Join the Conversation on
241 people
0 stories
19 posts
Note: The hashtags you follow are publicly viewable on your profile; you can change this at any time.
Don’t miss what’s new on The Mighty. We have over 20 email newsletters to choose from, from mental health to chronic illness.
Browse and Subscribe
What's New in camping
Community Voices

Just had a ghostly experience tbe rock from my cousins memorial service in 2016 appeared in my jeans mini skirt out of nowhere tonight haven’t seen

5 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Camping for for soul

<p>Camping for for soul</p>
3 people are talking about this
Community Voices
Community Voices

Color fire #Camping

<p>Color fire <a class="tm-topic-link ugc-topic" title="camping" href="/topic/camping/" data-id="5b23ce6a00553f33fe98f008" data-name="camping" aria-label="hashtag camping">#Camping</a> </p>
13 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What activity could you do over and over and never get sick of?

Some of mine are:
Listening to music
Petting my dog
Sitting and listening to the birds
Sitting at a bonfire
Listening to live music
Sunbathing (don't do it enough) #Camping #Music #dog #Birds #bonfire #sunbathing #LiveMusic

34 people are talking about this
Erin Migdol

HBO 'Camping' Review: Jennifer Garner Plays a Woman With Chronic Pain

If people with chronic pain want to see themselves onscreen, their options are pretty limited. They could watch a medical procedural like “Grey’s Anatomy,” which occasionally features patients with chronic pain in a one-episode arc focused just on their medical challenges, or they could watch a show like “This Is Us” that uses chronic pain as a jumping off point to talk about opioid addiction. And… that’s about it. Despite the fact that 100 million Americans have chronic pain, it’s a subject that hardly ever shows up in movies and TV.For that reason alone there’s something kind of great about the first episode of “Camping,” a new comedy series that premiered on HBO on Sunday. The show proudly features chronic pain as one of the defining qualities of main character Kathryn (Jennifer Garner), and chronic pain appears poised to be a central motivator of her actions and quirks as the show progresses. However, Kathryn’s other “defining” quality seems to be being type-A and controlling (and, even though this is meant to be a comedy, she’s not quite funny enough), which leaves me concerned that audiences may walk away not understanding Kathryn’s motives and feeling the sympathy for her it seems the creators intended.The episode begins with Kathryn, her husband Walt (David Tennant) and young son Orvis (Duncan Joiner) arriving at a campground for the camping trip Kathryn has organized with a group of friends for Walt’s birthday. We learn of Kathryn’s chronic pain from the very beginning, though no specific diagnosis is revealed: She’s wearing a fleece jacket with “Int’l Women’s Pain Conference Sydney #PainfullyStrong” printed on the back, tells the campground owner she may recognize her from her Instagram account for moms and women with chronic pain, and upon arriving at their campsite, proceeds to steal all the mattress pads from the tents for herself, asking rhetorically, “Do you want me to have a dysfunctional pelvic floor the whole of your birthday weekend?”She turns down sex with Walt because it’s “not comfortable” for her, offering her hand instead. At one point she even grabs a stack of magazines, one of which is the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association magazine. There’s also a relatable moment when, after telling Jandice (Juliette Lewis) that she had a hysterectomy and Jandice responds with, “Have you ever tried pelvic floor work?” Kathryn responds, “I don’t think you understand what I’m dealing with here. If I did some internal release it would probably kill me.” Ahh, the old “medical advice from well-intentioned friends!” bit so many others with chronic pain have dealt with.These details were so refreshing to me. As The Mighty’s chronic illness editor, I’ve seen many disappointing portrayals of chronic pain that don’t really give you a sense of what a real person with chronic pain might be like, or I’ve been disappointed by the lack of portrayals of chronic pain, period. So it’s pretty revolutionary to see the main character of a star-studded TV show with “has chronic pain” as a defining characteristic. It was a thrill to see such blatant acknowledgment of chronic pain onscreen.One by one, the rest of the guests arrive for the camping trip, including Kathryn’s sister, Carleen (Ione Skye), Carleen’s husband Joe (Chris Sullivan) and Joe’s daughter Sol (Cheyenne Haynes); Walt’s friend George (Brett Gelman) and George’s wife and former-friend-of-Kathryn, Nina-Joy (Janicza Bravo); and friend Miguel (Arturo Del Puerto) and his new girlfriend, Jandice.Past betrayals, resentments and frustrations among the group are clearly simmering below the surface, but what comes across most strongly is Kathryn’s type-A personality. She carries around a binder with all the trip’s details and constantly reminds the guests of the schedule (the episode ends with her fussing, “Swimming is tomorrow!” after everyone jumps in the lake for an impromptu dip instead of bird-watching). She objects to Carleen bringing Sol because it’s “no children allowed.” She seems over-eager to reconnect with Nina-Joy, who keeps her at arm’s length. She even interrupts people to correct their language, like when Miguel says he’s divorced instead of separated and when Walt and George refer to each other as brothers even though they’re just friends.Critics have denounced Kathryn as “unlikeable” and even “grating” and “unwatchable.” I don’t think the issue is that Kathryn is unlikeable. Plenty of TV characters are unlikeable people you would never want to be friends with in real life. I think the issue is that Kathryn, and the show overall, just wasn’t quite funny enough. I wanted to laugh at all of Kathryn’s idiosyncrasies, but I found myself cringing more often, or feeling kind of exasperated by her. It’s just not clear yet why she’s like that; or, if the answer is “because she has chronic pain,” why we should feel sympathy for her and not write off all people with chronic pain as “type-A and controlling.” “Camping” can make Kathryn’s “unlikability” work, so long as it’s funny and you have empathy for why she’s like that. Right now the show struggles to deliver on both.Lena Dunham, who has been vocal about her experience with chronic pain due to endometriosis and fibromyalgia, is listed as a creator, writer and producer of the show. It’s easy to see how Kathryn was inspired by Lena’s own health issues. The episode’s director, Jenni Konner, told Bustle that Kathryn’s personality is meant to be motivated by how long she has been in pain, and how she’s trying to do the best she can despite her health struggles.Konner said: So many sufferers of chronic pain — and as we know Lena has been very public about her own struggle — feel like there is a disbelief or things you can’t see don’t necessarily make people understand what you’re going through. There is a sense with Kathryn that no one gets it. She’s all alone with it. After one episode, I can see where the show might be headed. Perhaps it’ll reveal that Kathryn’s type-A nature is a result of the uncertainty she’s had to face because of her chronic pain. If that’s what happens, “Camping” could be an interesting representation of how chronic pain can change you, and how it infiltrates your outlook and how you operate in the world. But, viewers need to get a sense of that sooner rather than later — and the journey to that point needs to be funnier and more entertaining.Garner assured viewers: If you hang in there, by the end you’ll have just peeked under enough leaves to see who is hiding behind the tree. You don’t just get it all at once, but you will, by the end, hopefully have — maybe not the love I have for her, but you’ll understand her. I hope “Camping” delivers on that promise, and that it doesn’t lose its viewers in the process. Otherwise, we may be left with a show that simply portrays a woman who’s wound way too tight and happens to have chronic pain.

