Got to Get Away

After reading a news story about a woman who faked her abduction to take a trip to Disney World, the lyrics from “Tainted Love” kept running through my head:

Sometimes I feel I've got to
Run away I've got to
Get away

What else could motivate someone to call 911 to report her own carjacking and abduction, and then get on a plane to Orlando? Was she afraid to call in to work? Did she want a vacation without her husband and infant, and was afraid to ask?

Everyone has the desire to escape at one time or another. Most of us handle that desire by escaping in small doses, from watching television, engaging in creative hobbies, playing a sport, or participating in social networking sites. A little dose of escape from daily responsibilities, worries, or stresses is a healthy thing.

What is it about a situation that causes a desire to get away? According to Walter Cannon, any kind of stress causes a biological fight or flight response. When faced with frustration, the body gears up: the heart beats faster; breathing becomes more rapid and shallow; muscles tighten.

Sometimes we choose to fight. We confront the issue; we attempt to resolve it. In fact, any time the stressor can be dealt with and removed, we take care of it.

Some stressors are more complicated, such as those related to work or marriage. It wouldn’t make sense to walk away from something involving a long-term commitment the first time a problem arose. By doing so, you take the risk of missing out on the incredible benefits of a job (salary, etc.) or a relationship (love, etc.).

For some people the mode of escape may be more sinister than an innocent hobby. Escaping from relationships by avoiding them or shutting down your feelings can lead to an implosion of loneliness and fear. Mind altering methods of escape can take way inhibitions, leading to dangerous behavior. They can also be addicting and lead to a downward spiral of self-destruction. Faking your abduction for a little getaway can lead to jail time and a lot of ‘splaining to your family.

The moral of the story is to plan healthy little escapes and vacations to decompress from the stress that life brings. If you have to go to Disney World, use your vacation time, and take your whole family. Don’t tell the police you’re stuck in the trunk of a Cadillac. That will just increase your stress levels in the end.

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