The title of this post means “an overwhelming urge to runaway” It’s amazing how you can take that out of context as most things nowadays. The word itself was the name of an illness which Samuel A Cartwright hypothesized to cause black slaves to flee captivity. Of course this theory was later debunked as it is outright racist.
Nowadays this word has become quite mainstream, you’ll see many people sharing it on social media because people have developped drapetomania. Living in the UAE I can say without a doubt that we have a really cushy life and it was here that I discovered the word to be more commonly used than in London, where it is not so cushy. Isn’t it ironic? (it’s like raaaaaain on your wedding dayyy). It makes me curious if it is the cushyness which makes people lazy and bored. Things can become shallow if you allow yourself to get comfortable and this overwhelming urge really does become an illness as the word was orginally intended to be used. One question that does spring to mind is that what is it that people want to run away from? Honestly, maybe I am biased, but in my opinion the UAE is the best place to live because truly it is the good life. Yet, I also find myself wanting to run away, it’s contagious and I have caught this illness at various points in my life, since I have moved back to my childhood home.
After much analysis and ponderings I have come to an unconclusive conclusion that maybe it’s feeling the motions, kind of like the notion of “misery loves company”so even though I may have this urge to run away technically its not the place I want to run away from or the life I have here, it’s the people I have chosen to surround myself with, who all suffer from this illness. The reality is that people are just unhappy, they have everything and yet they are unhappy, unfullfilled and can’t help but compare their life to those around them. It’s so easy to complain and forget the blessings they are surrounded with, it’s so easy to be negative and ask “why me” and wallow in your own hole of self pity and it’s not only addictive but the thought process can get quite contagious to those who just want to feel like they belong. Human beings are funny, we might as well be sheep. Why live like that?
After two years of being in an on and off state of drapetomania, I feel more stable and I no longer have an urge to run away. I now have wanderlust (another word that has become so mainstream) however it is not an illness, it is part of my selective curioustiy. I want to see the world I live in, I want to explore and I want to experience this world the way it was intended. It is a dream rather than a need and I like that it’s a more peaceful way to approach life. Zen for the win (pronounced as wen because I want it to rhyme). 🙂