Running Away & Escape

"I just need to get out of here!"


Are My Feelings Normal?

Everybody goes through times when they feel like they need to take a break from things or press “pause” on their life. Taking time away from a situation when you need it is a normal and healthy thing. Usually, taking a break helps you to feel better and lets you come back to the situation feeling ready to deal with and get on with things.


Should I be Worried?

If taking a break doesn’t seem to help and you find yourself wanting to escape from your life on a regular basis, this can be a sign that something is very wrong.


You might be doing things like:

  • Running away
  • Drinking alcohol or using drugs [see: alcohol and drugs]
  • Trying to change or hide who you are so people will accept or respect you (e. g. by trying to act tough or like a bully so others won’t hurt you; by pretending to be straight when you are gay or lesbian;)
  • Taking unhealthy risks or doing things that you normally wouldn’t do to feel better about your life (e. g. by  doing stunts for an “adrenaline rush”; by having (unprotected) sex with multiple partners)
  • Spending most of your time in virtual or fantasy worlds to get away from your life (e. g. video games, virtual reality sites, internet)


Sometimes things feel so bad that it seems the only answer is to run away. But, running away can often make things worse in the long run. It doesn’t help you deal with the situation, and problems have a way of following you. But, there may be situations that you are dealing with at home or at school that you shouldn’t have to deal with, like people hurting you, putting you down, or not treating you like they should. If any of these things is happening to you, there are people and places that can help. People in your life should treat you with respect, caring and love. If they don’t, then it may be time to talk to people who can help.


 If things are fine at home but you are having problems at school or with your peers,  you may try to “escape” or cope in other ways. You might try to escape your life by hiding who you really are behind someone “fake”. Or, you might stay at home most of the time to avoid being around other people [see: anxiety; depression]. You might drink or use drugs to be like your peers and feel more accepted. Or, you might use drugs or alcohol as a way to forget about your problems. But, the “buzz” or high always wears off and you will find that your problems haven’t gone away. Trying to escape your problems or gain acceptance through risky behavior might feel good in the moment, but afterwards, you might feel regretful and even worse about yourself.


Tips for Prevention and Wellness

If someone at home or at school (like your parent, family member, or teacher) is hurting you in some way, this is NOT okay and is called ABUSE. If you are being hurt, neglected (not taken care of) or touched in sexual ways by an adult in your life, you should tell someone right away. Being called names, put down or yelled at all the time is not okay either. There are healthy ways to cope with these feelings and ways to get help.


*If any of these things is happening to you and you are under the age of 16, you can call the Peel Children’s Aid Society or talk to a trusted adult for help. Children’s Aid helps protect young people from being hurt and abused.


*If you are over 16, you can call the police or talk to someone, like a counselor or social worker at school, to help you figure out what to do. No one has the to right to hurt you.


*If you are over age 16 and you feel like there is no way you can stay at home because you are being hurt or treated badly, or you can’t get along with your parents and have been told to leave home, there are safe places you can go. You can contact the R. A. I. N. program to get help with finding a new place to live and getting a job or financial assistance to help support yourself. There is also an emergency shelter you can go to in Peel if you have to leave home right away, called Our Place Peel (see the Resources section for more information).


*If things are getting rough at home, it’s okay to take a break from the situation. Take a “time out”, call a crisis line, or if things are really bad, ask to stay at another family member or friend’s house for a while. Sometimes time away can help you see things clearly and figure out what to do next. Talking to a counselor can also help to get your communication with your family back on track.


*If you are stressed about school work, talk to your parents and teacher. There may be reasons you are having trouble and there may be things they can do to help. If you are having problems with your teacher, talk to your parents and/or your school principal or vice-principal about it.


*If you are having trouble with your peers or boyfriend/girlfriend, then talking about it might help. Remember that the people in your life should make you feel good about yourself and should not hurt you. If someone has hurt you in some way, talk to someone who can listen and help, like your school counselor or social worker.


*If you feel like you don’t fit in with the people around you, look for people you do fit with. Although it’s hard to feel or be different, people who will judge or reject you for being who you are are not worth having in your life. Look for ways to connect with people who have the same interests as you—do an internet search or ask around at school to find out about clubs and groups that interest you and try them out!


Focus on the things you are good at and give yourself the chance to show people what you have to offer! Try something new or take a risk by talking to new people. Take the time to focus on your goals and ambitions. Don’t hide behind a computer screen—get out there and let people see who and what you really are. There are people out there who will like you for you.

The bottom line is, if things aren’t getting better and you continue to feel like you need to escape your life, it may be time to try to fix the things in your life that are making you feel that way. Start by changing some of the things that you have control over, and get help with things you don’t. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and to ask for help when you need it.


Click here for Resources