SOS to Distress

The puzzling part of distress is the accompanying thought that help is not available or accessible. It may be time to get a new mindset that establishes a practice of opening up to the kinds of help of relief that might be readily available and within reach. If we languish in the feelings of despair without asserting ourselves, we might be complicit in the continuation of those feelings, or perhaps we are affirming that we need to have those feelings at a given moment. In any case, we have the power to choose.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Hitting the skids and sinking to the depths of despair and physical exhaustion is the predictable result of overdoing; overworking; overthinking; over nurturing and over worrying.  I found myself there during the past few weeks; locked in the limited reality of seemingly endless hours spent withdrawing from the joy of life; cornered by fear, worry and sadness.  I lost my ability to free myself from the consuming sensation of a contracted will and weariness that required hours spent sleeping without achieving rest; stillness without peace and empty hours without the resolve of accomplishment.  In spite of all of this, I kept going forward with slow and labored movements that I likened to driving a car with four flat tires.  Each day I worked my way through the most immediate demands praying for relief.

Keeping this ever present hope, I finally started to get signs that help was emerging from this dismal picture.  I accepted an invitation from a friend to meet for breakfast and this occasion provided an opportunity for me and my husband to spend time with a few friends at a local diner. While there a dear friend inquired about how I was doing and I shared news of my sorrowful state that, over the years, has been a recurring curse.  She immediately understood and I added that acupuncture usually helps.  I gave a litany of reasons why it wasn’t possible to see my acupuncturist  who is also a physician; and she squarely assigned the responsibility for the problem to me, saying that it seemed that I knew what to do, but wasn’t doing it.  This planted a thought in my head that grew into the intention to call my acupuncturist and schedule an appointment. As I waited for the fateful day to arrive, I pondered the pattern that produced these cycles of distressing low spirits and low energy and decided to ask him for his opinion as to what might be the cause; relying on his twenty years of working with me and his many years of professional training, knowledge and experience.  On the day of the appointment, I arrived in a state of longing for help and relief.  In his usual fashion, my acupuncturist opened with a joke that made me laugh.  Afterwards, I proceeded to share my symptoms and ask what might be the cause of this recurring problem.  He started talking to me about “qi” (or “chi”) and the fact that sometimes energy gets stuck.  This opened the door to a deeper understanding that made a great deal of sense to me and I explored this connection further as I left the appointment in a state of deep relaxation.  This was a partial recovery and after two days, I felt more relief that arrived suddenly to my delight.

A third form of help that added to the breakthrough that lifted me even further out of my malaise occurred when another dear friend invited me out for a morning walk during which I shared the details of my suffering and salvation.  I have concluded that help is usually available in abundance and when we are ready, we can discover it in a compassionate comment; competent care; a casual call or a combination of all three.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...


    How to Use Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills in a Pandemic: A Day in the Life of a Psychologist.

    by Rebecca L. Berger, Ph.D.

    Counselling Psychology Visits Me in Unexpected Moment

    by Marcella Grant

    Thriving Through Crisis: How Stressful Times Create Opportunities to Heal

    by Dr. Claire Nicogossian

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.