Tuesday, November 14, 2017

As Seen On TV

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is my favorite binge-worthy show not produced by Netflix. As a lover of musical theatre and all things big, bright, and dramatic, this show is right up my alley. If you haven't seen Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and have thought of starting to watch it, please leave and watch all episodes out right now, and then come back to this post. I'd hate to ruin anything for you. Same goes for any current viewers who haven't seen the latest episode. Because that's all this post is about today.

If you're never going to watch a music sitcom (uhm, who are you? please do it), you need some context. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend follows the life of Rebecca Bunch, a Yale/Harvard Law Graduate who leaves her big practice in NYC to relocate to West Covina, California to find her happiness, NOT to get back with her drama camp boyfriend from years ago, Josh Chan. So she gets a job at a law firm, dumps all her depression and anxiety meds, and goes about getting the man of her dreams. It all goes wrong, at the end of season 2 he leaves her at the alter to become a priest, and sends her into a mental health spiral in season 3. It is a light hearted show with lots of original musical numbers, amazing, relatable characters, and a story line that could go on for seasons.

The latest episode ended with Rebecca attempting suicide. And I want to thank the creators of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, for this episode, especially Rachel Bloom for depicting the journey to a suicide attempt so beautifully and accurately. As someone who has attempted suicide and sometimes just lives in the zone of "suicidal but don't want to die", this episode highlighted a struggle I personally could connect to more than I would have wished to.

Watching Rebecca pull those pills out of her pocket, look at them, and form the idea to overdose, was a completely silent few seconds that felt like minutes. I remembered that feeling. Pouring the pills out, feeling how they tumble onto your hands, knowing that's a lot of drugs and its going to mess you up. But then not caring. Because you want to be messed up. You want to be so messed up that you die. You swallow them all before you can change your mind. You have to act on the impulse before you get too scared. That's always the thing about it for me, is that I know overdosing is a bad idea, I know suicide will do more harm than good in the world, but I'm hurting and I don't have anywhere to turn.

You know I have somewhere to turn, reader. I know right now I have MANY places to turn. But in those moments, always in those moments, I forget I have people to run to, people who love me. In my mind they are all pretending. They feel sorry for me, they actually hate me and are just pretending, if I go back a failure they'll all ridicule me....my brain is an asshole when it comes to making up reasons not to get help when I'm low. From the episode it is supremely evident that many people will miss Rebecca if she is gone. It is evident in my life that I will be missed as well. But sometimes, my brain wins. Sometimes, it puts blinders on me and tells me I've been deluding myself into feeling loved by my circle. I could tell that's how Rebecca felt in this episode, too.

This episode was a gift. I know I have friends who struggle with suicidal feelings as well, but I've never seen a journey to the darkness that is acting on your suicidal ideations from an outsiders perspective before. I recognized so much of it. The insomnia and then sleeping all day. The loss of appetite. The refusal to trust others. The isolation of oneself. I recognized, and I understood, and in turn, felt that someone out there got it, and that's all I've wanted for longer than I can remember. Is someone to get it. Someone to know how all of this feels. Because none of what I feel is good when I'm in a depressive low.

But there is always hope. The episode closes with Rebecca holding up an empty pill bottle and asking for help. There is a beautiful moment where the call button above her seat on the plane she's on, which says help, suddenly turns to the word hope, and that's when Rebecca pushes it. She's foggy from the pills, she knows she's in trouble, she sees a stranger with a friendly face (a very sweet flight attendant) and asks for help. She has hope. She doesn't actually want to die.

That moment was a revelation for me. I've never fully wanted to die. I don't want my whole body to die. I just want the "bad" parts of me to be gone. The parts that are depressed, and anxious, and the parts that assume everyone is going to leave me, the parts of me that hate myself, the parts of me that tell me that I'm going to die alone and friendless. I want the voice that second guesses every good thing I do, to be dead. I've always kind of hoped there was a way to kill that part of me (I know, go to therapy and get back on your meds), and I think that's why I've always ended up in a hospital. Because I realize that you can't just kill parts of yourself. You have to fix them.

This weeks episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gave me something to connect to. I saw the events of my recent past play out, and I didn't lose any love for Rebecca, which made me realize that if I could still love and appreciate a fictional character, than my very real friends and family are still going to love and appreciate me, even when I'm broken. The love doesn't go away.

Thank you, Rachel Bloom. This show is a gift.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something part time retail worker, full time diva, living and working in Bellingham, WA. When she's not working or sleeping, Alexis is working on her first photography series, Alexis Is Alone. For more updates, rants, raves, and letters from the road to mental health recovery, check back sporadically.

You are loved, there is hope. Keep moving forward. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

You're So Toxic

He broke me. I wasn't going to post about this, but I've promised myself that I will always speak my truth from now on, and right now I am broken and as cliche as it is, it's because of a guy. I watched our friendship turn into a relationship turn into something hard and troubled and ugly and that turned into me being too much for someone to handle again and being left in the dust, asked to not contact him for a while. The "we shouldn't talk because we are bad for each other and need to move on" phone call felt a whole lot like he had already moved on.

I was the idiot who didn't see that it was true. We weren't good for each other. Or maybe I did see it. But I stayed because I wanted to feel the way I felt whenever he hugged me, or whenever we had a brief good moment. I wanted to feel warm, and loved. Because of where I'm at in life, I felt like I NEEDED to feel loved by a man to move forward and be okay.

I deluded myself into thinking I couldn't survive without someone, someone who continually told me that I should learn to be more independent. I was independent for a long time. I failed at it. I fail at most things. Our relationship got weird and awkward and ugly because for months now I've been in constant crisis. I've needed so much support that one person alone could not provide. And I asked for too much. I needed to build a circle of people, a circle pretty much already formed, but I relied so heavily on him that he just couldn't take it anymore.

But I told him. I told him someday he would get tired of me. He would get tired of all the crying and the emergencies and the meltdowns and the panic attacks. He would get tired of me always being depressed, always needing attention, always overthinking, always worrying. And he told me he wouldn't let that happen. That he would ALWAYS be there. And now he's literally non-existent in my life and I feel SO alone.

