Mental Health Monday Week 3

I had therapy last Tuesday. I honestly don’t remember much of what was said. We talked about so many things. Marriage was high up on the topic list. That is a…complicated situation. I don’t even know what’s going on with that right now.

Another huge thing was me making plans for my life – me and my kids – because I haven’t done anything with my life, other than have kids. I haven’t had a purpose other than raising children, and even then, I don’t do that well.

My future path so far for Spring 2017 looks like this:

  • Finish registering for classes
  • Decide if I want to do summer classes 
  • Get some school supplies? 
  • Get the kids to their appts successfully 
  • Better advocate for Lauren’s 4th grade year (IEP meeting in May) 
  • Continue going to my therapist and DOING THE WORK EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD 
  • Keep going to marriage counseling, even though I have to go alone and DO THE WORK EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD 
  • Purge my house of too-small clothes, and unused toys 
  • Read 6 books (photo of them all at the end of the post) 
  • Go to church with the kids on Sundays 
  • Journal more. I miss writing and I need to get back to it. Even if it’s just song lyrics for now (Hard Love by NEEDTOBREATHE is a GREAT song) 
  • Go to the psychiatrist appt
  • Go to the ARMS appt (easy, because it’s at my house) WIN.

There are probably some more things, and I will update as I think of them but this is it for now.

Beth Hardinger Blog

One Little Word Update

Hoo boy. This word has been kicking my butt these past few months. COURAGEOUS was the word I chose, in case you missed it. So much has happened lately, and I’ve really needed to dig deep and get things done. This word is pushing me on. 

I’ve made appts and gone to personal therapy (and continue to go).

I’ve made appts and gone to marriage counseling (and continue to go).

I’ve signed the kids up for summer sports again (ugh).

I’ve made and taken the kids to so many appts I don’t remember what was done or who was seen (but it’s written down somewhere I think.)

I’ve sought out other moms and made plans with them. 

I started reading non-fiction books (normally I read YA paranormal books).

I went out to a bar (technically two) and stayed out til 1am (but probably won’t do that again – and no, I didn’t drink).

I went bowling with other people (which was a bust – but I went).

I’ve had some hard conversations with myself about what I want for me, and for my kids in the future.

I’ve learned that I can only control ME and my thoughts and actions.

I registered for college (maybe summer, definitely fall). Special Education A.A.S Degree.

I talked to a stranger. Yep. This goes on my list of accomplishments.

I’ve learned that I WANT to make my life better for me and my kids. I have a path, a direction, now and I have a little hope for the future.

I know that this will take a ton of work. And like my therapist says, I WILL fail. But I WILL get back up and try again. I will not let failure defeat me. I deserve better and I am going to be better, do better.

Mental Health Monday Week 2

Beth Hardinger Blog Mental Health Mondays
Last Tuesday, I had my first real therapy session. (The first one was just questionnaires, mostly.) I held in my tears until she shut the door and said, “So, how was your week?” Because, it wasn’t great. We talked about how my negative thinking is affecting not only me, but everyone around me. She helped me come up with three good things (so far) about me that are positive:

  • I am a mother.
  • I am determined.
  • I am strong.

She told me I have to stop with the ‘buts’. For example, she said “you are a mom.” I said, “but not a good one.” I may not feel like a good mother in the moment, but I have to realize that I am doing the best I can for my kids with all that I know right now (and hopefully I will learn to be an even better mom as I learn to change my thinking and behavior.) 

I am determined, BUT not as determined as I could be, or should be. Then she reminded me that I am here, at therapy, getting help. I sought it out, and I got up and went, even though I was scared. 

I am strong, BUT not that strong. I fail constantly, at everything. Then she reminded me, that if I am determined to do the work, I will continue to get stronger each day, and I am fighting for my mental health, my marriage, my kids, my life. 

My homework was to find positive things about myself, tiny or large, and refuse to add the ‘but’. Like, I took the kids to the park tonight. Before, I would have added, “BUT I didn’t let them play very long, because I was anxious about all of the older kids at the playground.” BUT, I’m not allowed to do that anymore. I need to change my thinking. I WILL fail, but I am not allowed to hate myself for it, and I’m supposed to try again. And again, and again, until I can find several positive things about myself, and not even think about the ‘buts’. 

I AM A MOTHER.

I AM DETERMINED.

I AM STRONG.

