I’ve had this feeling several times. I reckon it’s due to a combination of stress – or trauma – and ‘running on empty’. You probably haven’t done anything for yourself for a while and you may not have been eating or sleeping properly.

Let me describe this situation to you. You can be anywhere when it happens. It can be when you’re with friends; at the supermarket; on a train or in a shop, or at the dentist’s. It can especially happen if you find yourself at the hospital because your child has suffered ill-effects from her drug-taking, or worse, an overdose; or God forbid, has made a suicide attempt. Yes – that’s happened to me too.

All around you people are talking, even laughing and making jokes. They are going about their business. You hear what they’re saying, but you might as well have flown in on the latest shuttle from Mars – because you feel like you don’t even come from this planet. Whatever ‘they’ are talking or laughing about, you can’t relate to; you feel numb, maybe slightly nauseous. You find yourself wondering how it is that these people around you can have their conversations about their normal lives, but you feel like an outcast? Did you commit some ghastly crime or mistake that has shut you off from the rest of humanity and how they operate and feel? Because right now, you feel that your life will never be normal again. You feel you’re looking into some dark abyss and you’re not quite sure how you will find the words to respond when someone comes to speak to you.

It’s horrible. What to do?

These moments are deeply unsettling and all you can do is reach for a lifebelt.

The lifebelt is the Serenity Prayer.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t usually pray, or if you are an atheist. Words have power to soothe and that’s all that matters right now.

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Say the words to yourself again and again, and they will help you to calm down.

The next thing is to remind yourself to TRUST. Not something we find easy to do in our society, since we are conditioned to believe that we should be in total control of our lives. But sometimes, it helps to remember that when all seems lost and we feel weird, then the only thing left to do is to trust a power greater than ourselves.

Trust that you are being looked after. Trust that this weird feeling will pass.

If you pray, then pray.

Ask the angels for help (I like them – they’re dynamite). But remember – they can only help you if you ask. And once you do ask, they are with you in a heartbeat.

After all – what have you got to lose?