Brad Skaggs

@bradskaggs
Hello, I'm Brad! I'm here to share my experience with mental illness and meet others similar to myself. Hopefully, we can help each other get to a better place. I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. For me, writing has become an important form of therapy. Writing about my illness, life and love is a great release for me. I'm open about my struggles and how I got to this point in my life. Battling a mental illness has been one of the hardest things to do in life, as I'm sure many of you can attest. I will not let it defeat me. I wake up each day, because I have hope. Hope that it will get better. We must believe that or else the darkness wins. www.DeviantArt.com/skaggzy
Community Voices

NO TITLE NEEDED #MightyPoets

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Please tell me that we can look ahead with no worries for tomorrow,

Let us have just one day that's not filled with such suffering and sorrow,

Those of us who give a damn have to step up for a change,

I'm tired of seeing the helpless become victims of the deranged,

Whoever you pray to in your prayers tonight, pray for a little peace,

These are dire times, but collectively we can make the madness cease...

-brad

#MentalHealth #BipolarDisorder #Depression #Anxiety #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #PTSD #Suicide #CheckInWithMe #MightyTogether

4 people are talking about this
Community Voices

REMEMBER THE YEARS #MightyPoets

REMEMBER THE YEARS

I wonder if she remembers all the years,

And not just that one doleful day,

The day when she took her love away,

Because I try not to remember the tears,

All welled up in my eyes, so dejected,

In a moment of heartbreak perfected.

A day so gloom, but no cloud in the sky,

A day that reeked of impending sorrow,

A day I believed was without tomorrow,

I’m not good when it comes to goodbye,

I like to hang on to the comfort of a smile,

I want to hang on, if just for a while.

Remember the years, and not just one day,

For I do, and she’s in my heart to stay…

-brad

#MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #PTSD #Addiction #Suicide #CheckInWithMe #MightyTogether #ChronicIllness #BipolarDisorder

11 people are talking about this

Struggling With Friendships Because of an Anxiety Disorder

We make friends all through our lives. Some we will keep for a short time, and others will stay for years or decades. Some friends will truly become family, and those friendships last a lifetime. These friendships may change, grow, or fade as our lives develop and change, which is normal. I truly believe we meet everyone in our lives for a reason and that we will learn something from all the interactions we have. Unfortunately, though, these relationships may not always be enjoyable. My anxiety has not made my ability to have and keep friendships easy. This does not surprise me because having to deal with myself is hard enough. I often feel like a burden to those close to me. At times, I try to hide my struggle and put a smile on my face, trucking through like all is fine. Other times, I can be more open and vulnerable when I am feeling safe with specific people and secure in my surroundings. I am unable to say exactly how long I have been struggling with anxiety and panic disorder , but I have pinpointed one moment when I was around 17 or 18 years old when it was clear to me that I struggled with anxiety. When I was taking the public transit to work for a shift at the mall, the bus wasn’t even all that busy, but the chatter of people talking and noise of the bus itself started to make me feel irritable — even sick to my stomach. I felt like I needed to cover my ears , close my eyes and make it all disappear, or I would scream for everyone to shut up. I made it to work, and I was OK, but after that day, I spoke to my family doctor to get help. On the outside, most people cannot see the pain and struggle I have inside of me on a daily basis. I am 44 years old now, and managing my anxiety is still a work in progress. There have been good days, months, and even years along with bad, terrible, and ugly times. What I have found over the past 20-plus years is that for me, it is much easier to maintain friendships and relationships if you keep your “shit” to yourself, hide it, stuff it away, and be “happy.” Guess what? I learned that is easier for other people in my life — but not necessarily for me. This can make life more difficult for some people with anxiety — when you manage your anxiety alone and then make sure it doesn’t affect anyone else either. Well, that is often not a sustainable option, and it can be exhausting and downright miserable. In my opinion, stuffing down my anxiety can feel like abuse of myself. I don’t think I am being authentic or fair to myself by pretending I am someone I am not. The problem is that doesn’t always make me the most desirable person to be around. At times, I am a pessimist, moody, sad, self-loathing, and scared, but over time, I have learned to seek help. Despite how others may perceive me, I am happy a lot of the time in my safe spaces, with comforting people where I can be myself and not worry about judgment. I want to feel happy, I do not want to complain, and if I am speaking up, it is because I need some support — not because I want to whine and cry. I found that through medication, therapy, reading, and researching that what helps me the most is sharing and asking for what I need. I have three daughters and a husband , so this can be crucial for our health as a family. If I anticipate anxiety on the horizon, like if a stressful event is coming up or some additional stress has landed on my plate, I can discuss it with my family or close friends. Then they know what I need from them during this time. I am so thankful for their patience and support. I personally don’t want to share all my struggles with everyone all the time, but if I am sharing, it is likely because I could use some encouragement or support. Sometimes the timing of that need is not good — friends sometimes have their own struggles, and they can’t always take the time to invest in you the same as your family does, which is OK. If that is communicated to a person with anxiety, it can receive a lot of fears that they are not being ignored, they are heard, and they are supported from afar. As a way to protect myself, though, I can’t continue to put myself out there to friends who are unable to attempt to see things from my perspective and give me a chance. There comes a time when you may need to reevaluate if this relationship is positive for you and your friend. What I am beginning to understand is that it can be hard to be my friend. I believe I am a great friend, and when a little time is invested and a little care and understanding is given, I am a true, dear, loyal person. With all my great qualities and my not-so-enjoyable qualities, I have good intentions. I will do what I need to to keep myself healthy and happy for my own sake and for the sake of my children, who need a strong, healthy momma. Friendships may come, and some may fade, and that is OK. Maybe they will come around again when the time is right. I am thankful for all of my past, present, and future friends. I am thankful for what they have taught me, how they have allowed me to grow, and how they have shown me love and understanding. To my new and future friends, hold on — it might be a wild ride, but I can tell you I will always give you the love, support, and respect our friendship deserves if I nurture myself first.  

