I wanted to share with you guys a conversation I had on the Charley Project’s Facebook page, about a mother who disappeared almost a decade ago and has turned up alive:
After getting that final response I realized I’ve become much less judgmental than I used to be about MPs who left of their own accord. I know that around ten years ago I was interviewed by a newspaper about such a case and I said it was “abominably selfish” for a person to do that. Whenever I heard about an MP who turned out to have simply walked out of their lives, leaving their family wondering what happened and if they were still alive, I used to get angry — like the other person in this conversation here. Now my response is much more tempered. I’m not sure when it changed.
I think back to my own early- to mid-adolescence, when I was suffering from horrific, untreated, mental illness. I had very intense thoughts about running away from home, traveling to a distant city, taking my own life there without any ID or anything on me, and getting buried as a Jane Doe. I do not know why this seemed like a great idea at the time. My brain was basically broken.
Mind you, I still think it’s selfish to desert your loved ones without a word, and I still tend to feel much more sorry for the left-behind family and friends than the MP who left them. But now I also tend to wonder “what was going in that person’s life that was so bad that they felt they had to take such steps?” I don’t get mad anymore, I don’t judge them. I just feel glad their family has learned their fate, and hope they all can reconcile or at least reach some level of acceptance.
I was talking about it with Michael today and I asked him if he thought my change in attitude about MPs like this woman was due to an additional decade of learning about these cases and what motivates these people to walk out, or was it just that I was once 21 and am now 31 and I’ve simply grown up. Michael said the one cannot be separated from the other, that learning new things through reading and stuff is one more part of growing up.
I always seem to have this voice in the back of my head saying “Are you sure?” when someone is found alive after an extremely long time. I always think of what happened with Tinze Huels and she was actually there living with the family. If that could be done, I imagine it also could when the mp is found in another state and doesn’t want contact with family. I wonder how much is done to verify that it’s actually them under these circumstances.
Mental illness is almost impossible to understand to someone who doesn’t have it or has never dealt with it personally. I try and associate this situation to that of suicide. Although most people (without a mental illness) would see a suicidal person as selfish, the one with an illness really believe that friends/family are better off without them. Resorting back to this situation, if an illness “let’s” one believe that, then (to this individual) leaving may be the ONLY option.
I would NEVER do this to my friends/family….especially my children HOWEVER, I don’t have a mental illness.
When I going through that time in my life when I wanted to die a Jane Doe in a city far from home — and I REALLY wanted to do this, if I had been old enough to know how to drive I believe I would have taken off — I think it honestly never occurred to me to think of the effect my death in those circumstances would have on my family. In fact didn’t think about them at all. I was suffering so much on my own that I didn’t have enough room to contemplate anyone else’s pain. Other times during suicidal crises I’ve believed I was nothing but a burden on everyone I knew and they would be better off without having to constantly pick up after my messes.
I’ve long considered walking out of your life to be a sort of symbolic form of suicide.
It’s one thing to want to leave and walk out on your life, but I think at the very least you have an obligation to make contact with law enforcement, so they’ll know you’re OK and won’t waste time and resources hunting for you.
I have very strong opinions on this subject, influenced no doubt by years of exposure to MP cases, so I’ll keep my pages long diatribe to myself, HOWEVER. I will never forget how angry I was at the Raines/Kracman case, was it? I understand them leaving. And I almost understand how that was a different life for them. I will never understand not wanting to contact your CHILDREN again. It’s like a total disconnect. And a lack of awareness about how many lives were messed up. I get that some people genuinely have no choice in disappearing. Those that do, can be cowards when found out.