Mental Health Monday

Beth Hardinger Blog Mental Health Monday
I’ve had depression, anxiety and social anxiety all my life. A few weeks ago, I finally made an appointment with a therapist. I have so many issues, I feel like I will be in therapy for the rest of my life (which is maybe a good thing, I don’t know). I’m not sure how much I will share here, mostly because I’m no good at writing about how I feel. I do know that I’m sick of hiding it. It’s hard enough to live with my issues every day in my own head, but when people start wondering why I keep flaking out on plans, or I get angry and lash out for no good reason, I feel like I need to say something. I’m not crazy. I’m not stupid. I have a legitimate disease that I am seeking treatment for. 

Which brings me to my next topic: treatment. I will be seeing a therapist weekly for at least the next two months (I have to call today and make more appointments for June). I will also be seeing a…I’m not even sure what she is called. Social Anxiety Helper? I don’t know. But basically, she will be able to meet me where I am (home, coffee shop, park with my kids) and help me through my immediate issues. So that’s three and a half hours a week of therapy.

MEDICATION

I will be asking for medication at my Tuesday appointment. I am not sure that I want it, but everyone in my life is telling me to go on meds. So, I will. Even though the thought of taking meds every day gives me anxiety. I have a hard time swallowing pills. I even had to switch my methotrexate from oral pills to an injection, because I was having such a hard time with the pills.

I’m terrified of side effects. I’m terrified of getting used to one med and having to switch and get used to a new one all over. I’m terrified the meds will make me worse, not better. Going on meds for other people is not a good reason to go on meds. I know this. But after my horrible panic attack the other night, and just a shitty, embarrassing weekend, I am wondering if that would be the best decision. 

Please feel free to share your stories in the comments, or if you feel more comfortable, you can email me. Bethahardinger@gmail.com

March

March kicks off several “National” things, such as Caffeine Awareness Month (drinking coffee right now – super aware of caffeine!), Frozen Food AND Nutrition Month and also, Trisomy Awareness Month. Trisomy is three copies of a chromosome – for example, Down syndrome, which is 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. 

National Procrastination Week starts on the 5th. Or the 6th. Whenever you get around to it. Next week (March 5-11) is also Words Matter week (so stop using the word ‘retard’!) And National Aardvark Week. I’ll be getting in on that one somehow, because aardvarks are cute.

Oh! Act Happy Week is March 20-26, but I’ll just be honest – every week is Act Happy week for me. If you can’t actually be happy, just fake it, right?

And the most important day – March 21 – World Down Syndrome Day! 

Today is Spread The Word To End The Word Day. So head over here to learn more about why you should stop using the word ‘retard’ and its many forms (celebutard, libtard, f***tard, etc). Just stop. It’s not cool. It’s offensive, no matter how you try to spin it.  

Beth Hardinger Blog

Same Stuff, Different Day

Hannah and I finished cleaning the house this morning before the inspection, which was fine, I think.

My mom decided to Down the night with us, so we met at Costco for dinner then went to Target to find swimsuits for our upcoming trip to the Twin Cities. (We also bought some Valentine’s Day candy-including Ghirardelli truffles-only at Target around Valentine’s Day.) 

The kids went to bed way too late and I can’t sleep because the country is sinking further and further into the pits of hell. But the kids want donuts for breakfast, so I’m clinging to any little shred of happiness. 

Beth Hardinger Blog

Somebody Famous

As I was watching the shit show that is our government, I got an email from Avery’s teacher, saying they were starting a writing unit on biographies, so she needed to write about somebody famous. The first person that popped into my mind was the creator of Doc McStuffins, Chris “Doc” Nee.

I’ll be posting Avery’s writing here when she’s finished.

***

Lauren is going on a field trip, to a camp for people with disabilities. I like this camp, and what they are doing, but I wish they had more activities for younger people with disabilities. Everything they post looks so fun, but it’s only for adults. There really isn’t anything for Lauren to do around here, with other kids her age. (And yes, I’ve tried to start things multiple times. Hard to do when we don’t know anyone else with disabilities.)

Beth Hardinger Blog

(Avery was reading 47 Strings to the kids.)

 

 

 

A New Month

It’s shaping up to be another dumpster fire of a year (although on Twitter, someone mentioned that 2017 is more like an outhouse fire. I like that.) We’re losing everything that we took for granted.

