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mental health issues

Discussion in 'Medical issues on the pilgrimage' started by beiramar, Oct 4, 2011.

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  1. sweetlee213

    sweetlee213 New Member

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    To Julie, Alan, and Dazzamac,

    Thank you for your responses! I look forward to meeting more people like you on the Camino. Dazzamac, I will be walking the Camino in July as well! Perhaps we'll run into each other! The only expectation I have for the Camino right now is physical pain :lol:! In a strange way I'm even looking forward to that. Seeing how far my body and sheer will can take me! I have come to peace with the fact that I may not make it by foot to Santiago de Compostela. Life is about the journey and all the people you meet along the way, not the destination. It's a lesson I'm trying to live by in my life.

    I hope to see you all on the path and if not Buen Camino!

    Laura-Lee
     
  2. Alan Pearce

    Alan Pearce Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009 , VdlP 2011 , Ingles May 2014 Camino de Madrid May/June 2015, Baamonde to Compostela June 2015
    Julie

    Do let us know how you get on. Buen Camino!

    Alan

    Be brave. Life is joyous.
     
  3. jeffrey r aitken

    jeffrey r aitken Member

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    Hopefully leave the states 2nd week of April 2014, Right now i am lost in my existence of living my life and need a cleansing before making my move to Cambodia
    And some thoughts are better left unsaid! I suffer from a form of depression and have talked with my not so good Dr.s and as any Dr would say talking about the issues is the best therapy ,And i would have to agree
     
  4. marius02

    marius02 New Member

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    Sadly i need warn you about psychiatri, this videos are ture, i try it my shelf (psychiatri)...


     
  5. Bill_R

    Bill_R New Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    July and August (2014)
    I have suffered sever depression brought on by social anxiety for years. I am now down to 1/3 of my anti anxiety medications previously prescribed ... My secret, exercise. I now work out three times a week at a gym and currently am training for the walk. I would not be so cavalier as to think all depressions are the same nor would I suggest that walking the Camino is a cure: however, for me, the Camino is my reward and celebration of my healing.


    Buen Camino
    Bill

    PS doctors and big pharmaceutical companies hate this
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  6. Bill_R

    Bill_R New Member

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    July and August (2014)

    My Doctor asked if any of my family also suffered from mental illness?
    I replied," I rather think they enjoy it"
     
    Icacos likes this.
  7. bismith

    bismith Member

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    Location:
    Vancouver Canada
    Camino(s) past & future:
    completed May/June (2013), planning Le Puy to Santiago May-Jul 2018
    The simple act of sharing along the Camino helps and there is a great deal of sharing there
     
  8. indyinmaine

    indyinmaine Active Member

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    Frances - SJPdP to Santiago - Sept/Oct 2013
    Somehow I missed this thread and the one thing which stands out is the willingness of so many to share what others say "SSSHHH" to. I also notice that it started in October 2011 and most of the posts are from that time. The issue certainly hasn't gone away so what has changed.
     
  9. StuartM

    StuartM Active Member

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    As I read in a book recently, the opposite of "crazy" is "still crazy". We're all nuts. I say that as someone who had 3 months off work last year with depression and came very close to suicide. The difference between people with mental health issues and those that dont is that they are willing to admit it.

    I make no secret of the fact that for a while I was crazier than a sh1thouse rat. I think it is great that other people feel the same. No one feels the need to hide cancer or a broken leg yet mental health is one of the biggest killers according to the WHO.

    I have been shocked by how bad mental health treatment is in the UK. If you dont have money for private therapy then you're condemned to a prescription for prozac. Easy win. Even if you have money to spare the quality varies. Person centred counselling has to be the biggest money pit of quackery ever invented in modern medicine.

    Getting better starts with getting worse. That means embracing it. Be crazy. Be open.
     
  10. obinjatoo@yahoo.com

    obinjatoo@yahoo.com Veteran Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
    Congratulations on your 5 years... I often find it odd that more people are not "out" about being in recovery on The Way...
     
  11. PilgrimMidwife

    PilgrimMidwife New Member

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    I am walking the Way Aug 27 and I suffer from clinical depression. It sucks kind of a lot, but I'm up for it. I'm a writer, so I've been blogging the preparations, which helps. But still...some days it is a slog. I've definitely had suicidal ideation, some times worse than others. Ultreia to us all, I say!
     
    hampshire!tim likes this.
  12. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    I met a pilgrim this week who has severe issues. I can't put names to them, but he was quite obviously not living in the same world as the rest of us. He started walking from "a big country east of Germany" on St. Stephen's day because Good King Wenceslaus did it that way. He would not use or touch anything made of plastic. He will wash his clothes, but not his body, because he is "part of an experiment."
    There are three nice beds in the room, but he chose to sleep on the floor, fully clothed.
    His credential was in tatters, mixed in with creased prescription slips and pages torn out of prayer book, all of it carefully folded in brown paper.

