Living In Darkness


runawayWhen I was younger I was afraid of my parents. They were often angry, critical and disapproving of me. I learned quickly to stay quite and keep my opinions to myself. As I grew older and into my teen years, I became quit rebellious. I was too old to be spanked and so I started to feel it was safer to talk back a little. My relationship with my parents was completely broken. I was angry with them, and I really just felt this intense hatred of them during those years.

I felt so lost, like I had no control over my life. That was just the icing on my cake of depression and suicidal thoughts. I wanted to escape so badly. My attempts to take my own life failed miserably. I knew the cutting would not do the job, but as desperately as I wanted to die, I couldn’t manage to get the job done. I tried hanging myself in the bathroom with my belt a couple of times. I guess that survival instinct kicked in though, because after probably seconds (which felt much longer) I gave up and slumped to the ground in a heap of tears. I so badly wanted to die. I just knew death was going to bring me sweet release. I imagined death to be a utopia of sorts. Not that I thought of heaven – it’s just what my fantasies of death had become.

I never gave up on the idea of dying, but eventually I decided that if I couldn’t escape that way, I would just runaway from all my problems. Literally. My first time to runaway I met a girl at school who said she would take me in. I didn’t know the first thing about her, just that it was a place to escape. I was totally unprepared – no clothes or anything other than what was in my school backpack. It was a Friday. We had an open campus and I walked right off the school grounds with this stranger and went to her house. She lived in what you would call “the ghetto”. The worst part of town, where you would see prostitutes walking the streets at night and people making drug deals. I tried not to let it phase me, after all, I was free.

This girl did not live with any adults – at least no the kind that were of the parental sort. She lived with her older boyfriend and another room-mate. I soon found out that first evening that they were drug addicts. I really knew nothing about drugs at that point, just that I didn’t want to do them. I did not know what they were doing when they put the white stuff in the glass pipe and smoked it. It smelled weird, and I didn’t like it. I felt nervous and uncomfortable. But at least I was free.

They fed me and gave me a place to sleep. I had a roof over my head and no one was yelling at me or telling me how I had messed up. I didn’t sleep well on the couch during the first night, so the next day I went to lay on the girl’s big bed on her advice. I lay there trying to relax the best I could in such a strange environment. I am a creature of habit and being out of my element threw me completely out of sorts. I was curled up on the edge of the bed, that was next to the wall. It wasn’t long until the girl and her boyfriend came in and lay on the bed together. And proceeded to try to get it on. I was horrified, embarrassed and wanted to disappear. I froze, wishing with all my might that they would stop, trying to figure out how to get away. It was so humiliating for me to just lay there and know that they were doing something so private just a couple of feet from me.

Finally I got up and left the room. I was just so shy, so broken, it was hard even to do that. I knew then I just wanted to leave. Suddenly home wasn’t looking all that bad. Thankfully I happened to have a friend that lived not too far. I decided to walk to her house and see if I could stay with her. It was dusk and I walked right down the street where the prostitutes stood on the side of the road, cars honking at them. I was so afraid I would be mistaken for one. My weekend was really getting worse. I was starting to miss my bed, my room.

My friend welcomed me into her house, fed me and let me hang out for a while. But I couldn’t stay, because it wasn’t right. I was a runaway. I had to go home. I had been hoping secretly that my parents were besides themselves with worry. That they had called the police and were searching for me. I knew that it probably wasn’t true though. Why would they even care…

So I went home. I got into trouble. Life went back to normal. Until I decided to runaway again. You know, because the first time went so well. I was just so desperate to get away. It wasn’t just the anger, the yelling, the feeling of having no control that made me want to escape. It was the fact that I just knew they did not love me. They did not care for me, not want me. I was nothing. Nothing.

My next time to runaway was with a girl I knew slightly better than the first. She had a normal home with a mom and a brother. They lived in an apartment in a nice neighborhood. Her mom was very nice, but she worked all weekend. Again it was a Friday and I took of with this girl I barely knew to her home. She fed me and let me sleep on the floor of her room. We sat around and watched tv and talked. I was uncomfortable. I had a very hard time connecting with people then. I was afraid of people. Afraid to open up to them, to trust them, to let them know me. They were going to reject me and hurt me. That is just what people do.

By the end of the weekend I just wanted to go home. I missed my bed, my room, all my creature comforts. My parents were horrible to me, and did not love me, but at least I could escape into my room. It was the best I had. So I went home. I think those experiences cured me of my desire to runaway, because that was the last time. Not because things got better at home. Things actually got worse for a time. I had to find a new escape now. And I did.

Please don’t think I hate my parents now. I have completely forgiven them, and have no ill will towards them in any way. They did the best they could do, being as broken as they were. I love them, and I thank them for my life. My life is a precious gift, and one that I would not trade in for the world. I am a million miles away from that sad girl who couldn’t wait to escape life. I have been blessed in abundance. I have forgiven, because I have been forgiven. I have been redeemed and made completely new. I have been made whole.

Desperation is real. Hopelessness is real. But there is hope. There is a way for new life, for you, and for anyone. If I can come out of this and live to tell, anyone can. Even you.

National Runaway Safeline 1-800-RUNAWAY

National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-TALK