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So You NEED to Get Away? Maybe Not.

That's it. I need to get away. Right now. Has that thought ever crossed your mind? It has for me. Usu
So You NEED to Get Away? Maybe Not.
That’s it. I need to get away. Right now.
Has that thought ever crossed your mind?
It has for me.
Usually the thought appears when I’m overwhelmed and can’t handle any more responsibilities in my life.
But what does “getting away” really mean?
And is it truly the answer?
Most likely not.
You may not like what I’m writing, but I promise you’ll get something out of it.

The Need to Get Away
I’ve always been a bit of a wanderer.
I’m most likely guilty of the “grass is always greener on the other side” phenomenon. I think that where I am can’t possibly be the best place in the world, that there have to be other places that are more exciting, more interesting, more whatever. And while it might be true that there are hundreds of locations that I enjoy when I spend time in them, not much is actually changing when I get away.
I’m still the same person. I still have the same core desires and dreams. And I still, for the most part, have the same mental, physical, and emotional resources wherever I am in the world, no matter how much I think a change of location will drastically change my life.
Sure, it’s entirely possible to collect new experiences in different parts of the world. And, yes, it’s completely plausible that there will be different kinds of people who will help me expand my worldview. But I find I can have new experiences and meet new people wherever I am in the world, even in my current community.
There’s something else at play when we feel the need to get away.
Let’s explore that now.
Getting Away From What?
It’s important to remember that “getting away” is not a permanent state. It’s a fleeting moment, a powerful emotion that can overwhelm your rational state of being.
When you think, I need to get away from everything, you always need to consider one thing: Get away from what? There would be no desire to get away if something overwhelming were not currently occurring in your present situation.

Before you make a rash decision to physically go somewhere else, you have to ask yourself as many questions as you can
Questions like:
  1. Why do I need to get away? What actually is going on?
  2. What’s out there that I can’t find right here? Is that really true?
  3. Am I doing everything I can to deal with what’s in front of me?
  4. What’s to say my problems won’t follow me when I “get away?”
I think you’re starting to get the point. Getting away is running away from questions more than anything else. It’s a dismissal of reality to shape a new reality.
This isn’t always bad. A change in scenery can produce a much-needed change in mindset. But when you feel the need to get away from it all, it’s usually because you’re not doing the important work that is right in front of you–the work that is yours and yours alone.
Doing the Work in Front of You
So what is it? What is it that you aren’t acknowledging? What’s at the heart of your sudden need to escape?
The next time the need to get away pops up, I want you to claim it. I want you to own the feelings and thoughts that you’re having. There’s something in front of you that is trying to get your attention. Getting away hardly ever leads to a permanent change. You could alter your position and still run into a new set of issues somewhere else. Changing your surroundings may change you, but what if they produce a new host of questions that simply add on to the questions that you left unresolved when you escaped in the first place?
Doing the work in front of you is the only way to address what’s going on
Consider what you’re feeling when you want to get away from it all. Are you scared? Overwhelmed? Extremely anxious? These are all signs. They’re telling you something. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. In fact, pushing something into the background usually just makes it come back with a vengeance.
But if you start to consider what’s in front of you not as a threat to be escaped, but as a challenge to be overcome, your mindset will shift. And with a stronger mindset, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are. You’ll see things in a new light. A bright light.
Because “getting away” is a temporary feeling.
Doing the work in front of you and strengthening your mindset leads to long-term resilience and success.

It’s only natural to want to push away uncomfortable feelings and experiences, to escape everything by any means necessary. It can require a tremendous amount of courage to stay put and face what you’re dealing with. But I’ve found that it’s worth the effort. Go easy an yourself, though. And reach out to me or to others if you need help.

With respect and admiration,

P.S. What do you think of The Mental Health Update? I’d love to hear from you to know if I’m sending you the type of content you want to read. No feedback is bad feedback! Just reply and type (or tap) your heart away.

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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

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