I'm okay for a little bit and then something makes me remember. Something reminds me of all our jokes, or one of "our" songs play. Or I see a late night tv sketch that I want to show him, because I always saved up funny videos to show him on road trips. Or I start thinking. And the thinking brings the self-blaming. It's my fault no one loves me. It's my fault everyone leaves. It's my fault that I'm a toxic force in so many people's lives. Some of its true. Most of its not.

Right now I wish I could call him, tell him that I'm sorry. That I know he wants us to not talk until all the wounds have healed and the scars have faded, but to apologize for the itemized list I have of all the shit I think made him leave. I can't stop crying. I can't stop fixating. I can't stop thinking about him replacing me.

I am so broken. I know this is necessary. Sometimes you love someone but being around them holds you back. He keeps me from recovering fully because I rely on him too much to support me, and I'm afraid if I'm not sick he won't have a reason to stay. But honestly, he would probably still be here if I wasn't SO sick. I need to recover and become my best self. He needs to get his life together. This is big adult breakup with a lot of closure on his end, and zero on mine. But it hurts.

I loved him. I loved him so much as a friend, as a confidante, as something more. He was sunshine. He was the way you feel when you crawl under all your blankets on a cold night. He never failed to put a smile on my face.

But he loved me different, and he loved me less. So here we are.

Him, living his life, unfettered by the heartbreak I'm experiencing about all this. And me, not even able to currently leave the house because I'm so volatile and likely to melt into a puddle of tears.

I'll get over it. Just not for a while.

Photo by Cheyanne Sharpe

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something ball of emotions living in Bellingham, WA. When she's not crying or binge watching Forensic Files, she's working on her new series, "Alexis Is Alone", available to view on Instagram. For more updates on life, her mental health journey, and anything else she finds worthy of writing about, check back sporadically. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Difficult....But Worth It

I feel like I have a sign attached to me that says "difficult....but still worth it". And depending on who you are, you see a different part of the sign. Some people only see the word "difficult". They write me off as a lost cause, the girl too consumed by her depression to ever do anything or be anything of value. They see me as nothing more than the meltdowns and bad days. They see my days on the couch, the moody social media posts, and the constant mood swings in real life as the sum of my parts. I see myself as this as well. I am too difficult for anyone to handle. I'll always be alone. I'll never be more than the girl who cries all the time. The one aching to belong but never feeling fully included, even when I know everyone wants me there. If we're being totally honest, this feeling of being too much for everyone and being everyone's "pathetic friend" who they only hang out with out of pity, is so pervasive that I felt like I was unwanted and in the way at my own birthday party this year.

Then there are those who ignore the first part and only read the second. "But Worth It". They see me as a girl who is broken, but can still smile. The girl who climbs the mountain and makes it to the top. The girl who has meltdowns and panic attacks, but still sees the positive in the world. These people build me up, affirm me, always tell me their alive when I worry they might not be, make me laugh when I'm crying, and understand that I'm not doing this "being on your own" thing gracefully. These people make staying alive worthwhile.

Because the truth is, I AM more than all the shit that's wrong with me. Yeah, I cry over almost everything these days. I wait till I'm alone and then cry a lot, until it gets to be too much and then I just start crying over anything at anytime. Don't believe me? I cry over Youtube ads. Yeah. Anyways, I cry too much, but I also see so much beauty in the world around me. I laugh too hard at childish jokes, I make way too many bad jokes of my own. I can be snarky and sassy and blunt, but I love the people that I've surrounded myself with and like to make new friends. I say I don't like kids, but lets face it, that's a lie and anyone who has seen me around my CTL kiddos knows it. I get depressed, and I blow everyone off, but whenever I can make it to the thing, I do. I get anxious and sometimes can't ask for help in the grocery store when I'm lost, but if my friend is more anxious, I'm going to stiffen my upper lip and ask anyways. I'm a big heart and an old soul trying to figure out how to survive in a world that punishes you for wearing your heart on your sleeve.

I am dark days and stormy weather, but I'm also sunlight coming through the window on a spring day. I'm depressed and anxious but so eager to see the world and see what it has to offer. I meltdown over silly stuff a lot, but I will support any one of my friends through any number of meltdowns if need be. I've been there, I get it. I'm so much more than my mental illness. I'm so much more than my bad days. I just wish everyone saw that.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something hot mess living and working out of Whatcom County, Washington. She is currently working on her first photo series, "Alexis Is Alone" which you can see on Instagram @alexisisalone. When she's not binge watching Forensic Files or belting showtunes, Alexis likes to dismantle the patriarchy and eat Thai food. For more updates on her mental health journey, life, and stuff that grinds her gears, check back sporadically. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Banned Birds

It is 2017 and this country is still banning books. It is 2017 and a book was just banned because it "made people uncomfortable". It is 2017 and in the United States of America "To Kill a Mockingbird" was just banned because people cannot handle the language contained in what is obviously a classic piece of literature. People in Mississippi, a place infamous for its racism and intolerance, just banned "To Kill a Mockingbird" because they cannot handle the "n-word".

To clarify, "To Kill a Mockingbird" (TKM) will no longer be TAUGHT in Mississippi schools, but will be allowed on library shelves. But the necessity for this book to be taught in schools, especially in high schools, is more and more evident every single day. When we live a time rampant with systematic racism, in a country whose leader took advantage of those preexisting prejudices and used them as a basis for his campaign, when African-Americans are being publicly mistreated by the law, when immigrants and DREAMers are being chased out of our country, we NEED this book.

In TKM we see time and time again, that no matter what, a person is a person. Nothing, and I mean nothing, changes this. Not skin color, class, age, situation in life, etc. This book is set in a time when the country was very clearly divided along racial lines, and in a southern state that widened this divide, in a time when anyone who wasn't white was treated as a second class citizen. Throughout the book we see Atticus, the father of the story's young narrator, Scout, treat everyone the same, from the destitute, to the addict, to the backwards thinking hillbilly's, to Tom, the African-American man whom Atticus must defend against rape accusations from a white woman.

