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Feel I Am Falling Apart

Community Member


I have come here because I feel my life is out of control.  I am an older single mother with an 18 year old son.  I have no support from anyone and never had.   I suffer from anxiety and depression and I am trying to find a nice place inside now he is at University and working. 

I think because I have had so much drama, grief and trauma over the years I now feel totally dead inside.  I only want to sleep/eat/drink...repeat.  I have no partner, no social life, no anything other than cleaning the house and still running around after my son.  He is great but he has been molly coddled by me all of his life and I am still having to ensure he is doing the right thing with Uni and getting up and getting ready for work (and taking him there as he is yet to get his licence).

I have just started a job which I think is going to be good for me if I can find the confidence and gain the skills required.  It is a very responsible role and I am suffering major anxiety thinking I will not be good enough.  That then makes me feel I have to resign and go back to my lonely miserable existence. Which I really don't want to do!

I am not sure what I expect out of this post.  I can assure you all that I have tried everything...every medical professional under the sun..exercise..diet..meditation etc.  I just feel totally hollow and unless I am stuffing myself full of food or alcohol I don't feel right.  It is a terrible way to be. 

Now I have written this I am sensing that this entire situation is around the fact that I have been everything to my son for 18 years and I truly do not know what to do with myself.  I have lost myself.  I am a shadow of the beautiful woman I used to be.  I am old, fat ugly and haggard.  I hate myself.  I am also very sad that the person I used to be has been reduced to what I am now.  Due to my mental health issues (unresolved..not from lack of trying)..lack of family support (indeed dealing with very mean and awful people) and giving everything to my son.  Whom I love and adore do not get me wrong.  Now he is 18 he is almost independent; which is what I have wanted for so long.  But I now feel I am nothing to him. I feel very used by a lot of people and I struggle to make sense of life.  The situations we face nowadays certainly does not help.  I think that the future is very grim for everyone.  Sorry to be a wet blanket and I thank anyone who reads this and can help  me in any small way.  


10 Replies 10

Dear Cookiebelle
Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums we are so glad that you have made you way here and had the bravery to post. We want you to know that this is a safe space to discuss your thoughts, feelings and experiences and receive honest responses and suggestions from fellow forum users.
We can hear you are feeling like your life is not your own right now, having been there for your son and having to manage a history of trauma with limited support, it’s only natural you find yourself in a place where you are feeling like you just don’t have the confidence to continue; and this clearly shows through the anxiety you are experiencing.
We know you aren’t feeling it but reading your post, and from an outside perspective, we can see you are an amazing mother who has done all she can to overcome various obstacles in her life to get her son to where he is now despite having to have been both parents, and done so carrying and making attempts to address her own past traumas and experiences; please remember your accomplishments too, you deserve to be proud of both you and your son.  It’s credit to you that you have pushed yourself to return to the workforce too, it takes some courage to do that after a while away and it’s only natural you will be feeling anxious; try to remember that we need a little of that to push us forward, don’t allow yourself to interpret that feeling as if you are failing in any way; we are always learning.  Remember your worth and speak kindly to yourself.  Who knows, staying at work may be the path to a better social life, including motivation to eat well, exercise and start enjoying those things in life you have sacrificed to come as far as you have already.
We’re sure to hear from some of our lovely community members here on your thread soon. They’re a really amazing community, and will have understanding, advice and kind words for you.  Please also know that we are also here 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via our Webchat Click Here .  Our team who answer the phones are ready to have a supportive and non-judgmental chat whenever you need it.
Thanks again for sharing. It’s a powerful and brave first step towards feeling better.
Sophie M

Community Member

Oh Lordy! Do I ever know how you feel!

I love my kid (and the 5 I fostered to fill the hole in my life). It's not wrong or bad to feel the way you do. It's not wrong or bad to feel like it has all gotten on top of you. You are not, and will never be, nothing to your son. His focus is elsewhere now but that is only temporary - I promise you.

New job means learning new things! Of course you won't be brilliant at it immediately! You will need to learn and adjust, just as you have done with raising your son. Dealing with a two year old is not the same as dealing with a 15 year old. You did that! You've got this!

Please, please do an accounting for yourself. Look at all the skills you have used so far; patience, negotiation, budgeting, logistics (working out where to go and when), time management, prioritising, resilience, health and safety....and the list goes on.

You may feel used but that is only because those around you saw what you are able and capable of giving. Being more careful in how you share your gifts doesn't mean you can't keep having them!


