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    DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

I am feeling awfully alone - how can I make it less stressful?

Last summer my mum told me she had cervical cancer. I knew she was ill but as the doctors kept on sending her home with antibiotics I selfishly ignored it. It turns out that she had been developing the cancer all this time and the doctors had missed it, so by the time they found it, it was too late to operate on her. As of now, the cancer has spread to her bowel as well and is at stage 4. I am a very private person and although I treasure my friends support, I get frustrated when they say they understand because in reality they don't. My brother and sister are younger than me (I am 15) and although I am reaching a significant part of my life (exams etc.) I find myself being tossed into a maternal position in which I have no experience and I am certainly not ready for. However, I get that without my mum in action, my dad's first priority is her so I then have a million more responsibilities thrown onto my shoulders - and they are weighing me down. I am feeling very overwhelmed and very alone - and also very very hopeless. I ask will it get better? And the hardest thing is nobody can answer that question. I have a resonating feeling of fear that is enveloping me. Its always there irritating me. I don't know what the future will hold but I am sure I don't like how the present is going. However I also understand it could be worse, and for that I am grateful. (I wrote this on the forum also) I am feeling awfully alone, and would really benefit in some tips on how to make it less stressful? I would also like to speak to other teenagers going through the same thing, as I feel this would be beneficial.

There is no wonder you feel stressed with such a lot of serious issues going on in your life at the moment. It may feel like you're having to look out for everyone else in the family as well as focus on school work, which is an added pressure. Your dad may be very preoccupied with what is happening for your mum - and she maybe feeling too unwell to focus on you and your siblings.

There are physical, and emotional aspects to the feeling of stress. It can be hard to concentrate, and things that normally don't trouble you, may feel an irritant. There's also the fearfulness of the unknown - wondering what the future holds, and being permanently mentally 'on guard' for more bad news.

It may be that you're the friend and sibling that everyone sees as the strong independent one (you mentioned you're a private person). This may seen by others around you, that you're coping. Other teenagers tell me that they don't want to trouble their parents about how they feel - so carry on bottling everything up - more pressure.

Many people find that to take control, it helps to seek support, and someone to talk to. This could be through the school - who often have accesss to counsellors, or the school nurse, or your teacher? With exams coming up, it's helpful for the school to now what's happening at home, as it will naturally affect study time etc.

Talking to your dad - saying you're struggling a bit, and wonder if he is too - opening up a conversation about how the stress might be affecting all of you. If you feel you can't do this, then if there's another family member - grandparent, Aunt or someone you could talk to? Your mum too, might like to talk about some of the bigger issues - and understand that you're finding this hard. The fear of the future is natural, but talking about it with your mum and dad may diminish the sense of helplessness - you're all in this together.

Try and have some 'you' time. Your familiar routines may have all been affected by what's going on - but time out with your friends is still important. They maybe don't get the depth of what you're feeling - cancer is something most teenagers have no experience of. However if they're good friends, they'll be there for you, and be prepared to listen?

There may be help and support locally - have a look in our 'Support in my area section' and see what is available. Here on riprap, teenagers get in touch with other through the forum. We dont publish emails or contact details, to protect everyone online, but hopefully teenagers will see your forum comment, and say how they feel too. If you read through the stories and forum/advice pages, you'll see many others in a similiar situation.

You can also message us here at riprap - via the get in touch form. If you'd like an email reply, just tick the box that gives us permission to contact you...