If you are in distress, you are in trouble. You're hurting — either physically or mentally.
See the word stress hanging out at the end of distress? There's a good reason for that. The noun distress refers to a state of severe anxiety or strain, often brought about by failing to study for an exam, harassing grizzly bears, or borrowing your sister's clothes without asking. When used as a verb, to distress means to cause all that pain, suffering and anxiety — in other words, to stress somebody out.
n a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need)
extreme distress of body or mind
an oppressive condition of physical or mental or social or economic distress
hard or painful trouble or struggle
n psychological suffering
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anguish, torment, torture
extreme mental distress
(Yiddish) trouble and suffering
a figurative injury (to your feelings or pride)