Lately I've been fascinated by the affect distress-anguish, which Tomkins defines as the analogic amplifier of steady-state overmuch. It is the steady sobbing of a cold, wet, lonely, or hungry baby. Distress is the nearness to tears we all experience when going through too much. It is the normal reaction to what we erroneously call "stress," as I've commented in the final chapter of "Knowing Feeling." Distress makes a big contribution to the group of syndromes cavalierly thrown together to fill out the diagnosis of "depression."
I'm curious to learn whether the distinction between distress and "anxiety" (a Stimulus-Affect-Response sequence involving the affect fear-terror) has been found useful in therapy by many of those who hover around this forum. I've been doing a lot in this area, and wonder whether anybody else has been thinking along these lines.