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My mother had a breakdown today

Community Member
I've known all my life that my mother has suffered with anxiety and depression. I know she has PTSD due to her job. She struggled with a bad relationship with my father and they divorced when I was young. Today she had a breakdown. It was a heart wrenching, severe panic attack, the likes of which I've never seen from anyone including myself. I also suffer from depression and anxiety, and it breaks my heart to see her like this. I knew she had post partum depression after my birth, but until she told me today, did not know that she had constant thoughts of harming herself or ending her life after dropping me off at daycare as a child. I didn't know that previous partners had made her feel worthless while I was oblivious. I didn't know that she feels as though she lives a meaningless life because she doesn't have a partner or a huge amount of friends. I am devastated. I hate that she feels this way and I wish more than anything to take her pain away. She says she has this type of breakdown maybe once a year as she bottles her emotions up, hides it to herself and she was extremely embarrassed that it happened today while I was present. I know her struggle, and how hard living with mental illness can be, but it truly breaks my heart to see her feel as though she has to do this alone because she doesn't want to burden me. I don't expect anyone to reply to this, I just needed somewhere to get some feelings out.
6 Replies 6

Hey unigirl1994,

We're so grateful that you decided to reach out and share your thoughts and feelings with our friendly community tonight. We're really sorry to hear what your mother is going through, and we can hear how much her pain is also affecting you. She sounds very lucky to have someone as caring as yourself looking out for her, and please know that our wonderful community is here to offer as much support and advice as you need.

If you feel up to it, we'd also recommend getting in touch with our Support Service which is available 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or you can visit on our website www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport for online chat. One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings and give you some information and advice to help you and your mother through this.

We hope that you keep checking back in with us to let us know how you are going, whenever you feel up to it.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Unigirl, your comment is very much appreciated.

When a parent has a breakdown and you notice it's not easy to know how to approach the situation, because if it's happened before, the reason/s this time maybe different to why it has occurred again, and even if it's concerning the same issue then there maybe other problems more dominant than last time.

If you have also suffered from MI then it maybe possible to try and interrupt why it's happened, either with some luck or not, but if it does happen once a year then there could be warning signs to take note of.

If you are aged 25 or under you could be in contact with Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 by phone or online, however, the worry is that she needs to be convinced to see her doctor, and from what you've told us, there could be other problems she is struggling with and trying her best to hide.

Take care.


Thank you Sophie and Geoff for you replies. I am feeling a lot better today after (a somewhat rocky) sleep last night and a lot of hydration today. Crying so much makes me feel terribly dehydrated. I have been considering using the chat option as I find it quite helpful to speak to an uninvolved third party so thank you for reminding me about it. Luckily I was physically there the moment it happened and was able to help her through it, though it was incredibly hard and I wasn't sure what to do. I know she hides her stress and problems but am not sure how to fix this. She will not see a psychologist and is already on antidepressants since I was a child. I am trying my best to check in with her a lot and I'm also trying to convince her to take a break away for a week or so to refresh somewhere. Thank you again so much for your replies.

Hello Unigirl, when you know there's a problem with your mother but is hiding it, it makes your situation to be very difficult as any tendencies toward denial, withdrawal, or perhaps staying alone are common in reaction to deeply felt emotional pain and it's shown by her being unusually quiet by something that's happened in the past or it maybe associated.

Taking a break could certainly be the solution as long as her current conditions can be changed that might be the trigger to feeling this way.

Take care.


Community Member

I do not know much about what you are going through to be very helpful and imagine that it must be very hard for your mom and you that love her. I just wanted to say that your mom should be very proud that she raised a daughter as caring and understanding as you.

As a mom myself, I know it is not always easy to bring up the best in your child even if you think you are doing everything by the book, so with your mom having had to struggle a bit with her issues, she has done a terrific job raising you to have this level of care and love for her. Well done to both of you.

Community Member
i'm just a drop in here, noticed your post, read it, and was so impressed by the depth of empathy and compassion you displayed. You are an absolutely rare and wonderful girl. Good on you. I hope something works out fir your dear mum.