It is through this narrative that we see that the law isn't always right, that some of us have a lot of privilege when it comes to how we are treated by the people who enforce those laws. It is through this narrative that we see that systematic racism is real, and it is wrong.

Teaching this book to people who have still developing brains is important, because we need those people to grow up and understand that everyone is equal. That as a country, we didn't handle things correctly for a long time, especially when it came to African-Americans. By teaching TKM, we show not only where we've come from as a country, but where we still need to go. By teaching TKM, we teach how to use white privilege as a tool to make the world a better place. By teaching TKM to high schoolers, you are teaching tolerance, compassion, understanding, empathy, and perspective. By teaching TKM to high schoolers, we are teaching an appreciation for diversity, a willingness to question society, and go against the norm.

The language (and violence) in this book is so incredibly important, because they illustrate where we were as a country in that time. The language frames a narrative that seems to be about coming of age in a turbulent time in American history, but is truly about the heroism contained within simply doing the right thing, even if the right thing goes against the status quo.

But most importantly, from this book, high schoolers will learn hope. Hope for a brighter tomorrow, for a better future for our country, hope for a better future for the people that live within its borders. And they will learn that they can make those hopes and dreams come true themselves, if they are willing to "climb in someone's skin and walk around in it".

There are messages in this book that cannot be taught in a better way. "To Kill a Mockingbird" stands the test of time because the reader connects with characters who touch on topics that America still struggles with today. How do we handle the mentally ill, those less fortunate than us, those of a different race? With grace, with compassion, and by treating everyone the same as you want to be treated.

Mississippi, you've made a mistake.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something full time hot mess and part time diva living in Bellingham, Washington. When she's not defending the need for classic literature being taught in schools, she's taking photos, trying to find a job, and learning how to love herself. For more random updates, rants, reviews, and commentary on life with anxiety and depression, check back sporadically. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017


So I'm doing this 30 day challenge on Instagram where every day there is a theme and you post a photo relating to that theme. Today's theme was happy. I read the word, five letters and two syllables that are meant to evoke some kind of feeling and I felt nothing.

I looked through my photos and all the moments I had where I felt happy just made me sad because instead of being with those people enjoying my life, I'm sleeping on couches, trying to find somewhere to live, and feeling like a failure.

I'm not happy anymore. And honestly, I love Seattle, but I regret coming here more and more all the time. I frequently wish I could go back to Omak, surrounded by the people I love, with my cat, and my friends, and away from all the shit that is bringing me down.

I've made new friends here, but I've recently lost any trust I had for one that I that nothing could shake my trust in. Do you know heartbreaking it is to feel deep down that soon you're going to have to cut someone out because you can't handle the hurt anymore? It fucking sucks. It hurts so god damn much. And like, I know they won't care. You always feel like you're so tough and ruthless cutting someone out, but you know what? Rarely do they care. They move on with their life. They fill your spot with someone else. Well I've already been replaced so what am I doing sticking around?

I used to laugh and smile all day long. Now I'm depressed. I go to therapy, I go to work, and I sleep. Sometimes I remember to eat, when my stomach starts to growl loud enough. But depression kills your appetite. So the other day I ate some top ramen and felt like literal worms were in my mouth.

To top it all off, my body has just like given up on me. For the third time in 12 months, I have a kidney infection. I tried to deny it, I got the diagnosis, I got the prescriptions, and then the doctor said, please stay home for a couple of days, your body has to rest because you're very ill. But I miss so much work due to anxiety and depression, that I couldn't afford to miss more work. I'm terrified they'll fire me, which will really send me into a spiral because I love the job I have, I love the people I work with, and even though I feel like they all secretly hate me because I'm worthless and can't make it to work 25% of the time, I would really hate to lose my job. So I went in anyways. I was in pain all day long. I felt horrible by the time I left. My manager graciously gave me a ride home, and in the car I made conversation, we had a fun talk, but all the while my back was THROBBING.

Cue me puking all night. Cue me trying to go to work this morning, getting on the bus, throwing up into my venti cup of ice and being asked to get back off the bus. So I had to call out again. I've cried like six times since 5 am.

So how can I post a photo of myself being happy or something that makes me happy when I can't see the joy in the world right now?

Someday I'll smile again. I hope.

Alexis Olmstead is just your average 20something diva living and working in Seattle, Washington. When she's not overthinking her meaningless existence in the vast void of space, you can find her doing copious amounts of crossword puzzles. 

For more updates on life, her mental health journey, and sometimes random rants, check back sporadically. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

It's Trich-y Is The Title

The reason I don't do
no-makeup selfies right now
Ever since I can remember I've pulled out my hair. It used to be my head hair. No matter what I did, I couldn't stop myself. Somewhere between ages 8 and 12 (I honestly don't remember the exact time) I had a large bald spot on the top of my head. My family was stumped. I was often reprimanded for this impulse I could not control, once being asked "What's next, your eyelashes? And then what? Eyebrows? If you run out of hair on your face will you start pulling out someone elses?" After a few years I quit pulling out the hair on my head, my bald spot was gone, and it wasn't really brought up again.

Then I hit adulthood. I moved out on my own, my anxiety became worse and worse, and I started pulling out my hair again. This time, however, I wasn't hiding clumps of hair under my mattress, I was pulling out my eyebrows, bit by bit, examining each hair, feeling weird relief in this tiny behavior. After a while I started going after my eyelashes as well. And again, I couldn't (and still can't) stop myself from doing it. I try. I try really hard. Sometimes I realize what I'm doing and I stop. Other times I don't realize until its too late and I only have half an eyebrow, or I have a large gap in my brows, or I have no eyelashes left (see photo).

