Flight risk

As I can’t afford therapy, I often self-analyse why I am the weird way I am … as opposed to the weird way other people are … we’re all weird in our own special ways.

Most recently I’ve been contemplating the intense and pressing urge I often feel to run away.

It surged again yesterday when the eldest informed me they were having stomach cramps and weren’t well enough to go to school. AGAIN.

The feeling was boosted by discovering the youngest’s Thermos in their bedroom with the five-day-old remnants of spag bol still inside.

I had a therapeutic sob in the shower because you can’t run away when you are a single mum. You have to stay and write a late note for the eldest in the hope they will rally and go to school later in the day.

(They didn’t.)

As I drove gloomily to work I realised I’ve been struggling with this stress response for most of my life.

I’ve interacted with Dr Google about it, who confirmed it’s an actual condition.

It’s an anxiety symptom, which makes you feel a sudden and unexplainable urge to escape, run away, or depart the situation, circumstance, or environment you are currently in as fast as you can.

A lot of people have it instead of panic attacks.

According to the Anxiety Centre: “This sudden urge to escape or run away feeling can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel a sudden urge to escape and run away once in a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.”

It’s connected to the body’s fight or flight response. In my case it manifests as feeling trapped and cornered.

From a very young age even things like being hugged would trigger it. I’ve slowly made my peace with the hugging thing, although I still feel a rising sense of panic if people want to hug me tightly for too long – a bit like Pepe le Pew’s reluctant cat friend Penelope.

At certain times in my life – and this is going to sound really whacked – I’ve even considered whether some sort of serious medical issue might be a relief from the feeling because I could hide in a hospital bed for a while. The rational me knows that’s NOT a good solution!

I reckon it was even a factor in me moving overseas twice. I felt the most incredible wave of relief when I hopped on a plane to Singapore and ran away from my life for two years.

I had the same feeling when I departed my career issues for a brief life change in New York.

And I’m pretty sure it’s why I usually move house every five years. I feel this intense need to MOVE start to grow inside me. I obsessively search domain.com.au and do endless real estate plotting.

I have the five-year itch right now, as I’ve been at my current abode for almost that long.

Fortunately my pragmatism is stronger than my panic.

I’ve given it a lot of thought and decided that downsizing in my current location isn’t possible.

Even three-bedroom units around my way aren’t much cheaper than my house.

Once I factor in the stamp duty and the costs involved in getting the house ready for sale I start going out backwards.

Also, as I work full time, I need to live somewhere convenient for the kids – it would be too hard for them to get to school and after-school activities if I moved out of the area to somewhere cheaper.

But what I really want to do is RUN.

Do you ever feel that way?

Since I can’t run, I will stay and fight the feeling. I am strong. I know that the good in my life outweighs the bad. And while there’s tough stuff to overcome, it will not beat me.

Song of the day: Kate Bush “Running up that hill”


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