What I’m Currently Reading

I have a few weeks before the summer semester starts, so I thought I would do some reading. I found this series on an Instagram post from Barnes & Noble St. Cloud. I’m about six chapters into the first book, Three Dark Crowns, and so far, I’m loving it. The author mentioned that the fourth book in the series will come out in September.

Three Dark Crowns | Kendare Blake

Another series I stumbled upon was written by the guy who made the first two Harry Potter movies (The best ones.) A few chapters in and there was a huge twist, so it definitely hooked me.

House of Secrets | Chris Columbus

I watched this TV series a few years ago and saw this at the library last week, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

The Strain | Guillermo Del Toro

This book kept cropping up in my Facebook and Instagram ads, so I thought I would see what all the fuss is about. I even joined a book club and got the audio book, so we’ll see how it is, since it’s so different from the usual genre I read.

Girl Stop Apologizing | Rachel Hollis

Mental Health Care

I’m sitting at my psychiatrist’s office right now, waiting for her to come in and give me a little bit of hope. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety and restlessness the past few weeks. Since I can’t get into my therapist until early June, I’m hoping that the things she prescribes will help at least a little. 

I have a 5-point plan for the next month. I will switch Abilify to bedtime, increase the Celexa to 40mg, take Gabapentin three times a day (for the anxiety), increase Vyvanse to 30mg and come back in a month. 

I like that my doctor writes my plan down so I can take it with me. It’s sometimes a lot to remember, and when I have my 5-year-old along, things don’t always register. 

I feel like I have a good team this time. My psychiatrist and therapist are both in the same practice, and genuinely seem to care about my mental health and about me getting better. Which makes me feel better. 

We’ll see how this helps, along with the @Headspace app for a few minutes a day, and a 30 minute walk. 

Mental Health Month

Last May, I had a post about Mental Health Month on my old blog. I was in a different place, mentally and emotionally. I had jumped dumped a guy for cheating on me, I quit therapy and medication wasn’t really helping.

Now I am in a great relationship (though it’s still early), I’m making plans for our future, Spring Semester is winding down (finally) and I gained a few new diagnoses. I do feel like a quote from last year’s post is still true, “It’s not depression so much anymore, just anxiety.” I’m anxious and restless and just overall all feel weird. I think this is due in part to a combination of the meds I am on and the new diagnosis.

I’m back in therapy for the third time. I really like this one, so I hope I can make some progress. She gave me an assignment, since I wasn’t able to make another appointment for a month. I am supposed to “feel my feelings” when I get anxious or restless. I’ll be honest – I am not doing this every single time. I would be doing nothing else than feeling my feelings. But I am trying to catch myself in the big moments and figure out why I’m feeling that way and to calm myself down. It’s a process.

I am also enrolled in Diabetes Education classes. Due to a combo of genetics, bad diet, anxiety and Binge Eating Disorder, I am “borderline pre-diabetic”. Obviously, I don’t want to become diabetic, so I will work hard in those 16 weeks of classes to learn and change and grow.

This month, I turn 33. I’m not nervous or scared or anything. Honestly, it’s just another day. It will be a little different this year, as I have a Significant Other who actually cares about me and my kids, so maybe it will even be fun.

The plan is to drive up to my parents’ house in the morning, have a BBQ bonfire with s’mores, take some photos, maybe do some sparklers, and head home to a clean, quiet house to relax after being with people all day. I’m an introverted introvert – people exhaust me – even if they’re family.

I’m hoping to blog more about mental health and our life here in Northern Minnesota. Stay Tuned!

Therapy Session 1

I went back to therapy recently, and in the first session, I told her that I want to stop using my phone as a coping mechanism for anxiety. We didn’t work out what I would do instead – that will come later – but I’ve been doing some research on my own since then.

I reach for my phone often. Like, all the time. I carry it with me in my pocket or in my bra (yes, I know that’s bad) when I don’t have pockets. A few weeks ago, I left my phone in the car while Hannah and I went into Walmart before school. It was an accident but I felt panicky and sweaty and nervous. I didn’t like not having my phone. I told Hannah my excuse – I needed to know what time it was so I could get her to school on time – but really, it felt like I was losing my mind.

I feel like maybe I am getting a little better sometimes, like when I’m at the park with the kids (it’s too sunny out to see the screen anyway) or watching a movie with my Significant Other (aka B). But I find that I am thinking about my phone during those times. It’s not like I’m getting a ton of messages or there’s so much to do on there. I don’t even have the Facebook app or Instagram app anymore. It’s just such a habit now that I need to have my phone, even if there’s nothing to do. It’s the first thing I reach for when I open my eyes at night, no matter what time. And I get annoyed with myself when my eyes are too blurry to see the screen.

There are some positives. It’s the only camera I have right now to take photos of my kids. I read a lot on my phone – I have hundreds of free and purchased Kindle books. I also keep track of my assignments on my phone.

My homework from that first session was to write down the times of day when I’m feeling anxious and restless, and try to figure out why – to just stop and feel the feelings. She said it won’t feel good, and it will be hard, but it’s a good first step.