What I have is a classic case of trichotillomania. For those of you who don't know what this is, I'll do some defining. Trichotillomania is a disorder characterized by the irresistible urge to pull out ones hair. It often has great social impacts as most people with trich end up with bald patches or noticeable hair loss and have anxiety about going into public as a result of it. Before the days of filling in your eyebrows and the sudden popularity of falsies, I had a super hard time being around people after an episode. I was very aware of just how much eyebrow I didn't have, because I would try to hide it (to no avail) and because my family would often point it out to me. Because they never really understood that I literally couldn't stop myself from pulling out my hair, my very embarrassing disorder was almost treated like a joke. I don't hold any bitterness in my heart over this. It wasn't until recently that I even knew that this was a disorder, how were they supposed to know?

My brand of trich is automatic. I do it without thinking, when I'm doing brainless activities like playing on my phone or watching television. But like most people with trichotillomania, it also comes with a ritual. Pull out the hair, examine the hair, put it in a pile on a light colored object so I can see my collection grow. Bonus points if the root comes out as well. If someone walks in on this I hide my little pile of eyebrows or eyelashes, immediately embarrassed that I've been caught doing something that I repeatedly got into trouble for as a child.

The fun part is that there are a lot of different reasons as to why a person may have trich. It is classified as a mental health disorder but no one is really sure what causes it. It is closely linked to anxiety, depression, and OCD, but is not caused by any of those things. The fact that I have anxiety and depression, however, definitely relate to my trich. I'm most prone to pull hair when I'm feeling especially stressed, and often will pull out my eyelashes specifically during depressive episodes (btw, not having eyelashes is no fun. I get A LOT of shit in my eyes).

Anxiety and depression are also linked to excoriation (skin-picking disorder, formerly known as dermatillomania) which is another fun thing that I do that I'll talk about later but I bring up because lately now that I've got no eyebrows or eyelashes to pull, I've moved to tweezing out my leg hairs and picking at my skin to better get at my leg hair. Because of this I have permanent damage to the tissue on my legs, and some awesome scarring that I hide whenever possible. Last weekend was the first time I wore a dress or skirt without tights since February, when my trich and excoriation got really bad.

I go to a lot of therapy now, because I'm still classified as a suicide risk (don't worry, I'm sticking around). However, part of that therapy lately has been focused on trying to find the underlying issue to my hair pulling (if there is one) and helping me recognize my urges without acting on them. However, as anyone with an impulse control disorder can tell you, that's fucking hard as shit.

Life with trichotillomania is hard. But life is hard in general for most people. But I've promised myself I'll be honest with myself and my friends from now on and admitting to this is part of that honesty.

I have trichotillomania. Thank god for eyebrow pencils and falsies.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something barista living and working in Seattle, Washington. For more updates on her mental health journey (or sometimes random rants) check back often. 

Also her bff Chris just put out an EP and it's super good. You can get it for $5 here: https://www.mkt.com/theuptown4/item/chris-taylor-nostalgia-ep (Alexis did not get paid to advertise for this and will recieve no profits)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Painful Truths

I spent Thursday night in a hospital being treated for attempted suicide. For the second time this year I laid in a hospital bed, waiting for a social worker, wondering how it came to this. When did I, a girl who by most people's accounts was destined to thrive, become the girl who took 20,000 mg of ibuprofen and just waited for life to end?

For those of you who might not know, I struggle with depression. And lately it has been eating me alive. I have resorted to self-harming, suicidal attempts, and am quickly withdrawing from most people. I am now in constant crisis counseling, and am setting up intensive outpatient therapy with medication management. If I go back to the hospital for the same reason this year, I will be involuntarily placed in a mental hospital for treatment. I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing, I mean, if I'm desperate enough to try this again, maybe I do need 24/7 supervision.

I went to the hospital alone, driven by the kind soul who is letting me sleep on her couch, and had no company but the teddy bear I've had since high school. I sat in that room, hooked to IV's and an EKG machine, throwing up into a bag, not allowed to have anything in the room but my bear and the water cup, not even my own clothes, and I sobbed. I cried for the girl I used to be. I cried for all the people who are buckling under the weight of trying to help me shoulder my burdens. I cried for my loss of joy. I mourned everything I had lost and felt I will continue to lose because of my disease.

I felt (and still feel) like all the joy has gone from my life. I looked at my arms and wrists, all cut up, and cried because my scars make my once clean arms ugly. I looked at my legs, scarred from constant picking due to anxiety, bruised because I can't get enough iron to stop myself from bruising like a banana, and cried because never again would I be the girl with long, beautiful legs. I looked at my stomach, starting to pooch out beneath the hospital gown I was wearing and thought about the amount of weight I had put on since going back on citalopram. I cried some more.When the hospital tech came in to hook me to the machine that monitors your heart, it was a man, who had to put stuff on my hips, and it gave me an amount of anxiety I couldn't describe because I was already hysterical. I later explained that unknown men touching my body was currently an issue due to some sexual assault I had suffered recently. They explained he wouldn't have to touch me again, but he would be back to monitor some stuff and I cried again. I basically just cried from 10 pm to 130 am in the morning.

Sitting there I felt every single thing I was losing and could almost visualize it slipping away before it my eyes. I was in intense pain, I was sick to my stomach, and there was no one there to hold my hand while I got poked and prodded to get my blood drawn for all the tests I needed to have done. I took an amount that could have shut down my organs, and made my blood acidic. Luckily, I'm young and fairly healthy, because it just made me throw up and fucked up my stomach lining for a few days. I did a horribly dumb thing. I wish I had cried out for help in a different manner, but here we are.

Living with depression means that I think of lots of ways to die. It takes a lot for me to actually act on these ideations. I'm not going to talk about what pushed me over the edge, because to a point, I don't know. I kind of know. But I don't really. For a person who prides herself on being logical and insightful, I don't know what the fuck is going on in this brain of mine. A large part of it is some abandonment issues related to moving all the way across the state from most of my family. Some of it is intense stress due to the fact I've been here for months and have yet to find housing. In fact, I don't even know where I'm going to stay after Friday night. Some of it is the fact that a year ago I was alerted to the fact that a body was found that police suspected to be my father, who disappeared some years ago. His birthday is looming, along with the anniversary of my best friends death. I am drowning.

