Why I Let Myself Run Away From My Problems
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Health and Wellness

Why I Let Myself Run Away From My Problems

How I use escapism as a coping mechanism.

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Why I Let Myself Run Away From My Problems
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I’m a runner. I don’t mean tying up my sneakers and then pounding the pavement to Yeezy, although that’s also therapeutic. I mean, when the going gets tough, when there’s an unpleasant feeling in my stomach that I can’t shake, and especially when there’s a certain someone I’m trying to avoid, I run. I ditch town. I leave. I escape as quickly and spontaneously as possible, to as far away a destination as I can manage. I remove myself from the situation and give myself physical distance.

I don’t know why this is my automatic reflex, but time and time again I can recount easing into the cathartic feeling of literally running away from your problems, whether it be down a highway or at an airport gate or just down the road at a friends house – there’s this relief that comes with dodging the impending doom of facing reality.

Part of me thinks that I rely on this because of pure animal instinct. When there’s danger, you get a fight or flight reaction. Somehow I’ve grown to feel safer on a bus in Chicago, or a plane to Germany, or a train to Amsterdam, or the highway to Savannah, or the sidewalk to a house down the road, then I have in the supposed comfort of being a sitting duck. I would turn to reading or getting lost in an album – anything to get out of the daunting present. Maybe it’s from traveling at such a young age that I’ve grown accustomed to leaving, whether you’ve dealt with your problems or not. Whether it’s nature or nurture, it’s ingrained and hard to shake. But the real question is: should I?

One side of me says yes. Absolutely. You are addicted to escapism and you use it as a coping mechanism. The most childish parts of me snicker at the fabricated attention – these are the parts that I’m not proud of mind you. But the more vast parts of me tell me that I’m doing this out of fear. I can’t manage to face monsters I’ve created, demons I’ve found, and mistakes I’ve made. These parts tell me that I’m a coward.

But then I stop myself. I ask: why does this help? This doesn’t make the problem go away. It doesn’t make it any more manageable then before. It doesn’t even buy you time necessarily – in some cases it even wastes time. In worse cases, it makes others involved very upset. I can’t blame those people. They have every right to feel abandoned because that’s exactly what I’ve done. Now we get down to the root of the problem: I don’t just run physically anymore – I run emotionally and intellectually as well. I distance myself with apathy or self-pity. I do myself, and everyone around me a disservice when I do this.

But here is what I find most interesting, and why I sometimes allow myself to run: Beyond it feeling good, it puts everything into perspective. It reminds me that the world keeps turning, that lives go on. I remember that are places and times that are so far removed from my petty problems and it humbles me. I distract myself for a few hours and realize that I do have the courage or the motivation to do what I need to. I haven’t always been this valiant in my efforts, but since I’ve found why escapism works for me, I’ve made it work for me – and not let it swallow me up.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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