Daily Archives: August 6, 2012

Taking stock

If I’d been a little bit braver this morning, today’s header photo would have been considerably more dramatic than this one.

I took a mercifully brief (compared to yesterday) detour from the Camino because a waymarker had been obscured by some undergrowth, to find myself in a muddy field nose to nose-ring with a decidedly fierce-looking bull; well not all that close to be honest, but quite close enough to back off without attempting to grab my camera to get a shot of him eyeing me up, especially as my walking poles have a particularly garish red flash down each side.

But the more benign bovine specimen that you see above that I came across a little later was actually probably more representative of today’s more reflective mood as I left the rolling farmlands of Cantabria and crossed into what felt like the entirely new terrain of Asturias.

One of the most striking aspects of undertaking this journey by foot has been having the opportunity to fully appreciate the changing landscape, given the luxury of time to take it all in; even so, the dramatic changes seem to take place in a matter of hours as you move from region to region.

Leaving Colombres on the border of Asturias for today’s 23.2km walk to Llanes back along the coast involved an initially steep climb, although nothing nearly as challenging as the first few stages through The Basque Country. Nevertheless, it made quite a pleasant change to see a cyclist struggling up the incline, as the majority of the time they seem to be whizzing down in the opposite direction as you are sweatily labouring upwards.

Once at the summit, however, and for the first time on this trip probably, I had a real sense of the distance I have travelled so far – a total of 402km / 250miles (tomorrow I will officially be crossing the half way mark to Santiago) as I looked back over terrain that I have walked over the last two or three days alone.

The Cantabrian mountain range moving into Asturias is no less dramatic that the scenery in the Basque Country but somehow seems softer, perhaps because the air was cooled by a mountain breeze today rather than the dry heat I had been exposed to previously.

As I approached the brow of the mountain range the moon was still visible in a crystal clear blue sky at 9.30am in the morning…

…leading into stunning panoramic views of the coastline stretching across the horizon below me.

And walking back down again to sea level, I began to get glimpses of the secluded coves and pristine beaches that the area is famed for…

…then seeing them up close as I walked the coastline:

I decided to slow things down today, and instead of pushing on through to the next destination pausing only occasionally for a quick coffee or a beer, as I have generally generally being doing til now, I treated myself to set lunch off a ‘pilgrim’s menu’ that many restaurants offer along the way – in this case a lightly flavoured plate of spaghetti bolognese for a starter, followed by grilled sardines and a caramel tart…for 12 Euros. It appears that asceticism does not feature heavily on this particular pilgrimage.

After lunch, the surrounding seemed to evolve yet again, into what seemed more like Alpine passes than the Spain I have known til now, either on this trip or previous visits.

The trail then leads down to more lush, verdant countryside…

…before one final ascent to higher ground…

…before arriving at Llanes, which I haven’t taken any photographs of today as, frankly, my feet need a bit of a rest.

Maybe tomorrow as I’m leaving town…

This thing’s going to fall apart soon if I’m not careful

Filed under: On The Road Tagged: Asturias, Basque Country, Camino, Cantabria, Charity, Colombres, Photograph, Rethink Mental Illness

A Case of Headupassitis, I May Need a Crowbar, and Authority

    Not for me silly.   I just had a marvelous epiphany.  Well really it sucked, but it .. actually two separate ones .. they both sucked.  And its the perpetrators of said thoughts to reach epiphany,,that suck, I mean have headupassitis.   I don;t know what else it could possibly be.  I had it once a long time … Continue reading

Count: 20

Apparently, the nightmare that made my G+ feed stressfully busy was boiled down to a grand total of 20 people. Twenty people. 12% of my minute list. And yet, moving them all into their own feed that doesn’t show up in my main feed means that I can see my friend’s stuff without it getting buried, and can browse the busier stream at my leisure without getting upset because I’m ‘missing something’. It’s a ridiculously small change, but it’s amazed me how much of a weight off of my shoulders that has been in the past 24 hours.

But often with mental health issues, it is the little things that kill. I would maintain that most of my friends with bipolar are highly logical; it’s the most reasonable and healthiest tool we can apply to an erratic and irrational mind. But logic can only function so well when drowning in a river of noise; like all things in life, the one reasonable voice is often lost in the crowd. I can go on and on about this, but I accept it probably doesn’t register or make sense unless you’re constantly dealing with it. The same goes for too much input in general; I don’t about others, but my mind shuts down in an attempt to prevent a panic attack. Logic loses out hardcore, because it has no traction to beat out the noise and the high alert nerves.

This also gives me hope that I can wean myself off social networking a bit. I think most of us know it’s like a rat with a feeder bar; we’re gonna keep whapping it to get a reward. Even if that reward is a stupid spam email, we get a nice little pat on the hormonal back. Even now, just writing about it, I run to my email and check to see if anything has come in (and something has; a newsletter I’ve been meaning to unsubscribe from for years). Knowing logically that there’s not likely to be anything important or timely in my boxes or feeds does nothing to drown out the noise of ‘ClickmeclickmeclickmeNOW’, even though it really should.

