I remember the first time I ran away.
I was probably around six years of age, I have absolutely no idea or recollection of what had me so annoyed that I was running away from home but I packed a bag (favourite Barbie and a pair of pj’s probably) and away I went. I made it the whole way to the garden shed. I sat there out of sight for what felt like hours but the reality was probably around 40 minutes! I probably got hungry or thirsty and made my way back to the house. (It was a pretty big garden and the shed could not been seen from any of the windows in the house!!)
When I was a teenager I was running away every other week. At least once I made
It to the bus station in the city centre of Dublin. Full of teenage angst, hormones and despair I swore I would never go home. In some moments I really meant it, but thankfully I always ended up back at home in my own bed.
When I was a teenage girl I experimented in almost anything that was offered to me. Quite possibly a cocktail of peer pressure, curiosity and a deep desire to escape my feelings led to cocktails of drugs, alcohol and unhealthy relationship choices. I got into very dangerous situations and thank goodness something had my back and kept me safe. Call it the Universe, call it God, Devine energy, the name doesn’t matter but something had my back.
The gratitude I have to be safe and well is abundant as I had friends who made similar choices and ended up on much darker paths.
Substance abuse and addictions of all kinds are often referred to as escapes. Escaping, running away. All the same really isn’t it.
I was definitely trying to escape when I was a teenager. Escape grief, escape my feelings and escape life as I knew it.
These escapes we seek are often attractive as they have a tendency to numb something. Behind most addiction is pain. Behind wreckless behaviour is pain. Behind many anxieties are pain. Pain does what it says on the tin, it hurts. Who wouldn’t want to run away from that?
The thing is though numbing something is just a short term fix. It’s like treating a symptom but not addressing the cause. In my experience so far almost everything in this world has it’s place, therapies, plant medicines, pharmaceuticals too.
No matter what way we decide to try to escape our pain, be it sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, the list goes on, the one thing we can never do is escape ourselves. No matter who where or what we run to we will always bring ourselves with us.
In the wise words of Greenday ‘my shadow’s the only one that walks beside me’
We can’t run away forever. We can seek support, help and guidance from others but if we really want to ‘escape the pain’ we have got to do the complete opposite. Expecting others to ‘fix’ us is just finding escape in a person rather than a thing. The work has to be done on and by ourselves. We have to feel the pain.The shadow. The darkness. Feel the hurt and the pain. We can never run from ourselves, so as they say ‘ya got to feel it to heal it, it has to hurt if it’s to heal’
We have to get very uncomfortable, but as we know this is how we heal and grow.
The biggest secret many of us take so long to realise is the power within us. We can heal. We have no real limits. I no longer wish to escape myself. In fact the opposite. I wish to know myself deeper than ever, the good the bad and the beautiful.
Lots of Love, Bev xxxx