Amy Arnett

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since Oct 21, 2016
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Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
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Recent posts by Amy Arnett

The glass of water you just tried to drink out of had seeds soaking in it.
16 hours ago

Jaye Adams wrote:I have yr same symptoms with the addition of a hot flash, diaphragm tightens so difficult to breathe, and palpitations. They last 2 -10 min. Recently they are back to back. Having one now. Like every 20 min. I have a bad tooth abscess and its about to storm.. so Its really bad. Please help..they are as scary as they are debilitating.
Called EMS EKG good BP 120/73, O2 93%  so I dont know and they dont either.

Welcome to Permies, Jaye! and thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sorry that your symptoms are so alarming, sounds almost like a panic attack.

I have what I call "floppy heart" or random palpitations. When I wake up from a nap, someone knocks on the door, I was breathing funny, laid on my back for too long, breathe out just right, too much coffee or ephedra and my heart goes all floppy with palpitations. It runs in my family so I was aware of it early on, and doctors have mentioned that it is probably "sinus arrhythmia", which is changes of heart rate when breathing in and/or out and isn't too serious. It's also the kind of thing that never shows up for the doctor. One thing they sometimes do is give the patient a portable ekg to wear for 24 hours to see if they can catch it. It may be worth asking your regular doctor about it if these symptoms are interfering with your daily life.

If I didn't know what it was, it would be very scary. I would think my heart is about to give out, and I'm sure my diaphragm would tighten from the anxiety. To kind of reset my heart, I hold my breath for about ten seconds and then breathe out all the way for 8-10 seconds. That seems to work for me most of the time, sometimes it takes a few repetitions.

Another detailed thread about physical effects of barometric pressure:

Your blood pressure is as low as mine. Sometimes I get a palpitation just from standing up if my pressure is low that day. The body struggles to readjust to the change in height of the heart relative to the rest of the circulatory system and triggers faster heartbeat to try and catch up the blood to the brain. My eyes also grey out for a couple seconds. If this sounds familiar, you may look into POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).

A thread about treating low blood pressure:

Combined with an abscess, that sounds very stressful! Hope the storm passes and you feel better soon!

This thread might be helpful to you, it's about all kinds of ways to treat tooth pain at home while you wait for an appointment:
3 days ago
Today's inspiration is brought to you by a paper plate that was part of a preschool project.

"Start somewhere.
Everyday is an opportunity to have a fresh start.
The beginning of a new life."

5 days ago
We are deciding what kind of floor to have in the kitchen of the house we are repairing.  Neither of us have much experience with building or big house repairs. We were going to just replace the wood that was there, but we found lots of animal tunnels and nests under the house. So we took all the floor out and will have to pound in the tunnels and relevel the dirt.

We are thinking why not just get a bunch of sand and gravel and pebbles from the river and have a gravel floor. The river is filling up with sediment from poorly managed cedar planted mountains and is a problem for native fish that need deeper water, so it would be good to remove gravel and sand from the river.

We are thinking we could put larger stones down for furniture and the sink and counter and such to sit on.

Right now it's just dirt and the house is resting on stones. It seems to be pretty dry. It only freezes a couple weeks out of the year at night.

Anyone have experience living with a floor like that? Thoughts, pros, cons, obvious problems?
6 days ago

Jason Walter wrote:

In my opinion pills are nothing more than something to cover up problems, no different than drugs/alcohol. A person has to learn life skills/ make mini goals, achieve these mini goals and continue to grow.

That's one way to look at it. Just like insulin covers up a diabetes problem, an inhaler covers up an asthma problem, tylenol covers up a pain problem, or benadryl covers up an allergy problem. Whether or not to use medication is absolutely the individual's choice; they don't work for everyone.  

In case someone reading might be interested, there are also quite a few herbs and supplements that some have found helpful with anxiety. Some are discussed in this thread that I started before going to the psychiatrist the second time and getting diagnosed:

Anxiety and depression are symptoms that can come from a variety of causes that can be physical, genetic, environmental, experiences, trauma and many others. The root cause will determine which treatments will likely work best for each person. 

I like the suggestion of mini-goals. I do that too. It's easy to set impossibly high standards for ourselves. Small, achievable goals are a great way to increase our successes and feel better about ourselves. Life skills are important as well. Taking care of ourselves, and other people or animals or plants, can be empowering. When I'm feeling like I haven't done enough, I often reflect on the trees I've planted, the gardens I've grown, the perennials I've shared, and the animals I've raised or rescued over the years.
Great question!

I've tried lots of things over the years and found some coping skills that help me. A couple times, the demands of life outweighed my ability to cope on my own and I went to a psychiatrist. The first doctor gave me an ssri antidepressant, which reduced my symptoms, but wasn't a good fit for me long term. The second psychiatrist diagnosed me with ADHD and autism. Medication for the ADHD reduced my anxiety and depression symptoms drastically, but I still use the coping skills most days.  

