Never been so overloaded, leading to panic attacks

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    So here is my current situation.
    I am suffering. The last year has been awful and I am not able to cope just with gratitude and meditation alone

    I have been renting a room to my mom for the past few years because she has been terminally ill with breast cancer. My relationship with her has always been emotionally abusive and extremely stressful. I have taken the stance that I need to help her and honor her as my parent. I knew the suffering that I would have to incur would be in the end to my benefit as I would learn to understand why she hurts me and hopefully learn to forgive her.

    Back in November I became pregnant with my first child. I found out while I was hospitalized for a brain disorder called Intracranial hypertension. I ended up having severe double vision and neck pain. I had to have a lumbar puncture to drain my spinal fluid so I wouldn’t lose my vision. I spent two months recovering from that basically in bed everyday. I feared what my life would be like if I had to deal with this condition along side my already disabling condition of fibromyalgia. I am 23 years old and have no decent formal education and student debt from living with fibromyalgia. I am unable to work.

    The next few months I struggled a lot with my mom. She was getting worse and now has been given 2-3 months to live. I have struggled being disabled and pregnant caring for her. When she was to pass away my mom promised that I would have a decent life insurance settlement to take care of a few things in my life. Last year it was accidentally cancelled and we have been dealing with the stress at the end of her life just to make ends meet. While going into debt trying to keep her alive.

    I feel my body failing me more than ever as I have developed panic attacks. I am worried for the health of my child, myself and all of the years of abuse I have endured by my mom. I feel like I have been left with nothing but sorrow right now and the inability to care for myself and others. I am failing, and that is why my suffering is so large.

    I do have a wonderfully helpful husband and extended family, but I find many of the responsibilities emotionally left on to me. I have always been the bearer of emotional burdens in my family. I am an only child with a mother who has consistantly relied on me. I have never minded, but I am breaking down so fast I cannot cope effectively any longer.

    I am looking for some buddhist resources as I have always found some peace through that. I would appreciate any and all advice to help relieve my suffering. I know suffering is a choice, coming from within.. but I am feeling weak from the constant pummelling of bad news.


    Sarah, you sound like such a caring person & life is tough at the moment. As your mum is renting a room i assume there is some funds to either put her in a hospice or pay for a carer to come in & give you some rest. Can social services help? My boyfriend is nursing his father as he dies from agressive thyroid cancer & he worries he isnt doing enough; hes an only son. You and your pregnancy must b the priority. Your not superhuman, please allow yourself to be happy & content with your decision that you need a break and ask for help. If no help is available; please try not to worry; you have managed so far & worry just takes away joy which is what you will no doubt b feeling about your pregnancy. Keep strong


    Thanks Suze. Agree with your advice.

    Hi Sarah

    I am so sorry for your mother’s suffering. Can you just have faith that you are being give one more chance to make amends with your mother and her past and let her go in a peaceful manner. I know it is hard looking after someone who is terminally ill esp with your current health and circumstances.

    Hang in there. It will all work out fine very soon. Just don’t give up as yet and please think about the unborn child that you are bringing into the world. Surround yourself with positivity rather than panic attacks or negativity. People come and go from our lives and we do not have control over it. But we can make things easier for ourselves by just letting things be and being kind to self and others.

    Whatever happened in the past is done. Your mother didn’t know any better and if she did, she wouldn’t be suffering so much now. Forgive her for all her actions and you will be surprised that in the process, you will start to heal yourself.




    Hi Sarah,

    I am sorry you are going through so much at such a young age !

    You have done more than most people would do in your shoes !!

    Sometimes in life, bad things comes our way at one time when we least expect it. The key is not to panic – panic will only make a bad situation worse.

    In addition to Suze and Jasmine’s good advice above, I would suggest take care of yourself physically so that you don’t crash and burn. A simple first step is to eat right and get enough rest/sleep.

    If you can’t meditate, just close your eyes even for a few minutes every day and think of something good – anything – even a song. Here is the youtube link to one I love – it is called ‘Hands’ by Jewel:

    GOD bless !


    Thank you all for the kind words. My mom has now been moved to hospice. even though that would relieve some of the pressures. My mom is very stubborn and used to doing things herself. Now she expects me to do them. Being 8 months pregnant running 1.5 hrs a day driving plus contractions has been very exhausting to my body. I have told her I cannot help with showers or laundry. That is the reason she is there. Is to receive help.

    The issue with my panic attacks is that they seem to be hormonal. I don’t start to panic about a situation in my head. I just have that flight or fight response which is difficult. The moment I feel it coming on I sit and try to calm myself. I have had anxiety for years and have been able to control it for the most part. It just seems that with pregnancy the hormonal aspect has me lost.

    I am trying to honor my own body for myself and my child. I watched a video the other day by Thich naht Hahn, in regards to ‘how not to suffer when the world is suffering?’ The simplest answer was to have peace in one’s self and to be the best you can be. That is how you care for others.

    While I completely agree I am balancing a fine line between being able to help myself by saying no sometimes and hurting my mom who is in such a rough place.

    I mentioned asking my mother in law to help with laundry and she said no. She wanted her sister to. Which is an issue because her sister has been nothing but hurtful for years. I want to let her help but I worry about the damage that will be done when she decides she doesn’t want yo help anymore.


    Honey – your mom is only here a short time. PLEASE let go and let the spirit into your heart to heal you as your mother goes on this next journey. It is the gift you give yourself, your baby and your mother. She is terrified I am sure – and is losing her life to a devastating illness. The hardest part as they become more ill is the loss of autonomy. Let yourself say yes to her as much as you can while letting any anger go. You are young and resilient. Your mom is not either now.

    There before the grace of God go I.

    You need help – and your mom is afraid to pass on and be separated from you. My own sis went through this before she died young last yr. We never regret graciousness from the heart when it comes from the heart.

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