Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Running in Place

Originally uploaded by Sly420

Today's theme is running.

Gotta Run! Running Away. On the Run!

Any guesses? Well, it's in the form of a spry 11 year old. My son Remy has taken to running away from school as a way of dealing with his frustrations. It's happened twice now, both on late Tuesday mornings. Each time he said he was frustrated with the teachers, who refused to allow him to take a break during class. It's actually a behavior plan the school has with him, only he is supposed to go to another classroom to take a 10 minute breather, not hit the road for a 10K run.

As I have mentioned before, Remy has ADHD, and seasonal affective disorder, and these difficult days in winter are nothing new. Unfortunately, today he forgot to take his ADHD medication, and just spiraled out of control. I wasn't too upset, as it did get me out of the office. I had been sitting at my desk, thinking it was going to be a very long day. My headache is still with me, going on five days now, and I didn't have too much on my to do list.

I gave Remy my usual fatherly talk about not running away from problems. I talked to him about learning to deal with frustrations and disappointments. I tried to help him come up with a better plan, such as asking the office to allow him to call me to talk before taking flight.

In many ways Remy and I are a lot alike. In this way we are not. While I may fantasize about running away from my problems, it goes against my grain. Part of my plan in life is always to face what is in front of me. When I am presented with a difficult situation, I may initially react emotionally, but soon after I am already problem solving. I try to help my kids understand that running away from problems is just a temporary fix. In time the problems will just catch up with you, and by then they are usually compounded.

In my grief process there have been many times that I have thought about walking, or running away, mostly because the process has been much more painful than I expected. In the early months I just wanted a way out. There were so many thoughts that came into my head as ways to escape what I was feeling.

The message here for those that might come to this journey after me, is wait it out. Be willing to feel your grief. Ask for help, especially if you fear the depths of your emotions. I occasionally fall into that dark place from time to time, but at this point I know that I will come out of it. In the past these times could last all night, and I thought I would not survive the night. I realized that at times I didn't want to survive the night. I could have chosen to numb myself, and to run fast, but I'm glad that I didn't. I have learned that there are still going to be very difficult times, and yet by not running away, I now know what it means to be a survivor.

If you have to run, try running in place. It will get you through the moment, but allow you to stay present to your grief.


  1. Good advice. There are many forms of running away - alcohol, drugs, workaholism, and also the physical act of running away. But it's like that saying goes, "You can run, but you can't hide." How true.
    Quite a few books on grieving say that you shouldn't make any big changes in your life for a year. That seems like good counsel if this is practical - but for many people, their financial situation may force them to "move on" quickly. That must be very difficult as people lose both their partner, and also their "place".
    In my own case, I think some people who know me may have thouht I "ran away", but for me, it was more a "running to" as I wanted to prove to myself that I could learn to do the hardest things possible on my own. When my Dad died in 1999, I saw my mother's world grow smaller as she lost her independent streak. I rejected that as a path. Instead, I struck out crossing Canada and the U.S. alone, as I knew it would give me the most complete lesson possible in learning to make it on my own as a woman traveling through the world (it's definitely "different" being a woman on the road, than being a man - I meet very few women doing what I am doing). Seventeen months after Don's death, I can say with plenty of conviction, that I am a very different person than the woman who left home feeling practically terrorized in Oct. 2008. For me, this was probably the best pathway possible, but definitely wouldn't be right for others. I think this is where everyone has to carefully examine their feelings, motivations, etc.. to plan their futures living on their own.

  2. Great post, Dan.

    I'm sorry for you that he's acting out in this disruptive way, especially now, although as you've pointed out previously, it's all connected.
    Your post has apparently tapped the shoulder of "slumbering giant" inside me, something deep, stirring, which I can feel working its way to the surface.
    It has me a little unsettled, as I don't fully understand what it is, but it feels challenging in a foreboding sense. I can actually feel my pulse raising as I'm writing this.

    I guess I've got to eventually retreat into my "self-awareness-search-and-rescue" mode, and turn my attentions toward this new (or maybe very old) issue(s).

    As always, thank you for your posts, ever-insightful, chipping away at my subconscious.

    With Love,
    Bill in NH

  3. Hi Bev,

    I definitely feel like my world is getting smaller, and I need to do something about it. As for the ism's, alcohol, drug or work, I always wanted one. I suppose my ism right now is my need to have my finger tips attached to this computer. Sometimes I worry that I rely far too much on it. Other times I realize it is a saving grace. As for not making changes during the first year, I really wish my life was such that I could just take off and do something new. I really want that, but with three kids I can't allow myself. One change I am making is having my 16 year old son move home. He has resided in residential care for many years due to his mental health problems. Everyone is warning me that this is not the time to make the change, but I just don't care. I want him home. I want all my kids home, problems or not. We will somehow manage.

    Once he is home I will search for another ism. Sexism? Actually, that's not what I had in mind.

    Hey Bill,

    glad to hear from you. Now you have me curious as to what is stirring within you. That feeling happens to me often when reading the thoughts of others on these blogs. Sometimes they help me sort some things out, sometimes they help me feel better, and sometimes they have me falling deeper into grief. Go figure.

    Love to both of you.