Escape! I Want To Run Away From Home
Have you ever wanted to escape, just run away–to hide where no one can find you? Have you ever felt so overwhelmed you just couldn’t face the week? I feel like that this week.
Running Away From Home, Escape
When I was little I used to run away from home–a lot. I can only remember one time I actually left the house. I carried my old cardboard suitcase that was as big as me. In it I packed all the underwear from my drawer ( I knew clean underwear was important!) and a box of Cheerios. My plan was to walk to my grandmother’s house. Of course my grandmother lived 50 miles away, but no matter. Distance was a hazy concept at the time. Most of the time, I simply packed, shoved my suitcase under my bed and wrote very dramatic notes. Probably similar to this one.
This may have had a lot to do with being an only child for so long–no siblings to fight with. I do remember the one time I actually left, my mom laughed. I think my running-away plans were a source of levity to my parents. I don’t think they thought I was much of a flight risk.
Yesterday, my husband and I were discussing the week ahead. Some events are looming we both dread. A friend offered to stay with my parents for an afternoon or evening so we could go out to dinner or a movie. I relayed the offer to my husband and he said, “Do we have to come back?”
I’m an adult now, and I realize running away is a fantasy. We can never really run away. I guess some people do, or try to, but responsibilities and your past have a way of sticking to you. There are ways we can “run away” that are healthy. I think the proper term is coping behaviors, but I’m not an expert.
Healthy ways of “running away”:
- Take a walk, go to the gym or find an exercise you enjoy
- Get lost in a good book, you can be anywhere or anyone for a few hours in a book
- Watch a favorite movie, have a good laugh or a good cry, both release endorphins, which are good stress busters
- Plan something to look forward to, make a date with a friend for lunch, a museum trip or a play you’ve wanted to see
- If you really can’t get away physically even for a few hours, plan a trip you want to take when your life permits–this phase of your life won’t last forever. Dream big, have you always wanted to go to Europe, the South Pacific, Antarctica? Go online and map your route. Where will you stay? What will you see?
- Learn a new craft or spend a few hours on one you enjoy. I like doing hand embroidery. There is something about the tactile nature of it I find soothing.
- Call a friend who is “safe”, one who will listen, not judge and not try to fix you or your circumstances. There is a place for advice and counsel but I’m talking emotional release, a safe place to vent.
- Get a massage, a manicure, or pedicure. (After my daughter was killed, a counselor recommended I get a massage. I did and spent the entire time weeping. Not sobbing out loud but tears just flowed. I’m not sure why but I know I felt better afterwards. Thankfully the massage therapist understood.)
- Get a hug. There is something about physical touch that is healing. Let a friend, a family member or spouse know you need a hug or a hand to hold, not metaphorically but literally.
When It’s Time to Get Help
There are times when we feel totally overwhelmed and coping mechanisms are not helping. If that’s the case, it’s time to call the doctor. Sometimes we need some professional counseling, maybe even medication for a time. Serious depression isn’t something to ignore. It isn’t weakness to take care of ourselves. Some people have more resiliency than others and it’s OK. My husband has always had more than I do. If you find yourself having suicidal thoughts, get help. Don’t wait. You can’t help your loved one if you have nothing left to give. If our cup isn’t filled up, it becomes empty. No one can constantly give without being filled up again.
Here are links to some articles which might be helpful.
or a previous post on resiliency https://www.llyarborough.com/2017/08/16/developing-resiliency/
Have a good caregiving day,