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Dealing with PTSD on the Camino

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i have PTSD and recently finished the camino frances. i ended up paying to stay in private rooms and spent a great deal more money than i could comfortably afford, but did what i needed to do to make it through.

there were many times in the albergues i could not sleep due to triggering aspects of the setup. it was so bad there were several occasions i left in the middle of the night, crawling out the window where possible if the doors were locked. i was too embarrassed about it to tell anyone. i was often tempted to go sleep on the floor in common areas but never did- i'd just leave.

i would like to do the camino frances again, as i had also sustained an injury, and would like to do it again to walk every step of the way.

my question is: if financially i would need to stay in albergues, if i ask permission to sleep on the kitchen floor or common room, even outside on a patio or laundry area, what are the odds they'd let me?

any suggestions or ideas or is the general consensus that private rooms would be the only way to go? that would probably be pretty much out of reach.

have others gone through this and come up with less expensive solutions? i know camping is not allowed. just wondering - thanks in advance.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
i have PTSD and recently finished the camino frances. i ended up paying to stay in private rooms and spent a great deal more money than i could comfortably afford, but did what i needed to do to make it through.

there were many times in the albergues i could not sleep due to triggering aspects of the setup. it was so bad there were several occasions i left in the middle of the night, crawling out the window where possible if the doors were locked. i was too embarrassed about it to tell anyone. i was often tempted to go sleep on the floor in common areas but never did- i'd just leave.

i would like to do the camino frances again, as i had also sustained an injury, and would like to do it again to walk every step of the way.

my question is: if financially i would need to stay in albergues, if i ask permission to sleep on the kitchen floor or common room, even outside on a patio or laundry area, what are the odds they'd let me?

any suggestions or ideas or is the general consensus that private rooms would be the only way to go? that would probably be pretty much out of reach.

have others gone through this and come up with less expensive solutions? i know camping is not allowed. just wondering - thanks in advance.
I have battled the same condition for decades . It isn't easy , you have my respect for being able to confront it .
If you can cope with sleeping in a confined space a swag or bivey bag might be an option . ' Camping ' in the backyard of an albergue might not be as glamorous as in the wild but it will give you access to a shower and company if you wish . It will probably be cheap as well .
Look at light weight self inflating sleeping pads and biveys , the two should come in under the 1.5kg mark , a small price for to pay for personal calm .
 
I have battled the same condition for decades . It isn't easy , you have my respect for being able to confront it .
If you can cope with sleeping in a confined space a swag or bivey bag might be an option . ' Camping ' in the backyard of an albergue might not be as glamorous as in the wild but it will give you access to a shower and company if you wish . It will probably be cheap as well .
Look at light weight self inflating sleeping pads and biveys , the two should come in under the 1.5kg mark , a small price for to pay for personal calm .
thanks-i wondered about that- have you seen or heard of that allowed?
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
While camping is frowned upon, there are places you can camp, especially on the Frances. As you walk on the Frances, you will see people pitching tents or see tents in random places the next morning. In fact if you are happy in your own company, there are plenty of places you can camp. i've spoken to a number of pilgrims who have camped for the entire Camino for varying reasons, most because they had animals with them and as you might imagine most albergues wouldn't be happy if you turned up with a dog or a horse. So the only thing left is camp.

I would have thought most private albergues that have a garden might allow you to camp if you explain your issues, or even say you are claustrophobic and find it hard to sleep inside with other people. There are also camp sites littered around if you search for them.

Also as Hiawatha suggested, a swag setup could make a possible easier setup. Just be aware they aren't cheap. In the grand scheme of things a 30 euro tent from Decathlon that weighs 2.5kg, a foam roll mat, air pillow and sleeping bag, might only take up just over 3kg in total. If that's what is needed for you to sleep well at night, then its how it is.
 
If it is officially recognised as a disability, and you have documentation thereto, in Galicia many, though not all, of the public Xunta Albergues have separate sleeping quarters where you would be alone, though someone in a wheelchair or so on would of course take precedence.

Otherwise, some but also not all Albergues might have floor, garden, or patio space, though I would not recommend a kitchen or laundry room floor. And the shared "living space" can actually be surprisingly quiet once everyone is off to bed, but really the possibilities or absence thereof are very variable.

