What I Wish I Knew

What I Wish I Knew:

This isn’t going to last forever.

There is nothing wrong with you.

What I Wish I Knew:

Stand up for your friends.

Stand up for yourself.

What I Wish I Knew:

Don’t fight fire with fire.

Fight fire with water.


I am twelve years-old.

Boys are mean.

I am teased.

I am patient.


What I Wish I Knew:

Don’t tattle tail.

But don’t take shit.

What I Wish I Knew:

Don’t sacrifice who you are

For the convenience of other people.

What I Wish I Knew:

There is no direct solution.

Ignoring them doesn’t work.

Yelling back doesn’t work.


I am thirteen years-old.

Boys are cruel.

I am taunted.

I am patient.

What I Wish I Knew:

You are not alone.

You have your self.

What I Wish I Knew:

Not everyone is happy with who they are,

They will take it out on you.

What I Wish I Knew:

Don’t let them knock you down.

Keep your head up.


I am fourteen years-old.

Boys are vicious.

I am tormented

I am getting impatient.


What I Wish I Knew:

Use their words as motivation.

Head for the light at the end of the tunnel and don’t look back.

What I Wish I Knew:

Jennifer Lawrence got bullied.

Jennifer Lawrence obviously won that battle.

What I Wish I Knew:

They don’t have a soul.

Don’t let them take yours.

Middle school was an anxiety-ridden prison cell for me. I remember walking home one time, and a group of boys ran out like a stampede and threw me against the ground. It was covered in snow. I walked home in wet clothes that day, feeling numb. From the cold or from exhaustion, I’m not quite sure.

I wish I could go back-in-time and revisit myself that day. I wish I could give myself a hug, and tell myself that this won’t last forever. Life is tough, but so are you.

The world doesn’t have to be a cold place. You might feel alone, like you’re the only one going through this, but unfortunately, that is far from the truth. Bullying has no preference. It will pick anyone; it is desperate and insecure. Hearing other people share their stories shows me that we’re in this together.

Activist, Demi Lovato opened up about her experience with bullying. She shares a powerful message, “The last decade has taught me a lifetime of lessons. I’ve learned that secrets make you sick, I’m learning how to be a voice and not a victim. I’ve learned that sex is natural. I’ve learned that love is necessary, heartbreak is unavoidable, and loneliness is brutal. I’ve learned that the key to being happy is to tell your truth and be OK without all the answers.”

I had no choice but to learn to ‘tell my truth’ and to love myself so hard that other people’s opinions eventually didn’t matter. And looking back, I now agree with Paulo Coelho more than ever, “How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.” It’s hard not to take things personally but Demi’s suggestion, “be a voice and not a victim” should help you realize millions of people are fighting this battle. Stand up for yourself, and stand up for each other. Together, we can overcome bullying. 

And a message to all the bullies out there – think about what you say and how you say it. Words can never be taken back. Try to spread love and not hate. And remember to treat others the way ALL HUMAN BEINGS deserve to be treated.


Please visit this website for more information on bullying: https://www.stopbullying.gov/media/facts/index.html

New Anxiety, Who Dis?


“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 in

your 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.