I was recently diagnosed with a personality disorder and PTSD. I have been sitting in therapy sessions recounting past trauma, and current trauma. It is all very triggering. While it should be a weight off my shoulders to recount all this to someone else, it isn't. It dredges up memories I'd have rather let stay asleep. I have been manic, anxious, and unpredictable. I am so far outside of who I normally am that I'm afraid I'm going to lose the girl I once was.

This is not a cry for help. I have help. I'm getting help. A lot of it, now. This is mainly just me being honest with all of you. I have told a few people off lately, stating that I couldn't handle them currently. And it is true. I can't. I cannot handle any problems but my own. And I'm barely handling those.

For a long while I've been embarrassed about the fact that I'm suicidal as fuck. But I can't be embarrassed about it anymore, because it has stopped me from getting help. I'm not ashamed that I'm sick. I'm ashamed that I have taken less than desirable routes to get myself help for these issues, and have almost lost some very important people in the process. But no more.

Currently, I will be worrying about me. I will be putting my mental health and my happiness first. If I think that you're not going to help that journey, you're out. Because anything that might push me over the edge is a major threat to me right now. I am currently a girl who can not be left around ibuprofen unsupervised, because the slightest thing might compel me to take the whole bottle. Because of this, I cannot be around anything that might give me that reason in the first place.

For everyone who I love and who loves me, thank you for your continued support and love. I will be okay eventually, and I'll be bigger and better than before. But I will not be the same. I am changing, and I hope that I'm turning into the girl I've always wanted to be.

Here's what I need you to do, though. I need you to change the way you talk and think about people who commit suicide. For a long while I haven't wanted to tell anyone because I am afraid of being called, stupid, or selfish. I am neither of those things. I am hurting, I am sick, and on Thursday night, I saw no other way to cope with that. So often I see people commenting on how suicide is so foolish, how the people who die by suicide should have said something, should have reached out. If they just would have said something, they could have gotten help. I'm in the mental health system. I've been trying to get help. Sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes your brain just wants to kill the part of itself that spews evil thoughts and hatred into your mind relentlessly. I have said things, I have reached out. This time, I was ready. I was ready to be done hurting. Because I hurt a lot. A LOT. I guarantee I'm not the only person you know who is like this. Maybe you're like this. I get it. Let's agree that suicide is not the answer.

With intensive counseling, I will be getting the tools that will help me learn to cope with my issues, that will teach me to work through them in a healthy manner and not do things like cut up my arms or take a bottle of pills. I need help, and I'm getting help, and this blog will now be the chronicle of that.

Alexis is a 20something hot mess working and living in Seattle, Washington. She is on the search for inner peace and small amounts of joy. For updates on her journey to wellness, check back sporadically. 

If you or someone you know is in danger of committing suicide, there is help, and you are loved. Please call the number below or go to their website for assistance. And as always, I am here for you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-(800)-273-8255 (online chat available)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

PSA: I'm Out of Order

Lately my blog has turned into a play by play of my mental health struggles. If this bothers you, I apologize, but we all need outlets in this is mine. Many people vent to their friends and family. I prefer to blog.

Tuesday I went to my clinician appointment so that I could get back on my medication. Because I had gotten the appointment through a crisis program, I was asked how I had received the appointment on such short notice. So again I had to recount my panic attacks so bad I felt like I was no longer in control of my body. The 14 hours a day I would spend sleeping, the extreme nightmares, the hysteria, the fact that on any given day I could lose three to four hours of time that I could not recount. I was asked about my childhood trauma, I was asked about all my relationships, I was asked if I still wanted to die (the answer is no, don't worry), and it was all very, very taxing. Laying yourself bare in that way is hard. Especially when you know that its not going to be the last time you have to tell your story this month.

I came out armed with some new diagnoses, PTSD being the one I was most surprised with, and a prescription for an upped dosage of the medication I had been on before. So now I'm in the adjustment phase. And the adjustment phase is HARD.

I have slept from 11 pm to 3-4 pm the next day both days that I have taken my citalopram, and I have still been tired. I've eaten once since starting meds on Tuesday night after dinner, and am not hungry. Also, I feel like withdrawing in a large way.

So here's my announcement to the masses. For the foreseeable future do not expect a call from me. Do not expect me to text you first, or interact in any meaningful way. I probably won't answer the phone, or even most texts. Please don't ask me to commit to plans, and don't be upset when I can't or won't come to things you'd like me to. I can't do it right now. I love each and every one of my friends and family with my whole heart, but currently, I am out of order and needing to focus on myself first. If you message me and I see it but don't reply, know that it is not because I don't care, but because I don't have the energy to handle that right now. I am not looking for outpourings of support, or platitudes, or attention, I am here telling you that right now all that I can handle is staying in my lane and sharing memes on Facebook.

Once I'm well adjusted and leveled out again (thanks meds), I'll be back. But right now I need to focus on myself.

With love.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something hot mess trying to figure out the key to successful city living. For sporadic updates on her life, check back occasionally. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Healthy Anger

It's not RBF if you're actually mad.
For a long time I have repressed all the anger I hold inside my body. Things make me so angry I see red, I stuff them deep down under my abandonment issues, I cry a little, and I move on, never thinking about it again. Or at least that's what I'd like to think - but a day, week, month, later it comes back to haunt me. This anger seeping through every piece of me, eating me alive.

Sure, I show irritation. Yes, I get mad. At little things. I raise my voice, I do the arguing thing, about little stuff. The big stuff that I should process and be angry about in a totally healthy manner? Forget about it. I refuse to acknowledge that stuff. Because usually dealing with larger issues that make me angry results in me having to cut someone out, to tell someone I used to care about I can't spend time caring about them anymore, to stand up for myself and potentially be told that who I am makes them hate me. I am honestly scared of dealing with "the big stuff".

This anger eats at me. It turns into cynicism, into randomly blowing up at friends and family, large increases in depressive and anxious episodes. I have so many unresolved issues that their books could write books (or maybe infrequent blogs where they would rant about Romeo and Juliet being a tragedy and not a romance).