Community Voices

TERRIFIED WHISPERS #MightyPoets

TERRIFIED WHISPERS

I am just a whisper, one nobody is willing to hear,

Just a terrified whisper in great need of an ear,

Reluctant words that are too afraid to come out,

A wariness overwhelming me with so much doubt,

I must not believe that voice inside my head,

The one often telling me I’m far better dead,

Better for me, better for all, and that includes you,

I don’t always know where to turn, or what to do,

Where do you go when desperate for a friend?

Right when your death seems easy to portend,

I’ve never known anything darker and more silent,

I’ve never known something so peaceful, yet violent,

I am just a whisper, one so many don’t want to hear,

Just a terrified whisper in great need of an ear…

-brad

#MentalHealth #BipolarDisorder #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #Addiction #Suicide #CheckInWithMe #MightyTogether #Diabetes #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain

11 people are talking about this
Community Voices

TERRIFIED WHISPERS #MightyPoets

TERRIFIED WHISPERS

I am just a whisper, one nobody is willing to hear,

Just a terrified whisper in great need of an ear,

Reluctant words that are too afraid to come out,

A wariness overwhelming me with so much doubt,

I must not believe that voice inside my head,

The one often telling me I’m far better dead,

Better for me, better for all, and that includes you,

I don’t always know where to turn, or what to do,

Where do you go when desperate for a friend?

Right when your death seems easy to portend,

I’ve never known anything darker and more silent,

I’ve never known something so peaceful, yet violent,

I am just a whisper, one so many don’t want to hear,

Just a terrified whisper in great need of an ear…

-brad

#MentalHealth #BipolarDisorder #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #Addiction #Suicide #CheckInWithMe #MightyTogether #Diabetes #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain

11 people are talking about this
Community Voices

A NEW START #MightyPoets

A NEW START

And it’s the drip, drip, drip, fresh off the shower head,

Once benign morning moments, she now tends to dread,

A terry cloth robe, once comfortable to the touch,

Now reminds her just how her world has changed so much,

So many thoughts on her mind, as she gets the coffee ready,

One question being just how did her life become so heavy?

The morning news in the background brings tales of despair,

No sign of emotion, as she removes the towel from her hair,

She lost count of the years with this being her daily routine,

Is she living or existing, or caught somewhere in between?

