“Hey, is Kayla there?”

“Nah, this is anxiety. She’s out for the day. Or week. Or month. Whatever.”


As many of you know (or I hope you know), the past week was Mental Health Awareness Week, with October 10th marking “World Mental Health Day.” After reading an Instagram post by a dear friend, Cristina Laforgia (@cristinalaforg), I immediately felt compelled to write my next blog on it.

Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder 

Panic Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder


Lucky for me, I’ve only been diagnosed with the first two, so naturally, I’m convinced I have the third one too.

Anyways… I’m not positive where my anxiety stems from, but I have a hunch. It’s a complication of events. It’s genetic. And it’s definitely ironic. Until only a few years ago, I was incredibly stubborn about taking Advil or putting medicine into my body. ‘My mind and body will heal itself.’ Well, that worked out well – I now take an anxiety medication every.single.day.

So, How Did You& Anxiety Meet?

If I was destined to cross paths with anxiety, you would think I would’ve back in 2012 when I moved across the country by myself. I moved from Massachusetts all the way to San Diego to attend college. But back then, I was your typical 18-year-old free-spirited naive teen. I felt invincible. Nothing could touch me. Not even this so-called ‘anxiety.’

After my freshman year, being far away from home started to sink in, and transitioning into adulthood came with its own challenges. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder my Sophomore year. I got nervous before tests. I had trouble making decisions because I feared I would make the wrong ones. My hands got clammy before interviews.

This new disorder did not affect my everyday life, however. All of these symptoms seemed manageable. And then came the paranoia. I hated being alone. Ask my college boyfriend. If I had to sleep alone, I would cry fearing something would happen to me. But for some reason, when spring break came, I decided to stay at my college house while all my roommates went home. I figured I would be busy working on a film project, and besides, my roommate’s cat would keep me company. Maybe I was staying to conquer my fears. Either way, it didn’t work.

I became so paranoid one night I ended up calling 911.

My anxiety was in full-on swing. After that night, anxiety and I became best friends. We started doing everything together. It would randomly show up during school telling me to leave my classes. It would come to my job. It would interrupt my movie nights. It was the definition of a stage-five clinger.

Eventually, it started to interfere with my everyday life. I finally decided to go back home for the summer where I would be surrounded by childhood friends, family, my precious dog and a town I felt comfortable in.

When I came back to San Diego for my Junior year, I felt motivated. I had two years left to finish school and figure out what to do with my life. Maybe I just needed a security guard to make sure I was always safe. So what did I do? I hired a bodyguard.

No, I’m kidding. But I did adopt a German Shepherd.

As the year went on, I felt more and more stressed about school, work, my friends, family, and the hardships of life. My paranoia was at an all-time high. Don’t believe me?

One night, I went to watch a scary movie with my two roommates and was convinced there was a shooter in the theatre. I had a full-on panic attack and ran out hyperventilating. I broke out into hysteria. I even left my favorite water bottle behind. I realized how ridiculous I looked, but it didn’t matter. In the moment, I felt like my heart was going to explode..

The next attack I experienced was a month later – I was on my college campus walking to my class. I skipped class and sprinted to the  urgent care where I was monitored for two hours. I was prescribed emergency medication to slow my breathing and calm my central nervous system. The next few months were a nightmare.

I struggled between classes, work and even spending time with my friends. I was scared to leave my house, drive, go to the gym or interact with anyone. I was terrified when my next panic attack would sneak up on me. I felt like such a burden to everyone who had to deal with my irrational thoughts.

"But it's all inyour head."

I either felt isolated. Scared. Stupid. Tired. Irritated. Or


I still can’t decide what was worse: feeling all of those things or feeling nothing. When I felt all of those things I felt paralyzed. It was so hard to be in-the-moment without being in my head. And when I felt nothing I ended up skipping a 200 point final exam because I didn’t want to get out of bed. My anxiety controlled my life. I prayed a therapist would cure me. I did everything in the book, but still couldn’t manage all of my symptoms.

Finally, I started taking medication. It took me so long to accept it though. Not only is there nothing wrong with taking medication, taking it doesn’t make you weak. Shortly after starting it, my symptoms started to diminish. It’s like I started to see things in color again. The more I opened up about my anxiety, the more I realized how common it was. According to National Institute of Health, a mental health disorder affects 1 in 5 adults in America. This breaks down to 43 million people.

Since that’s a high number, you would think that it would be no big deal to open up about it, right?

Me too…

Think about it. Why don’t people talk about it more often? Maybe because it’s frowned upon? Maybe people are too scared to speak up?  Maybe they’re embarrassed? Maybe it’s too hard to articulate how they feel? Maybe they’re afraid of being judged? Maybe they don’t want to be seen as incompetent or weak? It’s sad that even I contemplated whether or not I should write this blog. The second my fingertips pressed on the keyboard I thought: What will future employers think?

If idolized celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Lena Dunham, Demi Lovato, Kerry Washington, Cara Delevingne, Adam Levine, Kesha,  Ellen Degeneres, Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lady Gaga and so many more can openly talk about disorders they’ve experienced, then why can’t I?

My transition was by no means overnight. It took persistence, consistency and a positive attitude. Being able to freely speak about my experience has helped me acknowledge it and move forward. I am so lucky to have a strong support system to help me through this journey. I know there are so many others who are not as fortunate. I hope that this blog inspires others who are struggling with a mental health disorder. Finding what makes you happy and pursuing it can provide relief, and in my personal experience, there is no better feeling than an inner sense of comfort.