Depression, Depression Symptoms, Motivational

Avoidance, Escapist, and Withdrawal Wishes

In a nut shell, this is that desire deep down, to just run away. Like, forever.

I suppose when coupled with other symptoms it can become much more complex, however, in a general sense, we want to detach from our lives, and everything in them.

We may naturally think about tasks that we wouldn’t want to do, say, chores or labor-some though, normal activities, but this is not the case. Any task, would fit this category. A clerk at a small rural gas station wants to stay home and never clock back in again all the way to a Doctor not wanting to go back to the hospital but instead, escape into a place where there is nothing professional to do.

Beck made this distinction as will I: this symptom is not to be confused with the paralysis of the will, a symptom that is defined by a complete loss of motivation. Whereas this symptom, there are motivations, and they are fueled by the want to avoid, escape, and withdrawal from the tasks that, in the persons’ mind, have become meaningless.


The person begins to develop a want to avoid or reschedule activities that they would normally engage in with little contemplation. If the activity does not provide instant gratification it may avoided all in all. In addition, the person becomes interested activities that require less energy and thinking.


The person begins to avoid things on a broader scale. A professor may feel as though anywhere else would be better for them than doing what they have trained and studied for the last few decades of their life.

The person has a constant surge of escapist thoughts. The person may begin withdrawing from social gatherings and communication with others.


The person begins to avoid everything. Staying in bed is a primary feature at this level. The person constantly feels like getting away from everyone and everything. One form of escape at this degree is suicide.

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