I believe in Balance. Balance in all things including distress. While I advocate taking the opportunity that a problem is giving you to redesign and refocus your life, I strongly believe that in deep distress no growth can occur.
Our first duty is get safe.
I have never met a client, or experienced myself, the ability to think clearly, develop self awareness, or have an effective action plan when in crisis. So first...How Do I Feel Better Now?
1. See the situation for what it is...distressful, a crisis, horrible.
2. Give yourself a break. Meaning, don't be hard on yourself for anything you think you did to get into this situation. And don't be hard on yourself for feeling all your extreme emotions including numbing out. And definitely don't be hard on yourself for not knowing how to help yourself or "fix" things.
3. Breathe. Ironically new studies show that calming the body down and THEN the mind is the best way. Your mind gets messages from the outside world and will protect you physically but more so emotionally from the danger it is perceiving from the data it's getting. Get the message to your mind that it is safe enough to think, to be creative, and to problem solve effectively. SLOW YOUR BREATH. RELEASE ENERGY FROM YOUR BODY THROUGH MOVEMENT. HOLD YOURSELF.
4. Tell your story. Tell a trusted person, write about it (and destroy it after if needed) or connect to an anonymous person (like on 7CupsofTea.com). Saying your distress outside your own head helps to give it perspective. You'll realize how normal and healthy your reaction is to a messed up situation (and even more so if you've experienced a traumatic experience before).
5. Find a healthy support system. Get connected and hold on. We are healthier around healthy people and environments. Get safe.
Once you are not in crisis, you can begin to challenge yourself to make changes and really focus on self care. You are no longer putting out a fire but rather gaining real insight and direction.
You can do this!