First Monday of 2019

It’s been a relatively quiet beginning to 2019. Hannah has a nasty cough, Lauren has a cold, and Avery has a teenage attitude, but it’s been okay.

Hannah turned 5 last Thursday. We had a quiet little party with just the four of us. She wanted tacos for her birthday dinner (which she didn’t eat because she was getting sick), cupcakes and ice cream, and five candles. Of course, she ate the cupcake and ice cream, but whatever, it was her birthday.

She got a Hatchimal with a light-up nest, and a Slothicorn. Yes. That’s a thing. And she loves it.

The first Monday of 2019 is pretty quiet, too. Instead of the 6″ of snow we were supposed to get last night, we got a bunch of ice. At 5:30 this morning, the schools were two hours late. By 7:30, they had closed, so we are just hanging out, waiting for the ice to melt so we can do laundry and all the fun stuff we put off over the weekend.

I start Spring Semester next Monday, with 17 credits. I’m anxious to get going on homework and papers. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped last semester, so I am going to try really hard to make sure this is an awesome semester.

Enjoy the day!

Grateful

Today is Thanksgiving. I am spending it in the woods, with my children and my family. We will be having ham and mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (ew), corn, homemade rolls, and Oreo salad (the best dessert ever). 

Today, I am grateful for my kids. I am grateful that they are healthy, smart and funny, and that I get to spend so much time with them. 

Today, I am grateful for my family. They spoil my kids and help us out when we need it. 

Today, I am grateful for my cat, even though she is super grumpy and hates to cuddle. Every now and then, she will come and sit with me. 

Beth A Hardinger

Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to go back to school and finally get the degree I wanted twelve years ago. It’s definitely difficult to go to school, work and be a single mom, but it’s worth it. 

Today, I am grateful to be single. I love being alone (with my kids and my cat). I’ve learned so much about myself over the past two years. I love the freedom I have, and I don’t have to rely on someone for my happiness. I will be happily single for the rest of my life. 

Today, there are so many things to be grateful for. 

Things I Don’t Need for Spring Semester

At the beginning of last year, I was so excited to shop for school supplies for myself. Now, as I’m finishing up my third semester, I realized that all the notebooks and fancy pens I bought for school have ended up on my kids’ art shelves. The classes I’m taking – I don’t need to take notes, so I don’t need notebooks. I don’t need fancy pens that my kids just steal and lose anyway.

kelly-sikkema-594314-unsplash

I love buying pens and notebooks and office supplies in general. But when you’re on a budget, you quickly learn what’s a waste of money and what’s not.

olia-gozha-683765-unsplash

david-pennington-562462-unsplash.jpg

I never use my backpack. It sits in the living room getting chewed on by the cat. I have a large purse, and my laptop and binder fit perfectly.

dennis-cortes-504291-unsplash

I’m also trying to declutter my house for winter since we will be spending a considerable amount of time inside (Minnesota winters are not fun.) Notebooks, papers, and pens are the first things to go.

Four Things I Don't Need For Spring Semester

World Psoriasis Day

World Psoriasis Day

It’s itchy. It’s gross. I looked like I had some horrible, contagious disease. But it was just psoriasis. Turns out, my case was triggered by a particularly nasty round of strep, two Halloweens ago. I thought I had the chicken pox (nope, had that when I was like 10).

Sept 30 Walk4 Beth A Hardinger

Then I thought it was eczema. I spent a ton of money on creams and lotions for eczema that did nothing. It wasn’t until January that I couldn’t stand it anymore. I finally made an appointment with a dermatologist. I was diagnosed right away with psoriasis and started on oral methotrexate.

I couldn’t tolerate the meds, so after a while, the derm put me on injectable methotrexate. That. Was. Rough. Not only did I have to inject myself weekly, but it also made me so sick for about five days after each shot. Well, as a single mom, that just wasn’t going to work.

I quit the injections and just lived with psoriasis most of the summer (being in the sun helped a lot). In August, I switched derms, and she started me on Stelara – one injection every three months (just like my Depo) and I don’t have to do it myself. I’ve been on it ever since, and have had ZERO signs of psoriasis and ZERO side effects.

In a few weeks, I go back for a lower dose of Stelara. We’ll see if that keeps psoriasis away as well as the higher dose has done. I don’t have any photos of my psoriasis. I just felt like it was a gross thing to take pictures of, and I felt disgusting.

The good news is I have it managed right now. The bad news is I will always have psoriasis. I will never be “cured”. I’ll always have to take some form of med to keep it at bay. I’m okay with that for now. If I ever go off the meds for any reason, it will come back with a vengeance.

National Cat Day

Today is also National Cat Day. So here’s a picture of my cat, Cat.

Copy of National Pumpkin Day

National Hermit Day

I was just thinking the other day about how I would love to be a hermit. Never leave my house (seriously – you can order everything online now) and not have to speak to another person ever again. But. I have three little kids and I’m in a profession where peopling is a must. So I will just daydream about being a hermit until I am old and alone.

Sept 30 Walk Beth A Hardinger (1)