Wednesday, 7 October 2015

When you feel like running away.

Quite often with mood disorders, whether they be PMDD, Bipolar or Panic disorder there is an overwhelming compulsion to run away, and it has very serious implications for the sufferer. When I began writing 'I blame the Hormones', my own issues were so serious that I was running away regularly, often several times a month, and it  left my family confused and terrified as they worried for my safety and state of mind. In actual fact, looking at my history, from a very young age I was often bailing out when the going got tough. This is what psychologists call 'a life long coping pattern' with my 'flight or flight ' system highly activated through no fault of my own.

So what exactly was I running away from? And why does this happen so often? Why are so many of us feeling the need to run away?

Speaking to many sufferers, mostly women, but also rarely some men, I'm kind of figuring it out  and there's often a common theme amongst us, and that is, the dreaded 'mental chatter'. Here's a scene which I remember, have documented in my book, and is all too common with us sufferers.

A normal evening in my home is where I'm cooking dinner and I'm in the chatter zone with a relentless dialogue and commentary in my head. I'm pre-menstrual and every sound is heightened, magnified even, and it is continuously interrupting my train of thought. As it builds, I hold my ears closed as it is now becoming a physical pain. Gradually I start to feel suffocated, claustrophobic and almost immediately everything is out of control. The door knocks, the phones are ringing, the children are asking me questions and I am keyed up, on edge and ready to blow! The life sounds around me are too much, my breathing is shallow and I begin to tremble.  Now, we've all had those scenarios, but the situation is different if you have an emotional disorder because its now magnified ten-fold, actually twenty-fold.
The mental chatter has now become an incessant dialogue of judgment, likes, dislikes and sheer rage at the outside world. Hatred fills every fibre of my being and I feel physical violence and an outburst is brewing. Recovery for me is now too late and I know it, as my body fills with adrenaline and cortisol.  The thoughts are now speeding up, getting faster and faster and my head is filled with tension which is now reacting with my body. In fact I am no longer in the room at all as I am fully engaged with what is going on in my mind with an onslaught of mental movies even, and a tremendous sense of impending doom. I simply have to get out and that is that, I run away, out into the cold and I don't ever want to come back.

 Sound familiar?

As we know, for every one of us that has the feeling of running away, there are actually many more that do, with the feeling simply overtaking  and leaving little room for the repercussions. The impulse is there, it has been taken, and there is freedom from the persecution which your own mind has created.

Once out of the situation, the feeling continues for some time, leaving you with a crushing sense of remorse and guilt. Self-blame and unhappiness prevail as you contemplate a life with an illness out of your control. It truly is a terrible fate with origins sometimes stemming from childhood, stress, hormones, sometimes tragic life events and often clinical depression.
 It is also extremely common with forums and helplines inundated with people needing to run away. Remember you are not alone, and I know just how awful this situation can be.


Quite often when I was extremely poorly I would be running away to end it all ,and it is my belief that is what drives people to suicide with an overriding compulsion to put an end to the situation  that they are in. In hindsight, I was simply running away from myself, as once  I was out of my dismal situation, I would sit in the car and think 'well what do I do now then?The feeling has abated, but its still there really, I just don't feel so overwhelmed!  I'm still having the life-long battle with my own tortured self  but I just needed to get away, I need to be 'quiet'. I need so much to be alone.

I need this silence.

With my own disorder in particular, I have learnt that female hormones cannot possibly metabolize in the presence of adrenaline and cortisol, so I really was in a situation out of my control. There was no possible way of recovery unless I had the silence and tranquillity needed, and I would urge any sufferers to do the same. It does and will pass if you allow yourself the space and room to breathe  and gather you're thoughts, a quiet room for example. If you don't find that space, the sensory overload will trigger your fight or flight and the battle is lost as you escape anyway!
 For those that don't suffer, until you have felt the overwhelming need and urge to run away, you can never comprehend it. It may even seem childish to you, selfish even, like a kind of childish tantrum that is impossible to understand. Well I can assure you it really is the most awful of situation, with no way out except the golden respite of silence. Judgment and ridicule will only lead to further remorse and guilt, with a possible exacerbation of symptoms, including insomnia and further depression. Family conflict will never be far away from the runner, and is often greatly misunderstood by those that are left behind.

To help your own feelings of fight or flight. I would recommend that you read 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle, which has helped me 'still' my mind enormously. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he does explain how and why our minds have become so jumbled as we live in either the past or the future but never the present. This can lead to physical and emotional illness as our thoughts overwhelm us.

Don't forget to order your copy of my book 'I blame the Hormones' which explains perfectly why I needed to run away from it all and how I overcame it. The silence I've yearned for has finally arrived and it truly is amazing! You can download on PC, Smartphone, Kindle or I-pad and this powerful memoir could even save a life.

Blessings as usual.
Suzi, AKA Caroline Church.