Sorry about my recent absence folks. I’ll try to put it all into some perspective here.
I was walking between Fochabers and Elgin on the busy A something or other.
I was tired and, to be frank, this had not been my favourite part of the journey.
Although people had been kind – I’ll get back to that at some later blog – I’d been sleeping in my tent for about 5 nights. No great suffering – but I was a bit worn around the edges.
Combined with this I had some notion that I had to get to my future destinations by a particular date.
In retrospect that was ludicrous – my future hosts had stressed nothing but flexibility as to when I arrived.
On top of this, despite my solar powered gadgets, the charge on my iPhone was very low – allowing me to blog and little else.
It was a bit rainy – quite pleasant really – but my feet were sore as I allowed just a little self pity to creep in.
My concentration wasn’t what it might be.
I fell over. I missed my footing, landed on my left knee, whacked my wrist, pulled a muscle in my foot and I’m pretty sure I’ve cracked a rib.
As before, I experienced that Matrix moment as I fell. I watched the traffic as I crumbled to the floor. Everything seemed to move so slowly.
To be fair, it was quite apparent that the traffic was moving more slowly – they were all rubbernecking at the funny bald man in a kilt with skinned knees.
A police car appeared from nowhere.
“Where did you come from today?”
“Around the mouth of the Spey,” (about 7 miles away)
“And where are you going?”
“Elgin,” (about 5 miles up the road)
He looked at me with perhaps a little derision and said, “Don’t you think you’re being over ambitious?”
“I tripped – I’m fine – I’ve been walking from Edinburgh,” somehow thinking I was demonstrating my alrightness by rubbing my legs and arms.
My wonderful endorphins had kicked in and I felt no pain.
Satisfied the policeman sped off. The traffic crawled past me for a little longer as I gathered myself together.
Now here’s a strange thing that my wonderfully complicated brain does at times of stress.
This means, for me at least, the world becomes unreal. Everything outside of my head – including me – ceases to have any meaningful existence. I become not just the centre of my universe,
I am my universe.
The external world becomes an irritation. It’s too loud – too bright – too everything.
I feel I can do anything because I am everything.
In short – quite mad.
I arrived in Elgin – the pain in my ribs and feet had kicked in as my personal pain killers had subsided.
It was late on in the day so I agreed with myself that a pub would be a good place for sustenance.
I went in – had drinks bought for me – had offers of food, from all directions, and accommodation from Jan.
I’ll blog about her kindness later.
The following day – bathed – fed – my clothes washed – I started out again.
Try as I might, the world refused to come back – nothing was real. I was still tired – the pain was still there – but none of it was real.
Back in the day, this was referred to as multiple personality disorder – where a person presented as a different person to the world about them.
Dissociation is like an old friend to me. It served me well in the traumas of my childhood – but has a habit now of turning up, uninvited, at the most unexpected times.
At these times I have an inner chant, a mantra, where I tell myself it will pass. The belief that the world doesn’t exist though is terribly strong. It almost feels like I’m patronising myself.
At these times I am at my most vulnerable. I am a danger to myself.
My small inner voice suggested that I needed somewhere safe – I got on a bus to Nairn – contacted a bed and breakfast – deposited myself in a little room – phoned Ella – took a large (previously agreed with my gp) dose if my medication and battened down the hatches as I waited for it to begin to subside.
Ella arrived at 2 in the morning and over the next couple of days she has watched and cared for me as I’ve gradually re-entered the real world.
Today I’m able to write – to look back on what happened with some objectivity – to tell you what it’s like.
It’s weird – that’s what it’s like. It ain’t normal and it’s not just a little bonkers.
But here I am – back in the room. I’m well rested and I will whinge about my rib for some time to come.
I’ve agreed to take it slower. Like I said at the beginning, it isn’t a race. There is no rush. I’ve started looking at backups to ensure my phone power will last longer to keep me safe.
Tomorrow, I’ll be back on the road.
Thanks for reading this.
Walk a mile