Tonight I got so angry I felt sick. I started to do the thing where I refuse to recognize my anger, and just push it down and don't worry about it. But I decided I was going to fix it. I am angry. I am so angry I'm shaking, and I'm angry about so many things I could just sit here and spout them off for like, a week. I talk about my depression and anxiety on this blog fairly often. You all know most of my journey and what I deal with. But I refrain from going overboard with the "poor me, poor me" posts because I don't want anyone to think I'm seeking out pity, or sympathy. I'm not. I'm just creating a dialogue about completely normal disorders.

Well being angry is also normal. And today I'm angry for a reason I've recognized and vented about but also so many more reasons. I'm angry I can't see my brothers before they move to a different state, I'm angry because there's a disturbed individual on this planet who sexually assaulted me, I'm angry because I'm broke, and I need money, and I need a place to live, and while two of those problems will be resolved soon, finding a place to live is proving to be discouraging. I'm angry because I'm going to have to go back on meds and the adjustment process and the trial period for depression and anxiety meds is a bitch. I'm angry because lately I feel weak. Everyone tells me that I'm strong, that I'm an inspiration for dealing with what I deal with, but I don't feel that. I feel fucking tired, guys. I feel weak. I feel like I can't handle all the weight anymore. I'm angry that I can't buy new clothes for myself and that all my pants are too big now, and I feel angry because some people called me too big before, and now others are calling me too small. I'm angry because I have two good days followed by three bad weeks. I am just fucking ANGRY.

I am refusing to hide this anger anymore. I'm refusing to swallow my anger and pretend it doesn't exist anymore. I am angry, I'm allowed to be angry, and being angry is a healthy response to shit that reasonably pisses you off. So here's to being angry. May we recognize it, may we love it, may we learn from it and be able to move forward, healthier and happier than before.

Alexis Olmstead is a 23 year old diva living and working in Seattle, Washington. Currently she's spending her days looking for housemates, obsessing over Dirty Heads and "Hamiltion",  and watching way too much Netflix. For more rants, introspections, and an inside look at a hot-mess of a 20something, check back sporadically. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Beautiful Struggle.

I have depression. Some people will tell you that depression is a beautiful struggle to have. Depression is often romanticized by society, something pretty girls with dark pasts have, a disease full of tragic slides down the wall, ending in pretty cry face, musical sobs, a song so sad you'd cry too if you heard it.

Fuck. That. Shit. Because of this "beautiful struggle" view of depression, it's not taken as seriously as it should be. Suddenly depression is trendy, anyone having a bad day is "depressed", those who actually suffer from a serious illness written off easily as another Millennial desperate for attention. Do you know how hard it is to find qualified mental health care in this country? It's really freaking hard.

Depression, and mental health issues in general, are anything but beautiful. I can tell you from experience that out of all the things that depression is not, beautiful would be top of the list. I know beautiful people who depression, but that does not make it beautiful in any means. This disease is hideous. It's disgusting. At my best I've not showered for at least a day, at my worst I haven't showered, brushed my hair, or changed my clothes in a week or more.

Lack of motivation reaches to more than just not wanting to get out of bed and being "Sleeping Beauty" all day. It reaches down into your soul, convincing you to quit your job so you can stay in bed longer, to quit doing things you love so you don't have to leave the house, to give up regular hygiene so you can stay in bed, and as an added bonus, don't have to leave the house, because you're disgusting now. Who wants to be around a nappy haired filth person with bad breath? No one. So you stay at home, in bed, running out of money, running out of patience with yourself, with the world. Why do you matter? Why does the world matter? None of it does and that thought goes around and around in your head. Your stomach will growl, but you'll ignore it, because who wants to get out of bed to make themselves food? There's half a granola bar on the bedstand table. You'll eat it around 9 tonight. That's not beautiful. That's part of depression and it is horrid.

When people tell me what a "beautiful struggle" depression is, I think of what I must have looked like the first time I tried to commit suicide, tube down my throat, IV in my arm, my stomach contents being pumped into a bag, vomit coming out of my mouth, mascara running down my face. I was pale and gaunt, a familiar look when I'm at my most depressed. I had been rushed out of the house by my boyfriend so none of my clothes matched, my shoes were half tied, my hair in a bun that was falling out. The second time I was wearing a Christmas sweater in January, paired with some too big sweatpants, mismatched striped socks, and a pair of chic booties. I spent a large part of the night vomiting into little blue bags in the ER, curled up in a hospital bed, hugging myself until my Aunt arrived. My face, doing that pale and gaunt thing again, was thankfully free of makeup, and I didn't have to get the stomach pump, but I was constantly retching from the pills I had taken. This is not beautiful. This is a horrible sight to see. I could feel what I looked like each time, and it wasn't good.

My depression was written off for a long while as a cry for attention. That if I was given more love by those around me, I would get better, my abandonment issues would go away, I would quit laying in bed wishing I could just waste away, knowing that there is no meaning to any of this, we are all going to die and then nothing will come of us after that, and there's no point believing otherwise. At one doctor appointment I briefly mentioned that during my periods my mood swings got exceptionally bad, bordering on full on depression, leading me to take time off work while I was on my period. My doctor told me that was common and that it wasn't serious. I actually had a few doctors tell me that my worries that I was depressed or anxious weren't serious. It wasn't until I had my stomach pumped that I was finally diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Nothing about it was beautiful. Nothing about this was pretty. It was agonizing. I was hopeless. I'm still hopeless most of the time.

My point here, while all jumbled and messy, is that nothing about this debilitating disease is beautiful. That nothing about any mental health issue is beautiful. I wish it was. I wish I could openly tell people when I first met them that I had depression and know they would just think I was a more beautiful soul. But that's just not so. I used to hide my depression as long as possible because I was afraid of losing friends, of being someone who guys wouldn't want to date, of being abandoned. Honestly, these are still things I fear. Because depression has never been and will never be a romantic disease to have.

