Tee's Blog

The Adventures of an American in Belfast

Railway Children, Mumsnet and Aviva – Please Help

People tell me, sometimes, that they can’t believe how much I put on the internet. My real name, the name of my son and husband, my general location, my health issues, both mental and physical.

But what they don’t realize is how much I don’t put on the internet. About my childhood. About my parent’s divorce. About my journey from being a troubled child and teenager to being an adult with those mental illnesses.

About my running away.

I’ve run away twice in my life, once when I was about 13 and once when I was 25.

30 years on I have no idea why I ran away when I was 13. A fight with my mom and step-dad no doubt. About…who knows?

But run I did. Out the door and down the street and, I remember, to the left. To the right was known and led to major roads they would be able to find me on. To the left was unknown and led to I didn’t know where.

I was just looking at a map and I can’t remember how far I went or where I ended up. I do know a nice lady stopped and tried to help me, but I jumped out of her car at a light, stories of kidnapped children in my head. And then was picked up by the police and taken home; the nice lady had called them. It was dark and cold at that point. I was gone for at least a few hours.

My parents were, of course, relieved. My step-sister, who was home from college, was really mad, but still ran me a bath to warm me up.

I have no idea what my mom said to the police to get them to just leave me and not investigate further. But that’s what happened.

And I was lucky. I was on the street for hours. Not days or months. And at this point, I don’t remember the aftermath. In what way, if at all, I was punished. All I remember was thinking I had to get away from them. From myself. From my pain.

My second running away at 25 was the beginning of my mental breakdown that led to my diagnoses today. But that one was by car, with my cat and isn’t what this post is about.

It’s about runaway children. It’s because Mumsnet and Railway Children and Aviva have come together to help young runaways. The ones who don’t get taken back home in hours. The ones who are on the streets. The ones whose home lives are probably filled with horrors I can’t even imagine; horrors that make the streets better than home.

For every blog post, every Tweet, every Facebook status, every comment on this blog and all the others writing about this, Aviva will donate £2 to Railway Children, up to £200,000 by the end of 2013. Money that will go towards helping runaways, like I might have become.

If not for one nice lady and some police.

  • Mom says:

    I remember what happened when you were 13. The 4 of us were at the dinner table. You did something (I don’t remember what) and Burt disciplined you. You jumped up, smashed your dinner plate complete with food on the floor and ran upstairs to your room.

    We finished dinner and then I went upstairs to check on you. You weren’t there. I checked. Your raincoat and all your shoes were still in the house. It was raining very hard outside and my biggest fear was that in your distress you would run into the woods and run into the quarry cuz you couldn’t see it in the dark and that you would drown.

    We called all your friends and Burt drove around looking for you. When we couldn’t find you we called the police.

    They found you walking on the road (can’t remember the name of the street) and you got in the car with them and they brought you home. Even in your distress you had enough self preservation not to go anywhere that could really harm you (like the woods).

    The police walked you in and said something like “Here’s your daughter. She’s cold and tired. We think that the experience has been enough punishment for her.” We hugged you and then I don’t remember Tracy running a bath for you but it does sound like Tracy so I’m sure you’re right.

    We were all very lucky that nothing worse happened then your getting soaking wet and being very frightened for a few hours.
    t

    22 December 2012 at 19.32
  • Robyn says:

    There’s no way I was barefoot as I went several miles. That much I remember!

    22 December 2012 at 20.31
  • Mom says:

    YYou’re right. You weren’t barefoot. I had not remembered whatever pair of shoes you were wearing. I also think you had a coat on although I thought none were missing. Even in your most desperate moments you’ve always had a healthy sense of self preservation (which is very comforting to me when I’m really scared for you:)

    23 December 2012 at 3.46
  • crafts on sea says:

    Crikey, what a story! Glad you were ok but sorry that you went through this, even if it was only for a short while (that’s long enough!) I’ve blogged about this too, lets hope we can raise them lots of cash :)

    30 December 2012 at 20.35
  • Annis le Felling says:

    The teenage years can be really tough, I’m glad your story had a happier outcome and you returned home safe. The statistics about runaway children are truly scary and the fact two thirds don’t even get reported as missing is heartbreaking.

    5 January 2013 at 18.55
  • Lucym808 says:

    What a moving story. I’ve blogged about this too, from a completely different perspective. What a brilliant cause.

    5 January 2013 at 22.46

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