Whatever it is, she’s tired of carrying around a broken heart,

And there’s no better time than today to forge a new start…

-brad

#BipolarDisorder #Anxiety #MentalHealth #Suicide #Addiction #Depression #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #Diabetes #MightyTogether #CheckInWithMe

5 people are talking about this

The Freedom of Using a Mobility Aid as a Young Adult With a Disability

I sit, staring across the desk at my doctor. We’ve already finished discussing all my other concerns for the day and I can’t delay any longer. I take a deep breath. “I’ve been talking to my physio about using elbow crutches…” I start nervously. “I’ve been using a cane on and off for some time now… because I used one for a while when I was younger and it really helped!” I quickly add, eager to provide justification as to why I would take it upon myself to do something to improve my own life. “The thing is, well, the cane hurts my wrists a lot and my physio agreed an elbow crutch would be better for me. I wouldn’t use it all the time, just when the loss of power in my legs or vertigo is at its worst.” My doctor smiles at me. “I think that’s a good idea,” she says brightly. “An elbow crutch will certainly take the pressure off your wrist and I think it will be better for your balance too. Do you want a prescription for one or two?” “I’ve just been using a cane on one side, but… I was thinking two might be better so I can power along like one of those Nordic walkers.” I respond, laughing nervously. I’ve been with this doctor for a while now and she’s always been good to me, but 25 years of prior mistreatment by the medical system has left me with profound anxiety about asking for anything. (Heaven forbid I think I deserve anything more than sitting at home all day while chronically ill and unable to work.) Three days later, I gather the energy to head to the orthopedic technician. The two times I fall on the way to the store reinforce the need for going and allay some of my lingering doubts about how maybe I really am just a good-for-nothing faker after all. Once we arrive, things go smoothly and I’m relieved to not feel a sense of judgment from the staff, though the cashier does laugh at me when I ask if the crutches come in any colors other than “hospital grey” (they did not). I’m lucky to have been accompanied by a friend, so I have a sense of security as I awkwardly shuffle home. Fortunate, as I’m still getting used to walking with four legs rather than two! The next day, I decide to keep the momentum going by using the new elbow crutches to get to an appointment, which is just a short trip from home. Having read many horror stories online about the interrogation and verbal abuse people with mobility aids face, I steel myself for the worst. After positively stumbling along the day prior, I’m pleased to find my rhythm quickly this time. It’s a lovely day, the sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze and I’m… happy? Not out of breath? Not in constant fear of falling over? Not engaging every muscle in my legs to its maximum capacity with every step? I suddenly remember how much I used to enjoy walking, how easy it was before my condition deteriorated three years ago. I remember that for most people getting from point A to point B is rarely an extreme sport. I can’t believe how much mental energy I’ve been expending on staying upright! I hold my head up high when I get on the bus. I smile confidently at the kind people who get out of my way and encourage me to sit down. I don’t feel embarrassed or like a faker; this is how I should be treated. I’m out here doing my best like everyone else, I just have a few simple needs to help me get the job done without it resulting in unnecessary pain or risk. Why have I previously felt embarrassed about limping, stumbling, sitting on the floor in a queue? I just needed crutches! I’m hit with an overwhelming sense of pride in how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished whilst being so ill. I’ve studied, worked, moved countries, advocated for myself in several areas of life, maintained healthy friendships across distance and time, and worked through some confronting issues in therapy. At times, I did these things with barely any energy, or frankly, any awareness of just how bad some things had become… …and I did it all without my crutches. Imagine what I can accomplish now.

