Get Me Outta Here

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic


What really happened to John Darwin? Source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Have you ever wanted to just get lost? Maybe there's a big reason... terrified of getting married? In over your head financially? Or maybe there's a small one... wiped out at the holiday party?* Accidentally kissed the mailman?** Whatever it is, there are times when we all want to just sink into the ground and disappear. For me, it generally has to do with falling down in public (to the endless amusement of those around me... I seem to fall in the strangest situations), but that burning embarrassment generally dissipates before I take any dramatic steps toward relocation. What about you? What's happened that's made you want to flee... and have you ever gone through with it? Did you go away for a day, a week, a month? A lifetime?

*That was me, this year. I'd just arrived, and made a plate of munchies, then slid on a small puddle on the granite floor. Carrots flew everywhere. Mortifying.
**That one was Barrie.



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Just after being Married and moving with my new wife to her hometown. I was working a job that I often got off late at night. The thought of driving past the exit to go to my house tempted me almost nightly. I grew out of that and chalk it up to me not adjusting to my surroundings and the changes in my life that well. Since, we have had two sons and I cannot wait to get home to see them.

Sent by Harvey Collier | 2:50 PM | 12-13-2007

I am the child of a parent who dissapeared many times in her life. If the ralationship or job was not going well she took us (My sister and I) to another state. I got married at 17 to a very stable 22 year old with a job and have been married 20 years now. I have just started seeing my mother in the last few years. I was angry at her for a long time. The lies she told about everything where more than I could take. When I came to the age that I could understand what she was all about, I left.

Sent by b | 2:51 PM | 12-13-2007

After 911 I had the overwhelming feeling of wanting to escape and just leave the planet. Waving goodbye and good luck to the human race. I knew that I couldn't, but that is really what I wanted to do. Still feel that sometimes.

Sent by John | 2:53 PM | 12-13-2007

My brother has a group of friends who he has been close with since High School. They partied together in HS, College and continued into there late 20s. Then around 1998 they all at the same time they all made a long distance moves. They didn't disappear but one when to CA, one to TX, one to Alaska and my brother to FL. They just felt they need to separate in order to grow up and get their own identities. They are still very close to this day, but just don't see each other every day. I'm wondering if the need to disappear is also a need to reinvent yourself.

Sent by teri fisher | 2:53 PM | 12-13-2007

When I was a child, growing up in L.A., a friend of my parents faked his disappearance in a rather dramatic fashion. He planted his eyeglasses with blood on them in his office. Evidently he was a gambler, and this was his way of getting out from under whatever wretched situation. He left his wife and two young children. I can't remember the exact circumstances under which he was found, but it was years later, and I think there was a young woman involved with him at that point. Quite scandalous in amongst a fairly affluent L.A. community.
It make you wonder about how many disappearances are false. I've been wondering about the millionaire (billionaire?) who recently disappeared in his plane. Perhaps a elaborate ruse?

Sent by Tracy Tingle | 2:55 PM | 12-13-2007

Regarding -- "Get Me Outta Here"

Dear Neal and Amy:

With this subject -- you are way over your heads!

The run-away-bride and other folks who have "run away" are facing issues that neither of you can address!

Actually, when I heard the into to this -- I thought WOW! this is just like the Today Show on NBC -- not news but Fluff!

Honestly, I am very, very shocked and disappointed in this segment!

The fact the the two of you are so good on your feet -- you came off without looking like idiots.

Sent by Georgean Johnson-Coffey | 3:04 PM | 12-13-2007

I was on my way home from work today and heard Talk of the Nation: Tales of disappearance with Amy Dickinson. I tried to call in but was unable to get through on the phone lines.

