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trouble dealing with ageing and frail mum

Community Member

I live with my mum, who recently got through bladder cancer unscathed. Except now both she and I don't seem to get along that well anymore. She's getting more frail and I worry about her falls and sudden dizzy spells, particularly because we have stairs. She's a people person. When she's starved of people contact, she gets really down, which is hard to cope with. On top of this, I'm struggling to deal with my own anxiety issues, which make me irritable and hard to get along with. I'm seeking treatment for my anxiety, some of which I think was caused by the endless doctors appointments. But we just can't seem to converse without one or other blowing up. Usually me... is this just PTSD I'm suffering?

5 Replies 5

Community Champion
Community Champion



perhaps the easy but first... I cannot say anything about PTSD as I am not qualified in any way. 


Yet it does sound like you are going through quite a few challenges at the moment - first with your own anxiety issues, and looking after your mum. I am guessing you love your mother very much, and it's understandable to worry about your mother's health and safety, especially now that she is getting more frail. Coping with health issues can be a draining and overwhelming experience, and it's okay to feel frustrated or irritable at times. Remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to take breaks when needed? Listening ...

Thanks for your kind words.

I just get sick and tired of being made feel guilty because I get panic attacks. She finds them hard to witness. Fair enough. Her illness (cancer) trumps my anxiety disorder. But I still struggle. And she always gets nasty after a few drinks.

Community Champion
Community Champion

perhaps drinking is a way of coping? Your mother has been through a lot and still is? And it would be frustrating when perhaps you cannot do the things you used to do?


but, even if (as you put it) cancer trumps anxiety... you deserve to be treated with respect?


have you spoken with your therapist about how you and your mum get along? and perhaps ways of dealing with the arguments?



We're both emotionally empty and the slightest upset effects the other. So for example, today I had a panic attack, which upset mum. So im not just dealing with my anxiety, but her despair too. She then loses it, starts slamming doors. The whole thing escalated within seconds and I started yelling and snapped. (threw an apple on the ground) Which only adds more frustration... She just wants me well. I get that.

At least I made a decision to make an earlier psych apt which was one good thing to come out of it.

And like you said, she's got her medical problems, but now she has my mental health problems too. On top of all this, she blames herself because she's the one who got cancer... Now dad isn't here, I'm like an emotionally burnt out carer for her, who isn't allowed to struggle.