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)


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