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My Success Story

My name is Dana Gricken and I'm 24 from Canada. I'm a writer, kindness lover, and video game addict.


My whole life, I’ve struggled with bad panic attacks and depression. I was bullied and abused as a child which contributed to it from both kids and teachers at my Catholic school and my parents. They were narcissists who loved to slam doors, throw things, and scream in anger. They'd often lash out at me for no reason and school was the same way.


I felt like I had no safe place. Living in that house was like walking on eggshells as a child. I was lonely, anxious, and had no guidance. To this day, I still have nightmares and PTSD.


The abuse I witnessed in that Catholic school will always haunt me, especially the evil things the teachers said and did.


Over the years, my anxiety worsened. Therapy was hard to find and my dad didn't want to take me. I had to drop out of school at 14 and be homeschooled to graduate. My panic attacks were too bad to attend anymore, and it was so difficult when no one understood. Everyone thought I was just lazy and irresponsible.


When in reality, I was struggling. Deeply. Anxiety and depression are invisible and not everyone understands it.


I got on disability at age 21 because I couldn’t work. Lost my license because I couldn’t drive. Lost friends and opportunities too. I’ve never had a job. When the pandemic struck, my anxiety worsened. The longest I was housebound for was a year, also known as agoraphobia, and I never left the house. I devoted all my time to writing and video games. That's how I've written so many novels. Boredom and nothing else to do.


My house became my prison. I felt like a bird stuck in a cage, unable to leave. It was a miserable existence and I cried a lot. It felt like my life was slipping away and that I'd never be normal. That was all I wanted: to live a normal life. To go places, to fall in love, to not have anxiety. That's all I've ever wanted.


After my grandpa died on February 5th 2023, I had a mental breakdown. Severe panic attacks all day. I couldn’t sit down—I’d pace for 14 hours a day until my legs ached and I collapsed, screaming and hitting myself. I was self harming and suicidal. I was barely sleeping or eating.


I thought everything was hopeless. I thought I was dying. I couldn't write or relax anymore. I couldn't do anything except have continuous panic attacks and anxiety. It was like a switch had been flipped in my brain and I was in a perpetual state of panic. It was torture, the worst kind.


The car was a big stressor for me—I’ve always hated the movement. I had a severe panic attack in the car to my grandpa’s funeral. Lost vision, arms and hands went numb, couldn’t breathe. I’ve always been resistant to medication and scared of side effects but I had no choice.


I needed to fight to get my life back.


I started Prozac in February, a small dose of 10mg. Then upped it to the 20mg I’m on now for a few months.


It’s like night and day. I’ve been in the car traveling 30 minutes to see my boyfriend with no panic attacks. Yes, I have a boyfriend now! I just went shopping with him. Again, no anxiety. I went out for breakfast with my grandma and no anxiety. I've been starting slow, sticking close to home, and gradually working out of my comfort zone.


I feel like I finally got my life back. This is a success story. Don’t give up—Prozac will take some time to work but it will help you if you need it.


Am I completely cured from anxiety and depression? No, of course not. It will always linger within me. And I fear it'll come out again. But the Prozac has helped greatly and I’ve made amazing progress I never thought was possible. I’m still on disability and not sure if I’ll ever work—still have anxiety and trauma—but hey, just leaving the house is my goal. And I can finally write, relax, and game like I used to. I'm so happy to be back to my writing.


When I made it to my boyfriend's house, I nearly cried tears of joy. I could travel again! I wasn't housebound anymore. It was a huge accomplishment, and my entire family was proud of me.


Believe in yourself. You got this, things will get better, and I love you. You are resilient and will overcome. If I can do it, you can, too. I don't know what you're struggling with but I do know you're STRONG.


The human spirit can survive anything. Trust me, I know that well.


You’re worth it. You deserve a great life! I hope you believe that one day.


Take care,


Dana :)

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2 Comments


patriotico67
May 22, 2023

You and the challenges you have overcome exemplify, the triumph of the human spirit, Dana! I found your post via your tweet. @Patriotico67 😍

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danagricken
danagricken
May 22, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, I appreciate that! Always upwards and onwards. :) Hope you're having a great Monday!

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