Community Voices

I am very lucky we have an RV for camping and we take it slow! Still takes a lot out of me! I love the quiet and the campfires!

1 person is talking about this
Emma White

Camping After a Spinal Cord Injury

“What the hell am I doing?” I thought, watching as my boyfriend Kev vomited strenuously into a plastic tub, then slumped, shaking and exhausted, back onto a pile of fetid sheets, heated from within by his fever. We were holed up in a motel room in Western Victoria, on day two of a four month camping trip around Australia. Beside the bed sat a shiny new wheelchair he didn’t know how to use. “He is going to die if you continue,” hissed my mother, voice croaky with concern. “It’s irresponsible taking a recently disabled man with serious health problems camping in the Australian outback, thousands of miles from hospitals.” Worries ambushed me – babbling that maybe she’s right. What if we break down and have to walk for help — or rather, I have to walk for help? A psychopath could kill us and bury us in the desert somewhere. Kev could be savaged by an inland taipan and not feel a thing, brush against an Irukandji jellyfish while swimming, or drag his bottom across a stonefish lurking on the sea bed. Not to mention the myriad medical concerns due to him being a paraplegic, sand and germs getting into his sterile catheterizing process sparking an infection, heat stroke, pressure sores, and autonomic dysreflexia – a potentially deadly, nervous system freak-out — all of which people with spinal injuries are susceptible to, particularly in the murderous heat of an Australian summer. I had to put it all out of my mind or I was going to hyperventilate. Five months previously, while running a geophysical survey in Northern Canada, Kev had fallen from a cliff, fracturing his leg, puncturing his lung and breaking his back. For hours, he lay motionless in the dark forest, unable to feel his lower body and hoping desperately not to attract the attention of the many bears and wolves he’d seen while hiking the survey zone. After he was airlifted to Vancouver, we were given five days of hope before a neurosurgeon gently told him he would never walk again. It was as though an icy wind had wrapped around us, and swept away all the joy in the room — all the joy in the entire world. Six weeks later in spinal rehabilitation hospital, he was learning how to sit up without core muscles, move in and out of his wheelchair and hold a wheelie by balancing on the two large back wheels. But it soon became clear there was much to learn that could not be taught in a rehabilitation hospital – things that to us were crucial. We had met a couple of years earlier, both working at a ski resort in British Columbia, and spent several years doing back to back winters between North America and New Zealand.  Outdoor pursuits and travel were very important to us. Ignorant of spinal injuries, we had no idea what life was like as a wheelchair user, but we knew the kind of lifestyle we wanted to live and we needed to figure out how we could reclaim that lifestyle. At a time when even a trip out of hospital to a restaurant without calamity was an accomplishment, the thought of camping was daunting and terrifying. Yet traveling appealed to us because it delayed facing reality. An adventure was something to look forward to instead of mournfully looking back. So we flew to Melbourne, bought a Hilux, installed dodgy hand controls — little more than golf clubs duct tapped to the pedals — stocked up on medical equipment, camping supplies, and large quantities of antibiotics and neuro-suppressors that would be difficult to find outside of major cities. From Melbourne we traveled west across the Nullarbor with my anxious, overprotective mother, through the remote north west with a free-spirited British backpacker and down the verdant east coast alone, our relationship hanging by a thread. Still recovering from the injury, Kev’s body had taken a beating and his health was marginal. Urinary tract infections kept cropping up like a whack-a-mole as Kev churned through the drug stockpile. One nasty infection became systemic. He seared his calf to a weeping, blistered pulp as it rested against sun-baked basalt at a swimming hole outside of Katherine, and acquired inexplicable sores on his legs that we both hoped wasn’t some kind of creepy tropical parasite.  Falls were frequent due to inexperience and muscle spasticity sabotaging his transfers and hurling him sideways. I became adept at removing doors seized in paint to provide a few extra centimeters of clearance. Slabs of wood sufficed as makeshift ramps, and a plastic lawn chair worked as a shower chair. After countless attempts, the first time Kev dragged himself into his wheelchair from the ground was on a remote beach side campground near Exmouth in WA. He held a wheelie through sand, mastered a way to climb up and down flights of stairs by pulling his legs up behind him, dropped down steps and bumped up curbs like a kid on a BMX. We snorkeled on the Ningaloo in the West and the Great Barrier reef in the East, rode camels on Broome’s iconic Cable beach, forded monsoon swollen rivers, marveled at the abundance of flies and the malicious heat of the desert, ate beer-battered reef fish seasoned with sand and washed down with cold beer. Kev learned to swim and set up a tent from a chair, but most importantly, he learned to accept and to laugh at his disability. We talked about what we had lost and held precious what we retained. We learned to understand Kev’s actual limitations instead of accepting other people’s perceived limitations. We realized that although it sucked that the accident happened, it was not the end of everything as we’d initially feared. And somewhere along the way, we became less afraid and could finally see a future together. Emma White’s memoir “Broken ” is published by Melbourne Books and her blog can be found here.