In the warm months I'm not sure you'd need a tent, just some calm and quiet places, hopefully sheltered, to put an inflatable mattress and sleeping bag down in - - a mattress is super important to prevent your body heat leaking into the ground.

Sad to hear of your condition, and good luck with it. I have heard it suggested by others that the Camino has helped them with theirs.
 
I also have PTSD and MCS and I have camped many places along the Camino. I have a blog that lists some spots, though it's 10 years old and you'd need to confirm each spot. Here is a link, and feel free to PM me if you have questions.


Many albergues will allow you to camp in their yard - just a matter of asking.
Sometimes you can camp in church yards too.
My best advice is to walk THROUGH villages, having your dinner/toilet, then camp on the other side.
I know of a few spots I can share with you.

You might also consider a less busy route, such as the Madrid, the Aragones, from Lourdes,
or the VDLP.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
I also have PTSD and MCS and I have camped many places along the Camino. I have a blog that lists some spots, though it's 10 years old and you'd need to confirm each spot. Here is a link, and feel free to PM me if you have questions.


Many albergues will allow you to camp in their yard - just a matter of asking.
Sometimes you can camp in church yards too.
My best advice is to walk THROUGH villages, having your dinner/toilet, then camp on the other side.
I know of a few spots I can share with you.

You might also consider a less busy route, such as the Madrid, the Aragones, from Lourdes,
or the VDLP.
what great info- will check all that out before i go again. now i wish i had told someone what was happening, but i guess that’s one of the latent lessons of the camino. as always the folks on this forum are so helpful and kind xo
 
If your PTSD is the result of serving in the US military, there are several groups supporting Caminos for veterans. Check with your local DAV (Disabled American Veterans) representative whom I am sure would aggressively search for a connection for you.

The small municipal albergue in Castro-Urdiales on the Camino del Norte has single person tents set up and available for pilgrims. Buen Camino
 
i have PTSD and recently finished the camino frances. i ended up paying to stay in private rooms and spent a great deal more money than i could comfortably afford, but did what i needed to do to make it through.

there were many times in the albergues i could not sleep due to triggering aspects of the setup. it was so bad there were several occasions i left in the middle of the night, crawling out the window where possible if the doors were locked. i was too embarrassed about it to tell anyone. i was often tempted to go sleep on the floor in common areas but never did- i'd just leave.

i would like to do the camino frances again, as i had also sustained an injury, and would like to do it again to walk every step of the way.

my question is: if financially i would need to stay in albergues, if i ask permission to sleep on the kitchen floor or common room, even outside on a patio or laundry area, what are the odds they'd let me?

any suggestions or ideas or is the general consensus that private rooms would be the only way to go? that would probably be pretty much out of reach.

have others gone through this and come up with less expensive solutions? i know camping is not allowed. just wondering - thanks in advance.
I’ve seen even private albergues allow a person walking with their dog to sleep in the laundry area because they didn’t allow dogs in the general dorm. Not all albergues will necessarily have a separate area that can accommodate your request. Your request is not unreasonable and I wouldn’t hesitate to ask. No guarantees, but given the spirit of the Camino, I believe hospitaleros would try to accommodate when possible. If you go on Gronze you can probably call or email albergues in advance with an explanation and the request.
Wishing you all the best, Buen Camino!
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
I am making a huge assumption here, so please forgive me if this isn't useful. You might want to chat with this person if my assumption is correct:

Either way, I personally am quite in awe of what you've already accomplished, and what you hope to accomplish .

Buen Camino
 
If your PTSD is the result of serving in the US military, there are several groups supporting Caminos for veterans. Check with your local DAV (Disabled American Veterans) representative whom I am sure would aggressively search for a connection for you.

The small municipal albergue in Castro-Urdiales on the Camino del Norte has single person tents set up and available for pilgrims. Buen Cami
i was a civilian working in a war zone and thus don’t have any veteran benefits- though many of us went through the same scenarios. i might see if any of those groups would help me anyway. nonetheless the suggestions on this thread have set me in the right direction and i have hope of being able to pull off another camino, which is definitely a good thing!
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I am making a huge assumption here, so please forgive me if this isn't useful. You might want to chat with this person if my assumption is correct:

Either way, I personally am quite in awe of what you've already accomplished, and what you hope to accomplish .

