Why do so many people want to ‘disappear’?

When faced with overwhelming stressful situations, people tend to run away, even wanting to “disappear” without a trace.

In the true story, the American guy Christopher McCandless, born in 1986, gave up all material things to make a journey across North America in the early 1990s, just graduated from college. He unfortunately suffered from exhaustion and died in the Alaskan wilderness at the age of 24.

Not everyone is interested in exploring nature, but many share that they want to leave it all like McCandless. Social media today is full of shares that say they want to disappear without explanation. The “disappearance” here has nothing to do with travel or foolish thinking, it’s simply running away when the feeling of despair increases.

“It’s normal for the mind to imagine escaping. They are common mechanisms that provide temporary relief from more difficult or complex emotions,” says clinical psychologist Therese Mascardo, director of the study. CEO and founder of a healthcare community in the US, said.

Psychologists believe that the human brain has the ability to respond to stress in four basic ways: fight, freeze, flatter or run away.

The struggle response involves aggressively confronting the threat; freezing uses stillness to avoid danger or make it impossible for others to act against it; flattery find every way to please the other side, avoid causing conflict; while running is disappearing completely from a threatened situation. This means that running is simply one of the ways people respond to life’s challenges.

Basically, they are associated with each person’s survival instinct.

Many people tend to run away when they are stressed or tired. Illustration

Usually, the desire to run away occurs when people feel overwhelmed by their emotions and need some relief. This is becoming more common as more people feel isolated.

“Many people feel helpless, gradually leading to despair when discussing environmental issues, violence, pandemics, economic crises. I have seen this in clients who come to therapy and say things like this. things like ‘what’s the point of life if the world ends in 50 years due to global warming’,” says psychologist Mascardo, and says that the thought of running away, wanting to disappear is often a sign that something is wrong in life, and they need attention and care.

In fact, this action often has hidden connotations of the type: I feel lonely and need attention; I feel sad and want to be comforted by things that bring joy; I am tired and want to rest; I feel overwhelmed and need a plan; I feel lost and need to find a purpose in life…

But very few people can give up everything and disappear for a long time because of social relationships, family and economic pressure. Therefore, psychologist Mascardo suggests a number of ways to help people deal with feelings of discomfort and fatigue.

Give yourself space

In stressful situations, you should temporarily step back, give yourself a break, reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless. Employees can apply by leaving the desk to go for a walk, drink a cup of coffee or chat with friends when the work is overwhelming.

Rest and have fun

The hustle culture in the workplace considers those who want to rest as weak, incompetent, or even lacking in the will to advance. But in fact, people need rest to restore energy, including naps, travel…

Besides, you need to make yourself happy, love life by painting, singing or laughing with friends to relieve anxiety.


Mindfulness meditation is one of the scientifically supported and accessible practices to improve health. You can search for meditation materials online or simply count and regulate your breathing.


Instead of letting negative thoughts engulf you, what you need to do is go out and participate in sports. They not only help in weight loss, but also effectively eliminate stress.

Face the problem directly

In addition to the above measures, the best solution to reduce the desire to run away is to find the root cause of stress and fatigue. More simply, identify and articulate your needs, whether it’s a desire for support, love, joy, rest, or a purpose in life.

Minh Phuong (According to VICE)


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