This is a rendition of one of my knots

How I Tie Myself in Knots

Duncan Riach


I’ve not been doing well recently. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and anxious. Yesterday, I posted the following on Facebook:

I seem to be suffering from depression and anxiety. I think it’s related to stresses at work. I’m in a situation where I don’t seem to be able to advocate for what I need. I have no idea about how to get myself out of this pickle. I have some kind of conflicting programming that is making me very stuck.

This generated an outpouring of love and support from my friends, with many offering to spend time with me, listening to me. Strangely though, these offers seem to add to my burden; I was not fully conscious of this additional loading, let alone of its source.

Today, I went back to my meditation practice and sat for half-an-hour, doing the body-scan of Vipassana, practicing being equanimous with the sensations. During that time, as usual, space seemed to be created and I could see things more clearly. I was able to clearly and calmly see and choose paths forward in the things I’m struggling with at work.

I also got clarity around the offers of help from my friends. I both understood more about what was happening and I was able to take adaptive action by expressing the following:

Thank you to everyone who has provided, or who will provide, loving words and offers of support here. I really appreciate it. It means a lot to me. At some point, I may circle back and take some or all of you up on spending time together, which I would love.

During meditation today, in the space it creates, I realized that I tend to feel overwhelmed by offers of support and help like this because I feel like I need to immediately take everyone up on what they are offering. This comes from a need to take care of you all, to make sure your offers of help are clearly appreciated and fully utilized.

This taking care of the needs of others, proactively, at the cost of (or while ignoring) what I need, is actually at the root of the problem I’m going through right now at work. That’s actually true in more ways than one and from several perspectives.

I probably could do with connection, but the feeling of overwhelm from needing to take care of others obliterates the clarity of that need.

So then, at times like this, I become somewhat of a hermit, reaching out, gingerly, for help from people upon whom I can imagine that I am not being a burden.

Reading the above, I see that there are two aspects: not reaching out (or asking for what I need) because I don’t want to be a burden and also feeling compelled to accept offers of help because I’m care-taking.

I’m noticing that I don’t have a solution for these internal problems. I don’t yet have release from these knots that bind me. But what I do have is increased awareness of what seems to be happening, increased equanimity with it, and I have practiced communicating clearly with those with whom I am in relationship.

I have committed to returning to meditating twice per day.



Duncan Riach

Top Writer. Self-Revealing. Mental Health. Success. Fulfillment. Flow. MS Engineering/Technology. PhD Psychology.