The closest thing to mind control that I have found is mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy. The part of mindfulness that really helped me was the idea that thoughts just occur for no reason and aren't significant by themselves. My emotional reactions to my troubling thoughts were the root of my persistent negative mood. Mindfulness is basically practicing accepting whatever thoughts occur and letting them just float by without reacting. (Easier said than done). It is also practicing moving and focusing your attention. Controlling what I am paying attention to is very helpful for me when I get panicky or am focusing on being anxious. I can choose to focus on my breath or something sparkly or the sound of the wind, and after a minute or so the anxiety has simmered down and I feel like my brain resets and I can start over dealing with whatever I was doing from a calm place. 

The specific book I used was "The mindful way through depression". Some of the audiobook and guided meditations or on youtube I think. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy uses some mindfulness, but is mostly about training your response to your thoughts. Everyone's goals will be different, but some general goals are reducing negative self-talk, giving yourself positive feedback, and stopping rumination or negative thought spirals. At least that was my take away. I never participated, just read a book. There are many self work books now I think. 

CBT focuses on identifying your triggering thoughts and reframing them or deciding on a positive response. Eventually, when the problem thought occurs, you would use your decided upon response and move on skipping all the negative emotional reactions and storytelling.

So "I wish I were dead. Oh no! we can't think that. That's a bad thing to think. what's wrong with us, why do we think things like that. I am a bad person. why can't i just be grateful and enjoy my life. imagine the funeral and my grieving family. i'm the worst for even thinking about something that would devastate my loved ones...etc."
becomes "I wish I were dead....yep, and right now I am hanging up laundry. Good job doing the laundry that you wanted to do. The laundry is wet now, but it will be dry later because I'm hanging it up right now. Nice!" 

Or when I start to catastrophize about the worst possible outcome to a situation, I interrupt the catastrophe spiral with "yes, that is one possible outcome of many. Another possible outcome is..." and think up something positive and more likely to happen. 

It takes some work and practice and being nice to yourself when you don't do it right every time. And it's ok to let a medication do the heavy lifting if visiting a psychiatrist is an option. 

Try to be nice to yourself, you deserve it! and thanks for sharing your experience. 
Is this only for yellowjacket nests or for any wasp's nest? I see the first video is about paper wasps, which I had never considered to be yellowjackets.
1 week ago
Wow! I haven't read a whole book straight through in probably three years. Couldn't put it down, or couldn't look away is maybe more accurate since it's a pdf.

An insightful look at what's needed to select, form and maintain community by going with (human) nature. Some great examples of how a leader can preserve the harmony of the community. Some great ideas for designing the community to work with the nature of its members and their needs.

If "the click" podcasts resonated with you and community is in your future, you will probably love this book.

1 week ago
I'm liking this little guide book called tsumikusa zukan, literally "picked weeds guide book". This is the only book I've seen use the term "tsumikusa" (摘み草); I take it to mean something like "foraging". The book is only in Japanese. 

some used ones on here
and some on book off

The book includes a lot of plants I haven't seen in other sansai guide books. The guide has useful graphics and short text packed with information. The text is short enough that it could probably be translated reasonably accurately by showing pictures of the pages or live camera to the google translate app on a smartphone. I'll attach a sample page at the bottom.

The only pet peeve I have is that scientific names aren't included. And there is not much about positive id and look alikes, but most of the weeds are ubiquitous that you probably see all the time and will recognize if you've been living in the countryside of Japan. 

The book also includes some recipes and notes on how much "aku" is in the plant and how to get it out. "Aku" is a difficult concept to translate, but it's basically any compounds in the plant that taste bad or are poisonous. Aku is usually removed by soaking in water or boiling a few times. 

The word aku sounds the same as the word for bad or evil, but it actually comes from the word for lye and has come to mean any yucky part of food that we don't want to eat. The foamy stuff that collects on the surface of chicken soup is also aku, so make sure you get it out of the soup before serving to anyone from Japan :).

I'll dig through our book piles and see what other guides I can find.
2 weeks ago

Ashley Rang wrote:Hey Amy!

I know COVID is crazy out of control and travel is much too restricted right now, but was wondering if you forsee needing help in the future. I'm hoping to travel out that way once things have calmed down a bit and would love to lend a hand at your gorgeous property :)


Hi Ashley! Thank you for your interest!

Yes, we will need help forever I think. Once the property pictured above is "finished", there is still the other property to work on which I haven't uploaded yet. We also have a few forested mountain plots that need thinned and transitioned from cedar to more diverse food forest ecosystems.

Hopefully things will calm down sooner, but we will be accepting helpers for years to come so no rush!
2 weeks ago