Anyways, small progress! I consider it a bit of a fluke that I managed to rub the brain power together to make that happen as I am a total zombie today, but I’m grateful that fates collided for that. :D


Long time no post..

.. no idea why. Things are ..ok. Ups and downs. Here the bullet points: 


  • Not great, I have to take sleeping pills (antihistaminics) at least 2-3 times a week because otherwise things reach fast that freakout state where I sleep 2 hrs a night and become a zombie. With the meds, I kind of make it work. 
  • Less tired during the day than while on the Celexa. I rarely sleep in the afternoon, only if I have had a particularly bad night. When on the meds, I always got very very tired around 2 pm
  • I generally need less sleep, but it is difficult to understand just how much that is. Sometimes I feel ok with just 4-5 hours, other times even 6 leave me exhausted.


  • Much more than on the Celexa, alas. I am always “ready for flight”, so to say, and even little things make my heart beat like crazy. 
  • I worry a lot more. About real stuff, and also about imaginary one. 
  • Not nearly as bad as before starting on the meds though. I generally am able to get myself under some kind of control when I start to freak out, by breathing deeply.


  • The emetophobia is worse again, agh. I see that when eating with my father, who has Parkinson´s disease and sometimes gets a hiccup while eating which occasionally (very seldom though) causes him to gag and vomit, he mostly makes it to the WC in time, but not always. When on the Celexa, I was somewhat uncomfortable when he started to hiccup, but managed to continue to eat myself and stay seated. Now, I basically continue to want to stare at him for the first signs of hiccup, and am seating like ready to get up and run away (haven´t done it until now, but came close). I also can´t eat when he starts to hiccup and feel totally terrorized, therefore avoid eating with my parents when I can. Not good. 
  • Less prone to nausea than while on the Celexa, therefore less Domperidone-chugging. Good, I think. 

General health

  • More headaches, and heavier ones than while on the Celexa. Not sure if that is due to me being generally more tense, or if it has brain chemistry reasons
  • Period totally out of whack (now 7 weeks since the last) but that did happen occasionally before too. Probably more a middle aged thing 😀
  • Some weight loss, due to consistent dieting for a month, not enough though. 
  • Intestines more sensitive: While on the Celexa, the occasional gluten poisoning seldom resulted in major intestinal upheaval, usually just some discomfort. Now if I get even some slight contamination, oh boy. Insides want out. And it lasts longer too. 

Depression and bipolar

  • There are no really extreme highs and lows, mostly. At least none which last more than a few hours. I have been at the “I want to die NOW point a few times, but that was more from nervous exhaustion than real depression. I think. And it never lasted long. I also haven´t had real “OMGEVERYTHINGISTOTALLYAWESOMEIMGOINGTORULETHEWORLD” moments either, have kept mostly decent body hygiene and not exaggerated with the chocolate either. So I guess that all makes me do pretty welll on the “normal” scale of things 😀
  • Definitely I get more worked up about single events than before. When the hail hit my garden and field, it took me a LOT of time to come down from the total desperation that had caused me. 
  • I am doing an exercise on my other blogs, trying to find at every end of the day five happy things to say. This has been an astonishing help, because it forces me to SEE all the good stuff happening in my life, which I tend to somewhat ignore when I´m not in the best of moods. Focusing on those good things makes me feel all warm and mushy inside and does wonders for my endorphines 😀. Seriously, more often than not it helps me falling asleep with one or more happy things to think about. 

OCD and other brainweirdness

  • Ritual stuff is worse. I often have to force myself to just break out of my patterns sometimes. 
  • Nail biting still in full force, I try and try but then when I am nervous about something, they get nibbled off in a moment. 
  • Monkey mind galore. Particularly bad the word-repeating, when some sentence just gets stuck in my head and gets repeated over and over and over. Or things I want to say to somebody. Or else. 
  • Less money spending than before. Good thing, because we have none 😀

Procrastination and memory

  • The same, I´d say. I continue to push stuff I don´t want to do into a dark corner, and forget about it. Some days are worse than others. 
  • I am a bit disappointed about my memory not getting really a lot better after stopping the Celexa, because I had the impression that while on it I had a harder time than usual remembering things, from memorizing musical parts to where I had put my keys. This hasn´t really changed, and I sure hope it does because I´m too young for that stuff. 

General stuff

  • Still trying to keep moving as much as possible. No running though, as it messes my joints up too much, I need to lose at least 30 pounds for that being possible again. Sigh. And I seem unable to lose some real weight if I do´t run. I can´t win, right?
  • The rage thing seems to have calmed down a bit. I had a really bad time with that a few weeks ago, but now I do get cranky but don´t want to immediately rip peoples´heads off. Progress!
  • I have difficulty to deal with more than one thing at the time. If there are more things/people vying for my attention, I get all hot and nervous and start to mess stuff up. That was not so prominent before, no idea if it is part of getting simply older or what. I want my multitasking ability back, though!.