Friday, June 3, 2016


When I was younger, I continually broke down into tears over seemingly little things. Having to do the laundry when I was tired, having someone be angry at me, or just feeling like I was wrong. I often felt unloved and out of place, and attempted to be the center of everyone's world, I think as a result of feeling abandoned by my parents. I had incredible mood swings, with seemingly small things sending me from perfectly happy to raging mad, like the time I was planning for my 16th birthday party and my friends put mayonnaise on my sandwiches. I left after yelling at everyone and went outside, and filled by guilt, started crying. Then I felt stupid for crying so much, and cried so more.

For a long while many people told me that my mood swings and constant crying were a result of being spoiled by my grandparents. I was told that being sad for no reason was "stupid" and that I needed to "grow up". Inwardly, I always felt dejected, and like I would never go anywhere in life, a sentiment that was echoed to me by my mother once, but always stayed with me.

Once I became an adult this consistent "sadness" manifested itself in me sleeping all day, and shirking off responsibility. I get sick often, and got fired from a job that paid on the rent on my first ever apartment, I sign to me that I couldn't succeed on anything I tried. This came after me having to leave college, moving in with my family, moving out, and moving into an apartment in Spokane, only to end up fighting with one of my roommates over a huge misunderstanding, and because she was a friend that I ended up losing, I spiraled into a pit of despair of that moving back in with my family didn't help.

I felt like a fool, a failure. I tried to be happy and enjoy life, but for some reason I couldn't be happy. I moved in with a person I trusted, moving away from my family once again, and they ended up being not only verbally abusive, but emotionally, and occasionally physically abusive as well. But I felt I deserved it somehow. Because I was a failure and never would achieve anything, this house, with this horrible person would be the best I would ever get. I spent hours, even days laying in bed, sleeping, crying, not eating, not accomplishing or trying to accomplish anything.

Again, all these behaviors, which should have been a sign that I was deeply unhappy and even unhealthy, were treated as me being spoiled, a princess, that I needed to grow up. So I moved out.

For a while after moving in with some very close friends, I was happy. They had a baby who I loved, we all got along, I had a job that paid the bills, I was in a show as the lead, and I went to New York with money that I saved up. But occasionally calls from my family, or interactions with my old housemate, or even negative experiences at rehearsal would send me spiraling into hours of me feeling useless, unlovable, not worthy, and an unnecessary addition to the planet.

But then I got with a boy, I think out of a need to feel something for someone, and to have someone value me as a human and tell me I was worthwhile, and I ended up moving out of this place where I felt mostly happy. While he never mistreated me, I knew that he wasn't right for me, and I ended up breaking up with him, and leaving. Out of hurt, he sent me these horrible text messages calling me such evil things, that I couldn't help but believe. Because I had used him to feel good, and this was the payment for it. I deserved to feel bad because I was a bad person, and this new boy that I was with was going to figure that out and leave me as well. I felt so awful. But I had spent so many years hearing people telling me that feeling bad was me being spoiled and acting out, that I had no way to clearly evaluate all the negative stuff I was feeling. I figured that I was probably just being a princess again, and no one would care about how awful I was feeling.

So, after standing on the edge of the cliff for what felt like years, and being constantly nagged at by this hurting boy telling me how awful I am, I decided it was the end. I was done hurting, and no one needed my bratty self to bring them down or make them feel bad. Crying so hard I could barely breathe, I swallowed 3/4 of a bottle of ibuprofen. I told the guy who was harassing me that he had won, I wasn't going to be around anymore, and he wouldn't have to watch me be happy with someone else.

But then Cory found me and he wanted to know what was happening. What had I done. Why I was feeling so sick. So, figuring it was too late, I told him. Obviously it wasn't, and he took me to the ER to have my stomach pumped. Now apparently ibuprofen won't kill you, but it can cause a lot of damage to your insides. And it made me feel awful. Looking at Cory who was so worried about me, I realized I didn't want to die. I just wanted to feel better. I didn't want to be so sad. And then, after having my stomach pumped, I realized that I would never try to do anything so stupid ever again.

Soon after, I quit my job, and laid in bed for a month, maybe two. I forgot. It was a dark time. I slept all day, not wanting to eat, not wanting to get another job, not wanting to achieve anything. I hated everything. I hated myself. Everything was awful. I would just lay in bed and cry and sleep, and try to connect with my boyfriend, but cry when he get understandably irritated by my neediness.

I knew in my heart I was depressed, but I was embarrassed by that fact. I didn't want to be seen as someone who was crazy, or someone who was less than anyone else. I didn't want to have to tell people I was depressed and see them give me that look you give someone when you're trying to empathize or sympathize. I didn't want to be pitied, I wanted to be strong.

So I told myself to "get over it" like so many others had said before, and got a job. I love my job. I was happy there, and getting to a place where I was happy with myself and my life again. When bad feelings surfaced, I would cover them up with a smile, accept more hours at work to keep my mind off of it, and fill up all my free time. Soon I was so booked up with stuff to keep me busy, and in my mind, happy, that I exhausted myself.

I started to lose joy in anything that made me happy before. I didn't want to do theatre anymore, I didn't want to paint, thinking about cheerleading made me nauseous. I never felt hungry, I had no motivation, and I couldn't bear the thought of going to work when I felt this horrible. I felt like I was at the edge of the cliff again. I had to get help. I went to OBHC, but the process to get to see a counselor when you're not an immediate danger to yourself is mildly ridiculous. But after urging from my boss, I went to my medical doctor, who, after hearing just a partial list of my symptoms, confirmed I was depressed.

It was a long and horrible process that I just got help with, literally two weeks ago. So many people supported me along the way, and offered help, and comforting words that I ignored out of fear. I want to thank you all.

And I want to urge anyone who feels like they may be depressed, or have some other type of mental illness, get help. Don't wait. There is so much shit and so many stereotypes when it comes to mental illnesses that it can be scary. Ignore all that stuff, ignore anyone who tries to downplay what you're feeling, and get help. You'll thank yourself later on. This life is so beautiful, it's a shame that we would even waste part of it not feeling like our best selves.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something bank teller living and working out of Okanogan County. She's avidly working to get her life back to normal after being diagnosed with depression, and going back to enjoying everything about her life. In her spare time she coaches cheer, acts, sings, and rambles on her blog. For more of this, that, and the other thing, check back sporadically. 


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