"And then here was this older, talented musician, you know, all over me, and I was like 'Oh, guys like me, they find me attractive,'" Joel said. "Oh my God, I really was that naïve. And so, love is, love is addictive, I mean love, love ... love can be a crazy thing."
She was a teenager when she fell in love with her band's bass player, Jimmy Riot.
"I met him when I was 19, he was 34. I started to feel like a woman through him," she said. "It was my first big romance. My career, my sexuality, as a woman, I associated with him."
After four years together, Alexa was devastated when their relationship ended.
"He wanted me out of the apartment. He basically kicked me out, You never get over that experience, being kicked out of your home," Joel said. "I was crying every day for two years straight after that and, I was in denial, I was like, 'No, he didn't do that. This didn't happen.' It's, it's like a form of... you're not well."
She wasn't. On the morning of Dec. 5, 2009, Alexa woke up with a sense of dread, anticipating the holidays without her boyfriend. She made a decision which she would very soon come to regret.
"I was genuinely, so distraught, and in so much pain," Joel said. "It was near the holidays. I was upset. I don't want to like call and bother anyone with this anymore, 'cause I'm so sick of this pain, let me just, go to sleep." Joel took nearly a dozen homeopathic aspirin pills, ones she thought might help calm her down. Ones she never thought would hurt her.
"It ended up making me feel kind of sick, and then I panicked and I was just not thinking clearly," she said. "It kind of bothers me, that the press calls this an overdose. And I take full responsibility for what I've done. But at the same time, I wasn't trying to kill myself. I have a flair for the dramatic, OK, I'm an artist. I'm a performer. Did I actually want to die? Absolutely not. I was not suicidal."
But her parents weren't taking any chances. Brinkley encouraged Alexa to admit herself to a psychiatric hospital for intensive therapy.
"I knew with my mom that she was feeling the pain I was going through," Joel said. "I mean she's just such a compassionate, empathetic woman. And she's so emotional, like me. Overly emotional. And so she was feeling the trauma as I was feeling it, and then as I was feeling better she was feeling it, so she was living it with me. And my father, he has such perspective, he was like, 'You got to see outside of this. You're an intelligent, talented, beautiful woman.' He just would build me up so high, so, I -- I have a really good mix with the two."
Joel credits her parents with pulling her out of the emotional abyss of depression. And now, she wants to be front and center, as someone willing to talk to young fans about what she calls "Heartbreak-Related Depression."
"I think every woman, when she's going through this immense heartbreak and, really, depression and isolation, feels totally alone," Joel said. "So many women are writing in on Facebook and MySpace on my page and sending me long letters and they said, 'Thank you for admitting to it' and 'This issue needs to be brought to light more.'"
Equally upfront about her physical appearance as she is about her emotional vulnerabilities, Alexa made headlines recently when she admitted to rhinoplasty to correct a deviated septum, and to change her looks.