Lauren was sick Monday night and Tuesday. The rest of us are just waiting to get it, so that’ never fun. I don’t know what to make for meals and I make sure the whole house is picked up.

We have an inspection on Friday. It’s not too big of a deal, since for once, my house is pretty clean. It’s sort of nice not knowing when there will be an inspection, so I make sure to keep it extra clean and tidy. Yeah, some of the closets are a little cluttered, but the kids have so many clothes, it’s hard to know which ones to keep and which to donate.

I’ve been glued to Twitter, trying to figure out if She Who Shall Not Be Named will be in charge of my children’s educations. Outrageous. Just outrageous.

Anyway, it was -12 with the windchill today, but we needed to get outside and run off some energy. By the time we walked the three minutes to the beginning of the trail, I was ready to head back (forgot my gloves like a bad Minnesotan, and my fingers froze while I was trying to take photos.) I made the kids run back and forth on a short length of trail, then we went back home to warm up ad fold five loads of laundry.

Beth Hardinger Blog

Tomorrow’s a new day.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

The Barefoot Book of Children

The Barefoot Book of Children

written by Tessa Strickland, Kate DePalma and Illustrated by David Dean; published by Barefoot Books

I received this beautiful book from Macy Koch, from Barefoot Books

The Barefoot Book of Children shows how kids all over the world eat, play, get ready for the day, celebrate holidays and speak.

My girls (3,7 & 9) were so excited to open up this book and start reading! There is so much to look at – they find something new each time they read it. Our favorite thing about the book, other than the gorgeous illustrations, was the Closer Look pages. It really helped them see all of the different languages and countries where other children live. We gave this book 10 out of 10 stars!

For a fun activity, I had the kids draw what their lives look like. Hannah drew a smiley face, Lauren drew a girl with long dark hair, a piece of pizza and monkey bars (her favorite things). Avery drew a cat, cheese pizza and some books. (Before I could take a photo of their masterpieces, Avery brought them to school to show her teacher, along with the book, and the drawings didn’t come back home.)

*******************************************************************

The Secret Seahorse - Book #6 - Mermaid Tales book series by children's author Debbie Dadey

Mermaid Tales Book 6: The Secret of the Seahorse

written by Debbie Dadey, published by Simon & Schuster

“Book Summary: Echo is terrible at spelling, but she loves one of the words in this week’s test-sea horse. When Rocky brags that he has a sea horse no one believes him. But when Rocky lets her ride his pet Echo is beyond happy. Her sister, Crystal, tells Echo it isn’t right to put a leash on a sea horse. Now, Echo doesn’t know what to think. Is it wrong to keep sea horses as pets?”

My 7 year old had so much fun reading this book! She kept asking questions about sea horses, so I went to the author’s site, where she links to a youtube video about them. She learned about having pets, which animals could be pets and being a good pet owner. We are putting the whole Mermaid Tales series on Avery’s wish list for upcoming holidays and her birthday. (And I am ordering the first two this weekend!) We are looking forward to reading the whole series together!

Beth Hardinger Blog

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey PressCandlewick PressFathers IncorporatedKidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte RiggleChronicle Books and Pomelo Books

 Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawMaria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah StevensonMonica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNationAndrea Y. Wang

 We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive Co-Host Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our Co-Hosts HERE.

 

Chapter 2017 {Page 25}

**not a happy post**

So much has happened in the past few days (not to my immediate family at this moment) but to the country and really, the world. I don’t know what to say about any of it, because no matter what, it will piss someone off.

I guess the only thing I do want to say is: Lauren’s life, health, education and future are going to be directly affected, and soon. Lauren, and millions of others with special needs/disabilities. They (and their families) have to fight so hard, every single day to prove they belong in the world – that they are human beings with feelings and value. They have to prove they deserve rights, just like everyone else.

Beth Hardinger Blog

It’s really all I think about these days. I don’t sleep much anymore. How can I? When your child is threatened, how do you concentrate on anything else?

And for people who tell me not to worry about the future – back off. I’m doing the best I can with what I’m given. I have to worry about Lauren’s future – people with disabilities, their futures require planning. You start planning early. You have no choice. I can’t just hope Lauren will find her way when she moves on to middle school in a year and a half, and the teachers will treat her with respect and follow her IEP.

You may not be directly affected by the changes in the country, but millions of others are. And we’re terrified. We feel helpless, especially those of us without a supportive community.

Maybe tomorrow will look brighter. But I think those days are gone.