I Like to Run…Away…

As I write this and post it, I am also packing my bags…for another work trip. This makes five out of the past six weeks where I have had at least one night away from home.  While there are times that this gets tedious, the spring is a good time for it to happen because I get the urge to be on the go this time of year anyway.

I struggle with bipolar illness…and spring is a “go” time for me.

By “go” time, I mean I feel the urge to run away. I currently credit it to a manic phase brought on by the change in sunlight.  After being underground in the winter doldrums, the light comes out, stimulates my brain, and sends me soaring.  When I soar, I often feel as though I am in constant motion even though I appear to be still to everyone else.  This is the time when I tend to hear those internal voices that criticize and pester.

And one of those voices says to run…away…

Go. Leave. You are not worthy of the family you have. You do not deserve the life you have. You have to get out of here. You can’t handle this.  What if they (by the way – who is they???) find out what happens in your head? It’s all going to start to unravel sometime; you should just go before you have to deal with that.  What if you can’t pull off what you say you can? How are you ever going to parent/be-a-wife/be-a-pastor’s wife/ do a good job at work? Look at yourself. Listen to me. Run…

I hatched my first runaway plan the summer after I was in the fifth or sixth grade.  Because my parents were divorced when I was quite young, I grew up with my mom and (adopted) dad in North Dakota but spent portions of many summers visiting my biological father and his family on the East Coast.  I have many great memories of those summers, and I prefer to dwell on those; however, on one of those trips things did not go so well at my bio-dad’s house, and I felt the urge to run away.

Facing the situation no longer seemed like a good option, and I wanted to get out.

Running away is not a great idea for me – a wife, mother of two, dean of students at an online high school.  There are loves that would be hurt and jobs that would be jeopardized.I could detail the times that I have run away, but they are not the point of this post.  The point what do we do about this?  I know that I am not the only who feels these tendencies.


It is also not a healthy way to live!

But there is a push from inside, a physical need to go, and the fear of something that cannot be named or is not even real, and the voice gets very loud.  My head noise becomes overwhelming, and running – even a planned run like a work trip – seems like a good answer to help quiet it.

But it is not.

Running away never solves anything.  I still have to come back, and whatever was pushing me out the door (usually my own psychology) greets me upon my return.

I want to be clear: this is not a real voice.

My voices do not have names, they are not multiple personalities nor are they schizophrenic hallucinations that I see.  Rather they are an internal voice that I believe many of us have (I was reassured of that last night when I attended an event at the Art House North where Al Andrews, a counselor from Nashville, talked about this very concept!).

Telling someone else (safe) about the urge to run now usually quiets the voice.Telling the wrong person can cause the urge to increase.  As Al said last night, finding a safe community of people who can speak positively into our lives and balance these voices of the “inner critic” is so important.

This week has been a run time for me. There is not a trigger that I can figure out except that the snow is gone, the sun is out, and work has some stresses. How timely that the event at Art House North happened last night – it was exactly what I needed at that moment.  The tears that flowed down my face for the entire event proved that.

As I made my way to the event via the mall yesterday, I texted two friends and “vocalized” that my head was not doing well.  One responded with an offer to give me her voice to drown out the others.

… (just let that sink in for a minute…)

We need to be these positive voices for each other, and we – as hearers of the destructive voices – need to find those safe places where we can say these awful things out loud so that they no longer hold any power over us.  We name them, we claim truth against them, and we disable the power they have against us.  If you are a Christ follower, there are even more TRUTHS that you can cling to in order to combat these lies that we believe.

And then – maybe – we will stop running away…from ourselves…

This post is part of a brave blogging link-up that’s part of Liv Lane’s How To Build a Blog You Truly Love ecourse. As a participant, I was challenged to step outside my comfort zone and share something with you that felt especially brave. You can see what others have written by clicking here. (insert the link http://blog.livlane.com/2013/05/brave-2013)


Filed under health, Relationships, Thoughts

41 responses to “I Like to Run…Away…

  1. tressiedavis

    Beautifully stated. Here’s to making the positive voices strong and heard ❤


  2. Penny Korkki

    I hope to always be a positive “voice” in your life. Please know, that your candid posts continue do much to heal my own heart, having lived with the mysteries of bi-polar disorder in my own family.


  3. So brave and so necessary. Thank you – I love the part of about your friend offering her voice to drown out the others. An example of walking beside someone. Thank you Stacy!


    • Thank you for commenting, Marilyn! It was, indeed, a ‘brave’ post…very scary to be this honest. My head is such a scary place sometimes…


  4. Helen Martin

    You are amazing. I’m very thankful that you are my friend. I need you to stay.


  5. formerinvisablewife

    Hi Stacy. Thanks for explaining what goes on in the head of someone who wants to run away. It is reassuring as someone who has been run away from, that it likely isn’t me they are running away from. I wish this person was brave enough like you to reach out to someone, anyone to help quiet the voices.
    My voices tell me to hunker down and stay.