This thing is ugly, and evil, and ruins lives. Don't believe anything else.

Alexis Olmstead is just your average 20something living and working out of Seattle, Washington. When she's not spending ungodly amounts of time sleeping, Alexis enjoys exploring her new neighborhood, taking photos, and daydreaming of being a Broadway superstar. For more sporadic updates about life, love, and some other stuff, check back occasionally. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

An Update.

Photo from an
upcoming series
by Alexis O
Since moving to Seattle I have been on a mental health roller coaster. I have spent a lot of time sleeping on the couch, and barely any time living. This transition has been hard. I left Omak and my medication behind, the medication being forgotten not because I'm delusional enough to think I don't need it, but because I didn't get a refill and then couldn't find an immediate way to get it over here in Seattle. I've been anxious and depressed, suicidal (no, I don't want to die, this a constant in my life), and exhausted.

As a result, my anxiety attacks have been through the roof. From melting down because I didn't know what type of ice cream sandwich to buy for my cousin to being convinced I had skin cancer (there was a pimple on my arm, I rarely get pimples, have never had one on my arm) and dissociating because of it, I spent three hours paralyzed with fear. According to the intake professional at Sound Mental Health, along with "flight or fight" reactions, there is also "freeze" and what I do is freeze.

Last Monday night I was in the ER being seen for emergency anxiety meds and some other troubling symptoms I'm sure is related to my anxiety, such as the aforementioned dissociation. After speaking with a social worker, I was set up with an appointment at Sound Mental Health within the next two days to get in for a prescription for my depression and anxiety, and to speak with them about the time-lapses and the (I suspect) intense PTSD that I have been repressing until recently, when being sexually assaulted and then upending my life to move across the state caused a lot of anxiety. It was there that I learned that it is very valid to say I have a personality disorder, along with my anxiety and depression. While the professional I spoke to wouldn't diagnose the exact personality disorder due it to just being an intake appointment, and I have some suspicions about what it will be, I will be going back to see another doctor to get more specific answers.

I have decided to start counseling and go on heavier medications to combat the anxiety and depression, because I'm ready to go back to living my life. Even having this idea that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that I'm moving towards a more stable reality, has given me so much more energy than I had before. I've gone out and met people. I've made plans. I have medication from the ER to tide me over until I get in with a clinician next week, but mostly I have hope.

Having hope while having depression is something that rarely happens. I mean, I barely have the energy to brush my teeth, how am I supposed to muster up the energy to hope for things? Not only can I hope now, but today I did something I haven't done since moving to Seattle. I took a self portrait. I pulled out my camera and I just experienced the joy that photography used to give me. For the first time in months, I got that thrill again. Making art is so soothing. I'm so close to returning to the girl that I recognize as myself. I don't cry myself to sleep anymore, the isolation I first felt when I moved here is quickly disappearing, and I have more and more reasons to smile.

Taking the step to go to the doctor was hard and scary. Medical buildings of any kind tend to send me into panic mode. The feeling of unwellness that surrounds these places weighs on me and makes me feel unwell. I admittedly tried to turn around once I saw the ER doors. I have a great friend in this universe who has given me several pep talks outside hospitals and mental health buildings, I owe a lot of this greatness I feel to him.

I am feeling more broken than I have ever felt before, with more questions than ever, but I am hopeful and excited for the future. A better, stronger version of Alexis is on her way. Watch out.

Alexis Olmstead is a part time barista, full time diva living and working out of Seattle, Washington. She's currently on the search for answers about life, love, the meaning of the universe, and hopefully an affordable apartment. In her spare time she likes to change the lyrics to Earth, Wind, and Fire songs to be about her life. For more spontaneous updates on life with mental health issues, and random thoughts in general, check back often.

If you or someone you know is in danger of committing suicide, there is help, and you are loved. Please call the number below or go to their website for assistance. And as always, I am here for you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-(800)-273-8255 (online chat available)

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Last night my heart broke in a way I didn't think was possible. Not since I heard the words "they found a body and its probably your dad". But for the past 12 hours I haven't stopped shaking. My heart has cracked. I am broken.

I looked in the mirror for the first time before I showered and I couldn't recognize myself. Gone was the light from my eyes. Gone was the faint smile I've grown used to wearing to combat my resting bitch face. My whole face sagged. Who is the girl in the mirror now?

I don't know who I am anymore. I don't know how to feel. I sat in the shower with the heat all the way up and I felt nothing but cold. I shivered. I am

I cannot breathe, friends. I cannot breathe. Because this is it. This is what has finally broken me. I am in pieces. Shaky, poorly oxygenated pieces. I feel like I'm watching myself make tea, take a shower. I'm not driving the car, I'm just a silent observer to my own life.

I did not sleep. I woke up every twenty minutes hoping it was all a joke. Hoping this was a bad dream. That I'd get a call and he'd say "I take it back, this is going to be okay, I'll see you Friday evening." That call never came.

I am breaking.

Monday, June 5, 2017

I Do Not Own This Body

Night time is the hardest. Because my body knows it should be asleep, but my brain won't get the hint. So I lay here, clutching the same teddy bear I've been sleeping with for almost 10 years now, praying for sleep to come. But I can't.

I have to go through the list of people who don't love me first. And then the people who pretend they want me around but don't really. Then the list of reasons my boyfriend should break up with me. After that its the bonus round of every horrible thing I've done or said in the past 23 years. On a really bad day it includes all the fights I've had with anyone ever. But lately it includes living a very new trauma.

A month ago I was sexually assaulted. Nothing, not selling the bed it happened on, not therapy, not upping my meds, can make me forget what it felt like to wake up with a man's hands down my pants. I will never forget as long as I live the feeling that I meant so little to the world that someone thought they could insert themselves into my body without permission. I can't stop seeing it. I can't stop seeing the look on his face when I wouldn't give him a hug before I kicked him out of my house. As if I was in the wrong. And then his dismissive apology "so that thing that happened....yeah that was weird". If I was a worse person I'd name him. I'd tell you all who he is, I'd whip the crowd into a frenzy and start a witch hunt. But I don't want that. I want peace. I want to stop seeing it in my mind. I want to forget it. I want to forget that I'm now a number, one of the many faces in the crowd, another college aged girl that fell asleep after drinking and was taken advantage of. The worst part? It was in my own home, and on the other side of me was my best friend. Also asleep. How sick do you have to be to do that to someone with such confidence?

