out of character for how I conduct myself, professionally and personally," she told USA Today.
She said she also received death threats after the video of the incident spread across the internet.
—Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) July 5, 2020
She said she's speaking out now to encourage others with mental illnesses to seek help
Rein Lively said she hoped to let others know that "they are not alone in facing mental illness."
She said that she was returning to a mental-health program for further treatment next week and that she hoped she could restore her reputation too.
"It's going to take a long time for me to rebuild the trust from people, you know, as I get my life and career back on track," she told USA Today. "I love what I do and am passionate about what I do, and I'm going to fight this."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resources on its website for mental-health care in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency says stress can lead to worsening chronic health problems and mental-health problems, as well as changes in sleep and eating patterns.
"The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children," the CDC website says. "Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19."
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