Depression: Coping With The Urge To Run Away

When we have depression, we sometimes feel like we want to run away from everything. Life can feel overwhelming and claustrophobic. Leaving it all behind and starting from scratch can seem very appealing.

But running away from everything isn’t usually an option – or the answer. In this post we share some ideas on how to manage the feelings of wanting to run away, without actually doing so.

Depression Coping With the Urge to Run Away

An Impossible Dream

As much as we might long to run away and leave ‘all this’ behind, it’s bit of an impossible dream. Although people and places can contribute to depression, they are unlikely to be the only factor. Even if we did pack up our lives and move to the sea, it’s likely that depression would come along as an uninvited guest.

What are you running from?

When we get the urge to run away, there’s usually something we’re trying to run from. If we can work out what that thing is, we can do something about it.

For example, if our job is making us miserable – could we begin to look at moving jobs? If we’re arguing with our partner – could we investigate couple’s counselling? If our we’re feeling bored or trapped – could we make our day-to-day more exciting?

Most dissatisfactions in our lives are somewhat fixable, or can at least be improved. And once we address our issues, the call to run away should reduce.

Are you peopled out?

Sometimes when we spend too much time around too many people, it can feel overwhelming. Our heads get too full, we can’t think clearly, we need to escape and be alone.

Taking time to recharge is massively beneficial. We should do this in whatever way works best for us. We might like to go on a walk, alone, somewhere quiet. Or we might want to shut ourselves in our room and craft, or read, or watch TV.

Sometimes, we need that time to step back, take a deep breath, and have a bit of time to ourselves.

Have a clear out

When life feels overwhelming and ‘too much’, having a big clear out can help. It’s very easy to let stuff build up and as well as filling up our living space, it can fill up our minds. It can reach the point where we need to get away from it all.

Having a really good, ruthless, clear out, can be like a breath of fresh air. Decluttering can really boost our mood. We could also try tidying up and cleaning our living spaces, or tackling that pile of paperwork that’s been nagging at us. Sitting in a clearer space can help to clear our minds.

Go on a day trip

We can’t run away from life forever, but we can run away for a day.

Going on a day trip away from our current reality, can sometimes be just what we need. We could take a trip to the beach, find some woods to stomp in, or go somewhere chilled out like a garden centre. We all have places we can visit where we can switch our brains off.

There is no shame in going alone, either. Sometimes taking ourselves on a solo trip is exactly what we need.


Go home

Sometimes, when we want to run away, what we need is a trip back home – whatever home might mean to us.

It might be the place we grew up, or the place we felt happiest in our lives. We might want to spend time with family or other loved ones. We might want to sit in a religious building we used to frequent, or go to the park we used to hang out in.

Sometimes heading back to a place that feels like ‘home’ can be just what we need.


Often the urge to run away is down to a longing to escape our current reality. But there are lots of ways that we can escape without physically running away.

Books can transport us to another world. If depression makes reading difficult, we could try audio books. Some of us might prefer to  play computer games or lose ourselves in a film; while others may get ‘lost’ in creative activities. We all have things that help us to escape from our heads for a little while: we might just need to try a few things before we find the right one.

Reach out

Finally, if the urge to run away gets really bad it’s always good to reach out.  Talking to a loved one, a medical professional, or even a stranger on the Internet  can help us sort through our feelings. Sharing our burden – being truly heard – makes us feel less desperate. We don’t have to go it alone.

Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.