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Cookiebelle, it's wonderful to have you on the forums. 


Snap with you and snap with MaddieT. We get it! 


Re: your new job. I would LOVE someone who has your attitude to join my workplace.
People who stride in on their first day like they know EVERYTHING and own the place are seriously unteachable. 
People who have an attitude like yours being "I need to know more", I've found, are BRILLIANT. Awesome lol, EASY to work with, great! 


If we're honest, we all feel like we're not going to be "good enough"... that's simply being a responsible human type thinking. If you said "I could do this job with my eyes shut tightly" then severe boredom and perhaps arrogance would be a present. The former FAR more preferable to everyone there I think! 


This time in your life I call "Jumping into the abyss" lol. (We've done it before, right?). 
We learned how to spread our wings, conquer the issues at hand, teach our babies how to do life, and fly. 
From here you soar. 


You're going to have a more financially independent future. Better Superannuation. Opportunities to talk with other old women like us (did I just say that? hahaha), yep connect more. Most importantly fancier clothing lol. 


We can talk about the parent / offspring gaining their own independence over time.
Is it a kind of "empty nest" thing for you do you think?  


I'm in a similar situation, with lots of kids, both out of home and still at home and will be for ummm... forever? IDK. 


Listening over here, 
Love EM

Community Champion
Community Champion

hello and i want you to know I am listening to you.


on the job front... that you have been given the job I think means the people who employed you are confident you're able to do the job. I can also see how you would look at the position as well with anxiety etc. worrying about whether you would be good enough.  Also, you have raised a son that is working and at Uni, so you must have instilled some values in your son.


It also sounds as though it is just yourself and son at home? Does he help you with things around the home? If not, could he?  Or what might be take for you to regain some of your old energy? Or do something for yourself? 


Did you allow yourself a little celebration for getting the job?


I see a caring person who has done a lot for her son and is now branching out again and struggling a bit. I also want you to know that you matter! And if there are things you want to talk about ....


... well, I am listening 

Community Member

Thankyou so much to you who responded.

I really appreciate it!  I know now is the time for me to focus on myself.  Which I guess is the scariest part as I have put myself on the back burner for so  long.  I just want a peaceful life.  I know I will be ok with the new job.  I have to be as it is going to be my focus!


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hey Cookiebelle, it's nice to have you pop back and have a read at the replies to your thread. 


How are you doing today? 


Well if your job receives a similar focus as your son has had, it'll be something to be VERY proud of! 


If you want to keep us posted about how you're doing that'd be great! 


I'd love a peaceful life too lol, working full time is not quite as conducive to "peace" as meditating in my garden is lol. 


Take care

Mark Z.
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Cookiebelle,


Thank you for sharing your story here. I can't imagine how hard it is for you.

When you say you have tried seek various professional support, I really respect that.


You're a great mother. I am sure your son understands and appreciates all your hard work.

And you're right, looking after him shouldn't be your only focus, it's time to focus on your own health (physical and mental) and happiness.


I'm not a professional but I have following suggestions:

1. You mentioned that your new job is important and responsible. Don't underestimate yourself, I believe your employer must have seen your strength and potential. Don't push yourself too hard for the perfection, just start from the most important tasks, accomplish them, and gradually take control of the role. Trust yourself.


2. Look back at your past, pick up your hobbies again, at least one of them. Choose the one that is easy to restart and will make you happy.


3. I'm sorry that there's negative energy in your social network including family. Sometimes you can try to let the nature heal the wounds. Go outdoor, have some walk or hike in parks or forests, do more exercise and have more fresh air. It will help. Make it part of your routine.


Hope everything will be better.


Just need to say - you got this girl!

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Cookiebell,


Im sorry you are feeling this way.


I understand that you just want to feel good on the inside and that’s very attainable.


Please start by loving yourself first you really deserve that, tell yourself beautiful things about yourself build yourself up in turn this will give you positive emotions.


When you look at yourself in the mirror please tell yourself that you love yourself and that you also forgive yourself for being unkind to yourself in the past by doing this it will release some of the hurt you hold inside.


Congratulations on your new job, you will meet so many new people at your work place maybe from there you could also build your social life.


You are BEAUTIFUL and beauty comes from the inside of us, first we must allow ourselves to heal from the inside and once you do, the outside of you will shine on through.


You have raised a great son, please be proud of that he wouldn’t be who he is with out you.


Please be kind to yourself.