Karissa Pierce

What It's Like Living With Anxiety and Depression as a Student

Let’s face it, having any mental illness can suck. But having two at the same time? Well, it’s even worse. Anxiety and depression are different, but when you have them both, they play off each other and can make life that much harder. For example, when my anxiety gets worse and flares up, it causes my depression to worsen as well. Here is what it is like, for me, having both anxiety and depression: Every morning, I wake up. My depression has me feeling exhausted from the second I hear my alarm go off despite getting 12 hours of sleep. My anxiety has me thinking and worrying about a million things at once from the moment I open my eyes. I then go downstairs to eat breakfast. My depression has me feeling like I am not even hungry and like I don’t have any desire to eat anything. My anxiety has me worrying about how if I don’t eat, I’ll be more underweight and that will cause a million other problems. I go back to my room and sit on my bed. My depression usually makes me wanna lie in bed and turn on Netflix until I fall back asleep, because sleeping in my mind is better than getting up and going to school to get an education. My anxiety has me stressing over how much time I have to get ready before I make the long commute to school. I eventually get out of bed and find what I’m going to wear. My depression makes me want to throw on sweatpants and a sweatshirt because I do not care how other people see me and don’t have the motivation to look decent. My anxiety makes me spend forever looking at the same five shirts thinking about how people will see me if I choose one or another. I consider brushing my teeth and practicing good hygiene. My depression makes me not to want to brush them because what’s the point in taking care of myself when I don’t like myself? My anxiety makes me worry about walking around campus with teeth that aren’t regularly brushed. I go to the kitchen and sit at the table, wondering if I want to bring food to eat during my break. My depression makes me not want to bring anything because I am not hungry. My anxiety makes me worry that I will just binge eat when I get home if I don’t eat anything between breakfast and dinner. I get in my car and drive to school. My depression makes me sit there with the music on and stare blankly at the road ahead as I’m driving. My anxiety makes me worry about getting in an accident on the way to school. I get to school, turn the car off and sit there. My depression makes me think about how I’m going to fail my classes whether I go or not because I have failed classes in the past. My anxiety makes me worry about walking around campus knowing there are over 40 thousand people at this school on any given day. I walk to class. My depression makes me stare at the ground while I’m walking and just think about how miserable I feel. My anxiety puts me on edge, worrying every single person I walk by is judging me. I get to class and sit through it. My depression makes me unable to concentrate and focus on what is going on. My anxiety makes me worry that I am not taking notes like I should and that if I don’t pay attention and take good notes, I am going to fail my test. I walk back to my car. My depression makes me think about how much I don’t like school and how much I would rather just drop out. My anxiety makes me think and worry about all of the stuff I just learned in class and all the stuff I have to do for my classes. I drive back home. My depression makes me exhausted just from being on campus for a couple hours. My anxiety makes sure I am still afraid of hitting a car like I did a couple years back. I go inside and go to my room. My depression makes me put my stuff down, take my shoes off and get in bed. My anxiety makes me think about everything I should be doing but am not doing because I have no motivation to do them. I turn on Netflix. My depression makes me fall asleep and not pay any attention to what is happening on the TV show. My anxiety makes me think that I can feel every organ in my body fighting to keep me alive. I wake up a few hours later and it’s time for dinner. My depression makes me want to stay in bed forever because it seems like a better option than being out in the world with everyone. My anxiety makes me feel sick to my stomach because I haven’t eaten since this morning, so I go and eat something. I go back to my room and think about showering. My depression makes me again not want to do anything that involves taking care of myself. My anxiety makes me worry about how other people will think of me if I don’t shower yet another night and start to smell. I take my meds. My depression makes me wonder what’s the point of taking them since they aren’t a cure for depression and since the first ones didn’t work, why would these be any different? My anxiety makes me choke on the pills one by one because I get so nervous just thinking about taking them. I get back in bed and get ready to fall asleep. My depression has drained the little energy I had today and has me ready to pass out in minutes. My anxiety has me feeling so on edge and thinking about everything that happened that day and everything that’s going to happen tomorrow and 12 years in the future that I have to try and play a mind numbing game on my phone until I can relax and not think about anything so I can sleep. Every day it is pretty much the same. The same thoughts, the same behaviors, the same depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety are having a constant battle in my head all day long making me feel drained and just over life at the end of the day. But, I know that even the days that seem like the absolute worst are only 24 hours long, and so I get up and do the same thing the next day. Can you relate? Tell Karissa in the comments below.

Community Voices

UNTITLED XXII #MightyPoets

UNTITLED XXII

May the stars never blind you like the sharp city lights,

And may you never succumb to the agony of lonely nights,

You are here for a reason, as we all are, that’s my belief,

I know life has its cruelties, and time is a detestable thief,

But don’t let such things discourage you, rise above it,

Go find your place in this world, live for it, and love it,

Always take the chance when it comes to your heart,

Simply be yourself and love fiercely, for this sets you apart…

-brad

#MentalHealth #BipolarDisorder #Anxiety #Depression #Suicide #Addiction #Diabetes #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #CheckInWithMe #MightyTogether

5 people are talking about this
Community Voices

UNTITLED XXII #MightyPoets

UNTITLED XXII

May the stars never blind you like the sharp city lights,

And may you never succumb to the agony of lonely nights,

You are here for a reason, as we all are, that’s my belief,

I know life has its cruelties, and time is a detestable thief,

But don’t let such things discourage you, rise above it,

Go find your place in this world, live for it, and love it,

Always take the chance when it comes to your heart,

Simply be yourself and love fiercely, for this sets you apart…

-brad

#MentalHealth #BipolarDisorder #Anxiety #Depression #Suicide #Addiction #Diabetes #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #CheckInWithMe #MightyTogether

5 people are talking about this