The Progress I’ve Made – a guest blog by listener Dava Krause
From ages eleven to nineteen, I would fight with my father almost everyday. We would have screaming matches so intense that I would lose my voice for hours afterwards. My mother would say we fought because we were, “too much alike.” I hated him. And because I believed that we were alike, I hated myself. I was lonely, anxious and filled with rage from frustration. The only thing that made me feel any relief was cutting myself. But the cutting would make me feel totally screwed up so I would hate myself even more. When I was diagnosed at eighteen-years-old with depression and anxiety I felt a bit better because what I was feeling actually had a name and could be somewhat regulated by meds. But I was still miserable.
There is an amazing project going on right now called It Gets Better. Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens’ lives will improve. It’s truly inspiring. It made wish that I could fly back in time in a DeLorean and tell twelve-year-old me that it would get better for me too. That I felt helpless because I was living with a father whose mood swings were indulged and whose emotional needs were constantly prioritized over mine. That part of my deep frustration came from my parents refusing to see me for who I really was and not what they wanted me to be. That I would move out and grow up and become an adult who makes her own choices and create a unique life for herself. That I would eventually seek professional help and work on managing my anxiety in ways that didn’t involve yelling or cutting. That although I inherited my father’s depression and anxiety, I was in fact, nothing like him at all.
These days, when I feel myself going to that dark, hopeless place, I try and picture future me flying back in time to tell me how I’m on the right path. I try to appreciate what I have instead of what I don’t and believe that I can become the person who I aspire to be inside if I work on it. I also remind myself to moisturize so future me will look pretty damn good for my age.
Dava is a comedian and writer living in Los Angeles.