    Why are you walking the camino? I asked him.
    Because it is the same every day, he said. I wake up, I walk, I sleep. It keeps me happy when things don't change.
    Evidently, it keeps him sane.
     
    Donna Sch likes this.
  13. William Garza

    William Garza Active Member

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    Puertos de Perdon...
    The world needs these on more than the Camino.simple words.Absolute profundity
     
  14. William Garza

    William Garza Active Member

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    Everything
    Nothing
    What do I hope to find next year..?
    I know the sadness
    Ive seen the rain

    The Triad,that is,the physical,mental and emotional aspects of a persons character can be challenged...
    I am physically challenged,therefore emotionally challenged every day because of the shear volume of sensations,
    The depression that accompanys is always,always there.


    What i hope to find?
    With a smile in my heart and soul..
    Is nothing.
    I hope to breath the air.
    I hope to taste the waters,wine and rain
    To nibble the "silver apples of the moon,and the golden apples of the sun"

    There is no reason other than this
    I feel the call
    It is to be answered...or it is to be counted among the great disapointments.
    Intolerable... To say the least.

    I hope to be the kind word uttered in the morning to the one uncertain at the road ahead
    I hope to be the encouraging wind at the weary ones back
    I hope to be the shoulder to the one,who...is willing in spirit,but lacking in flesh,to have a go at the next hill.

    My sadness is fought by action
    I hope you can understand my imperfect idiation...
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
    Wokabaut_Meri and Cailin O Eire like this.
  15. Pathfinder075

    Pathfinder075 Member

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    Location:
    Sheffield, UK
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
    Madrid Madness (Madrid to SdC via Invierno/VdlP) (May 2017)
    Maybe Porto (????? to SdC) (Sept/Oct 2017)
    I have issues with OCD and social anxiety. I get depressed, and i (usually) get better. I am allergic to most meds that doctors would prescribe for my conditions, so that leaves me with dealing with it. Also through some luck, i can take St Johns Wort, without issue. I tend to take it once in a while to level myself out a bit, usually once a month.

    My camino (when i eventually start it) is a grounding exercise. I want to get my head straight, see the world a little bit, do something different. I have some life issues that i would like to improve (job, friends, family), and i also really want to see if their is a point to life, or whether it is just a slow journey to death. Im not against any answer i discover. :) Either way i will learn something from it. Thats all that really matters in the end.

    If people want to know what ails me on my journey, well its a pretty long list. Yes i have mental health issues. Find me someone who doesnt.
     
    hampshire!tim likes this.
  16. William Garza

    William Garza Active Member

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    You tire of being tired
    You tire of the road..ever beloved...ever cursed,and the drive inside that wont let go.
    You tire of unfamiliar surroundings
    Home..becomes idealized,better than what reality is.
    You tire of your skin,your life...this is when the reformation begins,

    Ide spend 5 to 9 weeks out on my beloved interstates,alone and content.
    Until i saw some,family reunion on the road.
    Going home became preoccupation...until home,then the road called again

    An unhappy traveler,happiest on the road
     
    Wokabaut_Meri likes this.
  17. esmess

    esmess New Member

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    So happy to find this thread! And grateful to those who have been so open here. I struggled emotionally on the Camino and have struggled since. I've searched and searched for similar posts to this one just to know I was not alone! I don't think I have a mental illness, but I had a lot of grief that kept me isolated from others. I loved the nature and the walking, but I think I made the common mistake of having massive expectations that the Camino would "cure" me or help me find the answers to some of my (many) questions.
    The Camino is just like life itself. There were beautiful moments, there were sad moments, there were times of feeling union with others, there were times of desolating loneliness.
    I think it's good to discuss it all!! That comforts those who are struggling and lets them know that it's all part of the journey for many, if not most, of us.
    After all, a great causative factor for mental illness is loneliness or feeling like an outsider.
    I am an art therapist and I will never forget one of my teachers saying that more than therapy, the greatest healer of mental illness has been found to be.... intimacy.
    The more open a person is the more that person is helping all those around them, even if the subject is "taboo".
    Anyone can become mentally ill. It just takes one too many experiences of heartbreak or isolation.
     
  18. Peter Fransiscus

    Peter Fransiscus Veteran Member Donating Member

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    All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
    Hi Bill , you are so wright, I wish you well and a Buen Camino, Peter.
     
  19. Peregrino Falcon

    Peregrino Falcon Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    This may be too broad or philosophical a statement, but in my opinion, any and all advice, from whomever or wherever, should be carefully weighed by the person receiving the advice as to whether or not it rings true for him or her, no matter how well-intended the person giving it.

    (Whether the person receiving the advice has the ability to properly weigh it is yet another matter.)
     