    • The thing that is so hard is to distinguish the TRUTH in the voices which is why we have to talk to someone and find out what is TRUTH. The voices keep having power over us when we let them stay in our head rather than naming them and getting them out. I wish the same for your person…and know that it is rarely someone that we run from but ourselves. The problem is the we always go with us. I could run all day, all week, all year – I would never get away from what is actually chasing me – my inner critic who won’t shut up.


  6. Stacy, this is so true and powerful:

    Everyone has some variation on that inner critic voice. Love this message.

    As for the running away impulse, as someone who used to be suicidal (the ultimate run-away!), I totally get it. Sometimes being in our bodies and lives is hard as heck. Feels too hard, too much.

    Lots of love and sisterhood as you keep on finding your way to peace with all of yourself. Thanks so much for sharing.



    • The quote I was referring to as “so true and powerful” didn’t show up for some reason. It was: “We need to be these positive voices for each other, and we – as hearers of the destructive voices – need to find those safe places where we can say these awful things out loud so that they no longer hold any power over us.”


  7. Stacy, how timely for the Al Andrews talk. I admire the honesty and braveness of this post. Sending you buckets of strength in your quest to quiet the inner voices and unleash the positive ones.


  8. Your words are so wise and true. I think we all (whether we admit it or not) feel like running sometimes. What a beautiful way you have chosen to cope with your reality. I loved reading your post.


    • I would agree with you – “whether we admit it or not.” My husband has said that many times…I am not unique. Thank you for your encouragement!


  9. Stacy ~ Thanks for giving a voice to these mental health issues so many of us deal with and are often scared to admit. We’re often scared to reach out to others when, as you wrote, that is the thing that can often help us the most. Beautiful post.


  10. Dear Stacy who wants to run away. Thank you for staying. Thank you for your writing. Brave writing.

    “When I soar, I often feel as though I am in constant motion even though I appear to be still to everyone else.” First, I’m reminded of duality, and in this case soaring in a way that is not helpful. Then these powerful words, “I am in constant motion even though I appear still.” It sums up what I’ve heard a friend describe as her bipolar experience. I’ll share your blog with her. Your willingness to write open and with honesty is a gift. Warm wishes, xo


    • Your welcome, but thank you! Such kind words…


    • Susan – I cannot tell you how the first line of your response cut to my heart…so much so that I could not reply in full until today. I think the reality of how I was feeling earlier this week was put into that post. It was so raw. And then so was our reply. Your addressing the part of me who wants to run away actually helped to realize that, though she is part of me, she is not all of me…and I can address her in that way too.

      So grateful.


  11. Erin's

    A very brave post. As we say down here, “good on ya!”


  12. Stacy, a beautiful and brave post! I’m not bi-polar, but I can relate to the voices, and have only lately been able to turn them off/push them away at times. How great that you have people in your life you can talk about this too, and that it seems to help. I love the peaceful look of your blog!



  13. Lindsey

    So honest and exactly what others have told me about bipolar. You are helping a lot of people by sharing your truth and internal struggle. Thanks.


  14. Authentic and brave post! I cannot tell you the number of times when I was down I actually thought, “What would happen if I jumped on the nearest freeway and drove as far as the gas in my car would take me.” It is hard to stand and not run. I am inspired by your bravery!


    • The gas in my car only takes me about 360 miles. And then what? Haha! Glad I am not the only one with these thoughts…and glad that my writing of it can speak a bit into the lives of others. We are not alone…


  15. My “name-friend” as you termed us! Yes, we are alike in more than name. Reading your post made me wonder how in the world you got into MY head and wrote the voice telling me to go! One time I did ~ I packed up and moved completely across the country from GA to CA. It was crazy thinking, completely insane, but I so relate to what you’re saying. Thank you for sharing.


  16. What a brave post–thank you for sharing and reminding us how important it is to be positive voices for each other.


  17. Okay, AMAZINGLY brave, Stacy!! I love the part where your friend offered her voice; I have a friend who would do the same for me and I’m telling you, holy cow, I’m glad to have her in my life! Do you find writing therapeutic? I imagine as I’m reading your words that they may provide a different kind of escape for you…one that is very real, and helps in a different way. Regardless, I wish you all the best on your writing and blogging journey (heck, on your life journey!!)


    • Tara – thank you for your oh-so-supportive response to my post! I am blessed to have the friend in my life…she is one of many who provide a safety net of sorts for me. Each person has a different role; some do not even realize it (maybe they will if they read the comment sections). I do find writing therapeutic. I do not feel very confident in expressing myself verbally..something that many would find odd because I talk A LOT! Writing allows me to think, write, re-write, edit, and then press send. The escape is amazing as it takes so many of my thoughts out of my head and puts them down on “paper”…and in blogging, I get feedback. Thank you, again, for your comment! Visit again!


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