I am a 22 year old male who just recently graduated with my Masters of Education and am currently teaching high school science. I was surprised to hear what the other callers were saying as I thought I was unique. Although I have never acted upon the feelings, I often have the strong urge to get away from it all. Society, family, and my job all put stresses on me that have almost pushed me over the edge. I have joked in the past that I am just going to pick up and leave. I am going to go out into nature, ala Chris Mccandless, and never return. Now I know that his story did not have a happy ending...but he did ultimately succeed in escaping from society.
I was diagnosed with depression years ago and it has returned ever since I started my job teaching. One of the callers on the phone said that she felt like she didn't want to get out of bed in the morning to go to work. I feel the same way. I don't even want to go to bed at night because I know that as soon as I wake up in the morning I have to go to sleep. About a month ago my depression was at it's worst and the suicidal thoughts that had once plagued me returned. That was going to be my way of disappearing.
With some therapy I have come to grips with the stresses of teaching and the feeling of 'flight' has since waned.

More than anything the program taught me that this feeling of flight is actually not such a unique case...and to that I feel better.

Sent by Tom | 3:12 PM | 12-13-2007

I am writing to ask that you set the record straight. Amy Dickinson was just plain wrong when she commented that women who experience post partum depression may slip in to post partum psychosis. The feeling of wanting to leave is a common symptom of the hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and new stresses that new moms experience in a collection of perinatal mood disorders. According to Wendy Newhouse Davis, PhD, Board Member of Postpartum Support International, we need to distinguish the differences between these mood disorders,"MYTH:Postpartum mood disorders can be described as essentially one illness that exists on a continum of symptom severity. FACT:There are several perinatal mood disorders that need to be understood and treated differently. For example: Postpartum Obsessive-Cumpulsive Disorder (OCD) and Postpartum psychosis are separate conditions."
There are many resources and support groups for mothers who feel this anxiety reaction. Neal, let's provide correct information and hope to women who find themselves in this situation.
Kerri Smith Slingerland, MSW

Sent by Kerri Smith Slingerland,MSW | 7:21 PM | 12-13-2007

I see wave after wave of college students who are uninterested in what I have to teach them (composition & literature). At home, I see my role as being less and less appreciated. In between my home and the campus where I teach is the Detroit Metro airport. Every day I drive by I fantasize of parking the car in long-term parking, going to the front desk of Air France and asking, "When's the next flight to Paris?" But I don't, because I don't want to become my father.

People trying to understand this impulse ought to read Philip Larkin's "Poetry of Departures."

Sent by Peter | 11:28 PM | 12-13-2007

Please, please, please. Get Amy Dickinson off the show. Her half-baked responses are unforgivable. Why don't you get a qualified counselor or psychiatrist to join you for these segments? Since when does writing an advice column actually make you qualified to give advice?

Sent by J. Ryoku | 11:57 PM | 12-13-2007

Sometimes, flight is necessary for self-protection. I ran away from home as a teen to escape my verbally and physically abusive father, vowing that no one would ever treat me like that again. The clean break I made enabled me to restabilize and become a successful educator. It was the best move I ever made. Therefore, I have never regretted the "pain" caused my parents by my unknown whereabouts (they did find out and we met after three days. But I never went back.) and I have been playing the part of the dutiful daughter in their dotage. However, reports of my father's anger (now visited upon only my mother) reaffirm that certain types of disfunctional personalities and behaviors deserve a wide berth. We have to set personal limits to keep ourselves safe.

Sent by JO | 11:26 AM | 12-14-2007

This show would have been better with someone who was a qualified counselor who maybe even had a specialty in counseling people who do this sort of thing. I like Amy Dickinson's comments on other issues you have done - ones that have more to do with everyday social life - but she wasn't the appropriate person for this segment. I say this as a person who is married to someone with the cut-and-run reaction and has struggled to understand it and come to grips with it.

Sent by N.R. | 1:31 PM | 12-14-2007

When it becomes too familiar, too comfortable... the sock strangles the ankle. Spain. New England. PacNW. These have been my moves every time I think: what now?

I just read "The Rum Diaries" and Thompson nails it. That 20-somethings urgency, that hope for a brighter future, that naivete?? and wild-eyed romantic pursuit. We're chasing something, but we're not sure what it is... maybe Dean's California...

Sent by mb | 3:32 AM | 12-15-2007