And so now, when I can't sleep, I run through that list I mentioned before, and then the laundry list of reasons why I deserved it. Not the "oh she led him on" reasons, but the "I'm a bad person and this is karma" reasons. Is this somehow the universes form of balance?

It happened and then I had to go be in a show with this person. Two weekends of shows with someone who believed they had more rights to choose what happened to my body than I did. Two weekends of shows sitting next to them in the makeup room pretending I couldn't still feel their fingers invading me. Two weekends of shows pretending like just showing up wasn't a monumental feat for me. By the final show my body shut down. I had the worst panic attack I've ever experienced, I passed out just from standing up, I hit my head, I was puking, and I tried to not go. I couldn't say more than that I was sick. I was talked into going, I was accused of having a hangover, and all the while I was holding back this immeasurable rage and pain that I couldn't tell anyone about. I don't cry in public, and that day I couldn't hold back tears as I got into hair and makeup. The stage used to be my safe place and that whole afternoon I felt like a prisoner in what used to be my home.

Since then I've been the absolute worst. I've been clingier as a girlfriend than I've ever known myself to be. I feel like my strength is gone. I'm scared to be on my own. I'm scared to sleep. I'm scared to drink too much and then fall asleep. Sometimes I'm just scared to drink. I don't trust anyone or anything. I feel like I'm watching myself go through motions, not living them, just seeing someone else control the ship while I watch. I'm trying to put on brave face. I'm trying to be happy for everyone. I'm trying to sleep normally, but I can't. He stole that from me. He took the little amounts of joy, the little amounts of normalcy, the tiny bit of hope I had, and he crushed it with one action. And I don't think I'll ever be the same.

I'm so fucking exhausted.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I Love You, Too

This morning I kissed him goodbye for work and told him I loved him. He said he loved me back. I almost cried.

When you break up with someone but you still love each other, life is a little weird. You still cuddle, kiss, hold hands on the couch. You sleep in the same bed, you shower while he randomly wanders into the bathroom to pee, to check his hair, to bring you a towel.

You buy him beer as a surprise, he brings home your favorite ice to munch on (yes, I'm a chronic ice eater).

But there's an emptiness that lingers. An emptiness that wasn't there before. A nagging feeling that you did this to yourself, and even though you're still affectionate with each other, you are in fact alone.

In a matter of weeks I will be in my own apartment. No more rolling over to see the love of my life sleeping peacefully. No more jokes about the oddities of living together, no more coming home to a smiling face. No more waiting at home for him to come home, getting more excited as the hours tick by.

I know that this is necessary for growth. For healing. For us. But dammit, it hurts like hell.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fear and Loathing In Alexis.

I wish I could say all the things I've been wanting to say for ages now. I wish that a lot of things I need to say could see daylight. That there was no mystery to how I feel about certain people and things. Because while I am very open about specific parts of my life, there is much I have yet to own up to, or even recognize.

I find myself to be quite melancholy lately. I wouldn't say depressed, because well, I mean, I am, I take medication for that, but this is a different sort of emotion. A weighted sadness. One without definition that doesn't feel like the world is ending, but questions, why do I matter in side of this world?

As Watsky once said "there's 7 billion 46 million people on the planet/and most of us have the audacity to think we matter....I know its a lie but I prefer it to the alternative." Maybe I'm a little existential crisis-y, maybe I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm one very small person in one very large world. I can't make much of a difference on a large scale.

I recently lost my medication. I don't mean no longer am allowed to take it, I mean, I put the bottle somewhere, and haven't been able to find it since. Learning to cope with the negativity my mind can't normally handle without going off the deep end has been quite the adventure, I can tell you that. And trust me, my mind throws a lot of shit down.

I think I'm having a good day, my brain tells me that I'm ugly and my boyfriend hates me. I brag about how wonderful my little cheerleaders are and how proud of them I am, my brain tells me no one cares about my girls or the effort I put into making them good. I feel pretty, my brain tells me I'm unworthy of love or positive attention. No one can hit below the belt like your own mind can.

I guess I keep a lot bottled up because I'm tired of hearing myself talk about how shitty everything is. Truth is, I don't have much to complain about, my mind just tricks me into thinking I do.

That my friends, is anxiety. That my loved ones, is depression. It can literally ruin your life if you let it. I spent three months drowning in a pool of my own making, unable to come up for air, somehow comforted by the fact that I was stuck with this awful feeling now. My reality was waking up and hating my reflection, hating my inner self. As far I was concerned, I was just - bad. Rotten to the core.

I had a meltdown because we ran out of ice. I had a meltdown because Mr. Darcy the Cat wouldn't cuddle with me while I napped on the couch. I felt unloved, unwanted, and unimportant. Many were actively telling me how much I was worth, wanted, and loved, but my brain refused to accept this as fact. And often times, that's just how it is. I have to remind myself every so often that my mind is a chemically unbalanced bitch and I need to fight it with every part of my being.

And maybe because I'm feeling like this a little therapy for me, but we're just gonna say it is all related to my mother. My mother who told me I'd never accomplish anything. My mother who called me ugly, and kind of fat, and not that smart. My mother who chose a pedophile drug addict over me and my brothers. My mother who has a permanent place in my head, who is the voice of all my fears and self-loathing.

Every day I fight this voice. Every day I fight the urge to cry when I see myself, when I think about how little I've done. I know it will all work out. I mean, I hope it will all work out in the end. That hope for a brighter someday is all that keeps me hanging on. I dream of bright sunny days where I'm one of those bubbly girls in a white sundress running through a field of daisies. Until then I'm just hanging on, I guess.