Buen Camino
this time making an assumption was the right thing to do and i look forward to exploring the link you sent!
 
I spent so much of my childhood having insults, rocks and worse thrown at me and mine that I grew up in total distrust of anyone who wasn’t family or tribe. Then I went to Spain. I discovered a society that didn’t give a shit about where I was from or what I did. All I had to do was respect them and I received respect.
Off topic I know but to try and drag it back: Spain is one of the few countries I known (ok, and Greece) where if you can articulate what you need - someone will try to help. “try the barn”, “use the cabin”, “Grandma needs a lodger”. I’m sure other countries are available…

If it’s the communal and often crowded nature of the Frances try another route. There are enough enthusiasts on this forum that there isn’t a goat track that hasn’t been trod 😉
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
What does PTSD mean for a non-english native speaker, please ?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The very variable but very unpleasant mental and physical health impacts of prolonged or intense exposure to (usually) direct threats to personal survival. First identified during and after the so called First World War (why don’t people pay attention to history) but then described as shell-shock. Later applied to WW2, Korean, Vietnam and later war veterans who wouldn’t just go home, settle down and keep quiet and lately recognized as a genuine and extensive disorder.
If you’re curious Godgle and other search engines will lead you down a thousand rabbit holes.
I’ll just remember the Headmistress at Rownhams Church of England Primary school who, despite the objections of the Vicar and the Parish Council admitted me to her school and made me welcome. She would never open a letter or, especially a telegram, because as a young girl she had opened the “we regret to inform you” from the Admiralty and discovered her beloved elder brother was MIA (missing in action)
 
Hi Peregrin,
I have no advice to offer. However I just want to wish you so well with your future. I have never experienced PTSD and can only imagine the horror of having to mentally and emotionally relive the worst physically experiences a human being can have, over and over again. I do know that the Camino is a magical place and I hope that you can walk again and some of the magic rubs off on you, so that you can find whatever it is you need to feel at peace.
Aidan
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
i have PTSD and recently finished the camino frances. i ended up paying to stay in private rooms and spent a great deal more money than i could comfortably afford, but did what i needed to do to make it through.

there were many times in the albergues i could not sleep due to triggering aspects of the setup. it was so bad there were several occasions i left in the middle of the night, crawling out the window where possible if the doors were locked. i was too embarrassed about it to tell anyone. i was often tempted to go sleep on the floor in common areas but never did- i'd just leave.

i would like to do the camino frances again, as i had also sustained an injury, and would like to do it again to walk every step of the way.

my question is: if financially i would need to stay in albergues, if i ask permission to sleep on the kitchen floor or common room, even outside on a patio or laundry area, what are the odds they'd let me?

any suggestions or ideas or is the general consensus that private rooms would be the only way to go? that would probably be pretty much out of reach.

have others gone through this and come up with less expensive solutions? i know camping is not allowed. just wondering - thanks in advance.
Good luck. Invisible injuries are one hell of a thing to live with - but it seems like you’re well on your way to working with, around or through yours.
 
i have PTSD and recently finished the camino frances. i ended up paying to stay in private rooms and spent a great deal more money than i could comfortably afford, but did what i needed to do to make it through.

there were many times in the albergues i could not sleep due to triggering aspects of the setup. it was so bad there were several occasions i left in the middle of the night, crawling out the window where possible if the doors were locked. i was too embarrassed about it to tell anyone. i was often tempted to go sleep on the floor in common areas but never did- i'd just leave.

i would like to do the camino frances again, as i had also sustained an injury, and would like to do it again to walk every step of the way.

my question is: if financially i would need to stay in albergues, if i ask permission to sleep on the kitchen floor or common room, even outside on a patio or laundry area, what are the odds they'd let me?

any suggestions or ideas or is the general consensus that private rooms would be the only way to go? that would probably be pretty much out of reach.

have others gone through this and come up with less expensive solutions? i know camping is not allowed. just wondering - thanks in advance.
I think you are amazing and have much respect for you. Strength to you and take care
 

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