Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Feeling lonely and miserable, don't know what to do :(

Hi Sam, I could really use some friendly words... I've been a carer for my mum for the last four years, and the pressure is just too much. I used to think I could cope, but I feel very alone now - my dad lives in a different country, and my grandparents aren't very helpful. Their way of coping with mum's cancer almost destroyed our family. I have supportive friends, and a wonderful boyfriend who helps so much but I still feel like I can't cope. Mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, almost given the all clear and then two years later we were told it was terminal - just days after I turned 16. I'm home educated as well, so I don't get much of a break from caring, which has got more and more difficult as she is partially disabled. This year has been really difficult, we've moved house twice and mum's been in hospital three times, however we were told a few weeks ago that most of the tumours are very small now - but I still can't relax, I keep thinking they made a mistake, or that it'll come back soon. Two years is a long time when you've convinced yourself that one day you'll wake up, but your mum won't. I know I probably sound like an attention seeker, but this has been building up for a long time and I had to let it out somewhere.... Along with all the other problems in my life, I don't know what to do or how long I can cope :(
Ask Sam



Thank you so much for getting in touch with me. It sounds like things have been tough for you and your mum for a very long time now and I can hear that you’re feeling really on your own.

From your letter, it feels as though you are very concerned about your mum and you’re worried that you won’t be able to cope for much longer. I want to reassure you that you don’t sound like an attention seeker. It shows good self-awareness to recognise when it’s time to ask for help.

As a young carer, you are entitled to get the support you need to be able to look after your mum without feeling so overwhelmed. You haven’t mentioned whether your family has a social worker. If not, it would be really worth thinking about talking to social services about what is happening. If you are already in touch with a social worker, I would suggest letting them know how difficult things are right now, because it sounds like the level of support you are getting is not enough.

There are also a number of websites which will show you the type of support you should be entitled to. For general information about support for young carers you may find the NHS site helpful. As your mum has been diagnosed with cancer you may find the Macmillan cancer support for young carers useful. Finally, has an online forum where young carers can share advice and information with each other. They also have details of local projects, which would offer you the chance to get together with other young carers face to face.

What you’re doing for your mum is important but you are important too and you should consider creating some time and space for your own well being. I am so pleased that you have the support of your boyfriend and your friends. You mention the other problems you have; try not to ignore these issues, you might feel that they are small compared to everything else you have to cope with but they are important; they are affecting you.

ChildLine is here for you and can off you support. Think about contacting our counsellors to talk about how you feel. When you feel you want to let things out, think about letting it out to one of our counsellors. You can talk to our counsellors on the phone by calling 0800 1111 (free call) or, if you prefer, online by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat, which ever is easier for you. You will be very welcome.

Take care,


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