Enock Glidden

Rock Climbing With Spina Bifida

I was born with spina bifida, which left me unable to move my legs. I have used a wheelchair as my mode of transportation my whole life. I lived in the woods in northern Maine, so I spent a lot of my growing-up years in the outdoors, either hunting and fishing with my dad or just being in the woods around our home. When I entered junior high, I met a man who would influence the rest of my life  — my Phys. Ed. teacher Bob Dyer. He was the first person to really push me to go beyond the fence and test my limits. One of the first things he said to me was “How many push-ups can you do?” He suggested 20, so I did 40. I think that was my first mistake, and also the best thing I could have done. I set the bar a little too high, and he expected that from me from then on out. He made sure I was involved in as many activities as possible, even taking a week each year to take me skiing at Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation. It was definitely Mr. Dyer who started me on a life of adventure. About 5 years ago, when I would see a friend of mine, Nick Hall, post pictures of his adventures online, I started to think about the possibilities of bigger adventures. He was a ranger at Mt. Rainier, and unfortunately lost his life while performing his duties during a rescue mission. After this tragic event, I decided I wanted to try to find a way to be able to witness the views he had seen atop Rainier for myself. I knew that Mark Wellman had been the first paraplegic to climb El Capitan in 1989, but I hadn’t seen much about climbing since reading about his attempt. I decided to do some research and found an organization called Paradox Sports. Paradox Sports is an organization that empowers people of all abilities to rock and ice climb, among other sports. I noticed they were doing a rock climbing event in the Shawagunk Mountains that October, and I signed up. During the Gunks event I met a bunch of amazing like-minded adventuresome people, whose only mission was to make it possible for other people to enjoy adventure too. I immediately knew this was the group for me. I was able to learn a lot of techniques for sit climbing that weekend from Sean O’ Neill, an accomplished sit climber, who is now a great friend. I also gained a wealth of knowledge from the able-bodied guides who helped put on the event, including Nate McKenzie and Gary Dunn. They both continue to push and inspire me to greater endeavors. I found out that weekend that Sean lived an hour from me, and have been learning from him ever since. I have been back to the Gunks for this event the last 3 years and will be attending again this year. I have done one other climb with the help of Nate McKenzie, Betsy Smith and Alan Kline. They enabled me to climb Book of Solemnity route on Cathedral Ledge in North Conway, NH by setting ropes and managing all the safety for me while I did pull up after pull up. It took most of the day but I eventually reached the top of my first multi pitch climb. That climb really sealed my passion for the challenge of rock climbing. Looking up at the summit and down at where I had been started a fire in me that made me crave challenge. I find I am most happy when struggling to push myself to a goal that might seem unattainable, but when attained gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment of anything I have ever done. Follow this journey on Go Beyond the Fence. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .