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JackAdams's avatar

Have you ever been so stressed, that you wish you could just disappear?

Asked by JackAdams (6507points) September 5th, 2008

I’m not talking about magic tricks, here. I’m talking about people who have actually done this, and am soliciting your own thoughts on this subject.

There are adults who, for whatever reasons of their own, have just managed to vanish, without a trace, and were never heard from again, by their families, friends, colleagues and contemporaries. They just one day left, and no one knows where they went, nor why, but usually, someone very close to that person will say, “S/he just left one day, and that’s it. S/he couldn’t handle the pressure, I guess…”

The folks who do this abandon careers and social contacts, but rarely their finances, as they need them to establish another identity in another venue.

But, have things ever “gotten” to you, to the point where you gave serious thought to just “tossing everything,” going elsewhere and starting all over (like those in the Witness Protection Program), with a new name and a new place?

Share your thoughts with us, if you have, and why you did it (if you ever did), or why you would ever think of doing that (if you have). And, if you haven’t ever thought about doing it, do you know someone who you believe did that? If so, what are your thoughts of that person, and what s/he did?

September 5, 2008, 10:42 AM EDT

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

marissa's avatar

Yes {poof! I’m invisible….whoops you said no magic tricks…shucks}

marissa's avatar

Seriously though, I can completely understand the desire to do so, but I would never actually want to do that, because I have too many people that I love that I wouldn’t want to leave.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I am thrilled with the notion of simply disappearing and starting a whole new identity somewhere else. I would do it, too, if I didn’t have a partner and kids. I would do it for the mere rush of it all. The thrill of no one knowing you. Starting over. What would I be? What could I be? Alas, my ties to this identity are too strong and I could never do it.

marissa's avatar

BTW, I know someone who did this, their family thought they were dead, they were even declared legally dead so that his wife and children could procede with things legally. Years later, after his death, his children from his ‘new life’ contacted his children from his ‘old life’ it had a devastating effect on his original family.

JackAdams's avatar

I had very serious thoughts about doing it, but only as a child, and only as a way to avoid the almost-daily beatings/whippings that were a part of my life, from an ogre who just happened to be married to my wonderful mother.

September 5, 2008, 11:24 AM EDT

sarapnsc's avatar

and Jack sorry about the beatings…???? I know now why you are so adamant about your post yesterday, about not hitting children.
For what it’s worth, you came out a great person, with a great sense of DRY humor! At least, your not one of the statistics of abusers, that is something to be very proud of!

JackAdams's avatar

The best way to live one’s life, IMHO, is to NOT be like those whom you despise.

I believe in forgiving people.

The day AFTER their funeral.

September 5, 2008, 11:43 AM EDT

arcoarena's avatar

One of my close friends just basically did this about 2 weeks ago. He told his friends he was leaving but he just left by himself for 3 months to walk through the appalachian mountains.

I was talking to him a few days before he left and told him I gave him mad props for being able to do this as I can barely stand a day without the internet much less friendly contact and he told me that it was something that he wanted to do.

He said it was his way of committing suicide. He said he just couldn’t do it anymore and he had to get away. He told me he was too depressed to stay here and this was his only way out.

So I think this is why people do it. They don’t want to die, but they want to disappear from the life they are living.

JackAdams's avatar


Sad, isn’t it?

September 5, 2008, 12:07 PM EDT

arcoarena's avatar

Yeah, extremely sad.

I told him to call me while he was away but he said that defeats the point and he’d call me when he returned.

JackAdams's avatar

Lettuce spray that he DOES return.

September 5, 2008, 12:38 PM EDT

MissAnthrope's avatar

Yeah, in my darkest moments, I have fervently wished that I could simply disappear. Honestly, though, I have cultivated some amazing friendships with irreplaceable people. I’d always miss them, and my mom and sister.

@arcoarena – I know some AT through hikers (who did the whole thing, like 6 months of hiking), even gave three of them a ride into town on my way back from working in Shenandoah National Park. I am optimistic for your friend, actually, that he chose to do this. From what I understand, the AT hike is spiritual and full of self-discovery. He will have loads of time to be away from that which depresses him, he will meet other like souls on the way (and probably make friends for life), and I think it’s the perfect setting (again, plenty of time) to ruminate on his life and what could make him happy. I’ll say a prayer for him that it turns out to be something positive for him.

flameboi's avatar

yep, I just think “please earth, eat me alive!”

augustlan's avatar

As a teenager I found the notion very romantic, mostly due to watching and obsessing over Eddie and the Cruisers.

marinelife's avatar

I find the concept intriguing, but I think the reality rarely lives up to the fantasy. First, in this day and age of interconnected databases and a shrinking globe, it is harder and harder to do successfully. Second, people underestimate the personal impact of the loss of friends and family in their lives.

For those who do do it, I suspect they are thinking about only their own pain or problems. The impact on loved ones lives is devastating—as bad or worse than suicide.

It is usually a selfish and immature choice.

loser's avatar

I’m debating it right now…

gailcalled's avatar

@loser; not now when your fan club is growing exponentially. And you have a huge pile of photos to autograph.

loser's avatar

Thank you, Gail! I needed that!!!

gailcalled's avatar

As we said elsewhere (Rob found the source; maybe he can find the question), wherever you go, you take yourself along. I can see a 6-month wilderness experience, but unless you plan to be a hermit, you have to deal with you.

And probably a hermit has demons too.

susanc's avatar

A little road trip does it for me. I tell people I’m going but I don’t call home. I love the open time. Then I get lonely and glad to turn around.

tehrani625's avatar

I would love to do this, at the moment I am 16 and going through hell at school. Considering that I was sheltered growing up, it would be nice to enjoy some freedom. I also would like a break, from everything. Last night I asked my self why I keep going to school every day and then sitting around knowing that I am not getting anything out of it. Knowing that if I don’t wake up and do something that I won’t have a chance in life latter. I used to enjoy school or at least I thought I did. I would love to do home school / distance learning. (I just proposed this to my Mom and she thought it was a good idea.) I would also mention that for the past 5 summers I go to a summer camp in Northern Arizona for a week, my slice of heaven. This summer I am going to be a counselor their. Most of my friends couldn’t last a week without internet or electronics of any kind short of a flash light. I can’t wait for the summer.

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