    William Garza likes this.
  20. Phillypilgrim

    Phillypilgrim Active Member

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    C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
    Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
    Very well put "esmess", thank you for your post.
    Pam
     
  21. Benjamin Vickers

    Benjamin Vickers The Depressed Backpacker

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    I would recommend the Camino for someone with depressed mood or major depressive disorder caused by either social anxiety or life events. The Camino is a really good way to come to terms with the causes of depression, if caused by circumstances, or to engage in a constant exposure therapy, if the depression is caused by social phobia. The environment has many healing factors, and is essentially consistent with the New Economic Foundation's Five Steps to Wellbeing.

    I walked the Camino in August 2015 with depression that was the result of destructive personal circumstances. It was an extremely difficult experience, especially with my limited budget. Even so, I made a recovery over the course of the walk.
     
    SYates and soozansings like this.
  22. soozansings

    soozansings Active Member

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    I know this post was in the "wayback machine" but thank you for your service.
     
    CaminoDebrita and Arn like this.
  23. Donna Sch

    Donna Sch Active Member Donating Member

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    Via De La Plata - Sanabres - Finisterre ( June/July 2015); OTWPerth 2016
    Future Caminos? Zamora-Astorga-Camino Invierno - SDC (Feb 2019); CF (Summer 2020)
    If one of my patients asked me that question...?
    The answer would depend on the patient. Some have enormous capacity to reflect which will either save you or damn you. Some struggle with people; others struggle without. As far as physical health impacting on mood, the exercise, contact with nature and a good Spanish diet should all have an antidepressant effect. But the real journey is where your mind will go. And that depends on the individual and their personal circumstances. Some times are better than others to walk just as some routes may suit some people more than others. I think there are certain personalities that gravitate to certain routes especially if they do them as their first camino.
    I would definitely warn them that finishing can be hard, leaving all those new friends and if the Camino reflects life, you have to be able to prepare for the "death" at the end. Easier for some than others.
    For most people I would not advise tinkering with their medication unless there is a pre-discussed plan which includes a detailed relapse plan. And you need to carry a copy of that on you in case you do need to see a doctor.
    The Camino could make you...But it also could break you. Ultimately you are the only person that can make the choice. But seek advice widely from people who know you well and who have your best interest at heart. And I hope you can include your mental health team in that circle.
     
  24. pilgrim gurl

    pilgrim gurl Jo Anne

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    Thanks to all for exploring mood disorders and the Camino. My trip to Spain is at least a year away, but since my responsibilities recently lightened and I was able to say “yes” to the Camino call, my life is changing. I have dealt with significant depression for 60 years; the past 20 have also included my care for my daughter, who has dealt with complex mood disorders.

    As John Brierley advises, preparing for my spiritual journey on the Way. Participating in my church congregation in ways that match my gifts and needs; learning more about the saints, particularly Mother Mary. Exploring the history of Spain, starting from Brierley’s summary in his pilgrim’s guide.

    Of course, these preparations have not “cured” my lifelong depression, but they have shifted me towards purpose, hope, simplicity... and the knowledge that other pilgrims (all imperfect, of course) are seeking the same.

    Prayers and best wishes for all.

    Jo
     
  25. bhavagrahidasa

    bhavagrahidasa New Member

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    Sabine, I know this thread is old but thanks to your link i am now reading through it and had to thank you. Your advice is perfect. Very succinct and appropriate and i am sure reassuring to many who are contemplating walking The Way. Thank you.
     
  26. esmess

    esmess New Member

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    I haven't been here for a very long time - I walked the Camino may 2015. I walked it hoping for healing for my grief, depression and feelings of isolation from others.
    When I got to Santiago I was in despair. My hopes and expectations had been so high and I felt I'd failed.
    A nun took me aside and asked me if I was okay. I spoke to her from my heart about the issues id carried with me on the walk, and my disappointment that I was still carrying them.
    She said to me, for some the changes come later.
    Looking back, I can see now she was so right!
    Walking the Camino gave me the seeds of believing in myself again, even though nothing went to plan. and two years later, the changes have been amazing. It started back then, struggling along the Camino.
    It wasn't as I'd imagined, but the very act of doing it changed something in me.
    I began to be myself, my real self. The self I'd rejected and tried to act differently from all my life -too shy, too sensitive, socially awkward - I began to accept and appreciate who I really am.
    So much has changed since then.
    This acceptance has given me peace and also a kind of joy I've lived most of my life without!
    I'm not depressed any more, and I lived 50 odd years that way.
    I just wanted to say this here to others struggling along the Camino in the way I was. The answers may come in unrecognisable and totally unexpected ways - and they may come later not during.
    And it may be more of a whisper than a heroic shouting from the mountains. Hard won and slow to emerge.
    Everyone's journey is unique.
    Ultreya (not sure if I spelled that right) to all brave souls walking with these issues!!
     
    SabineP, SYates, mspath and 3 others like this.

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