Are you fed up of putting on a brave face?

Perhaps people say “you’re doing so well,” or “you’re so brave,” but they can’t see that on the inside, you’re falling apart?

Perhaps, when someone asks “how are you?”, you automatically say “fine,” even though you’re very far from fine.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

On this site, there’s no need to put on a brave face. We want to know how you’re really feeling. Reply here and let us know.

I certainly agree with this, and I would also say that it could apply to pretty much anything, not just bereavement etc.!

But, I remember after I lost my Dad, because I was still at Sixth Form at the time, friends & teachers etc. would all say that I was doing really well and coping fine, but they didn’t know that on the inside I was falling apart. I think it’s important at such times to have someone you can tell when you’re feeling down & I was so lucky to have ab amazingly supportive French teacher at school & she went out of her way for me sometimes & told me all the times she wasn’t teaching so if I needed a chat or a cry I could go to her classroom.

Even 3 & a half years after my Dad died, there are still days when I think about him and it makes me upset but I just put on a brave face.

I don’t think we should feel as though we should put on a brave face though because if you’re going through a bereavement then it’s possibly the worst thing to go through so why shouldn’t you be allowed to have a bad day and show it? we are only human after all.

I have another example. of putting on a brave face. tomorrow, I start my year abroad for University, I’ll be flying to Italy. and recently I’ve found that all people have asked is “are you excited?” or “you’re going to have a great time” etc., but what no one has asked is “are you nervous/scared/worried?” to which my answer is YES! I’m excited, of course, but I’m also really nervous. It’s the biggest thing I’ll have done in my life and I know my Dad would be so happy for me if he was still here today!

I hope people find this helpful! <3


I have had terminal cancer since 2011 and recently have been on a new chemo which has given me some unpleasant side effects. On the outside I am told “You look great, no one would know you have cancer, you hide it well.”

Its not that. many of us do look “normal” on the outside but are in pain, sick with side effects from our chemo, or generally feeling low emotionally. It is not something to be ashamed of or afraid of sharing with others. Taking that first step of sharing how you feel, will help you on the road to recovery emotionally as you will find you are not alone. I have learnt that by going on to forums like this one.

I set up my own website years ago from speaking to fellow cancer patients in order to share my experiences of living with terminal cancer to help others understand and know there are places like these forums to say how you feel. You will be surprised how many people out there with cancer are feeling just like you. There are also moderators who can advise you where on the site to go to get help or advice if you need it. So go on, please share how you feel here and know you don’t have to be brave, you are given permission to say how you feel, when MacMillan told me that I burst into tears, no reason, just went. Afterwards I felt much better at doing just that. So go on, hit that reply button and say how what is concerning you on putting on a brave face! We are all here to support you.


It’s coming up to the 1st anniversary of my Mums death & I’m definitely starting to feel upset and low more often. What I’ve learned is that putting on a brave face is not something I have the energy for anymore. I’m much better at admitting to friends & family that I’m not feeling ok at the moment. It may sound odd but giving myself permission to feel what I feel & not have to fake being happy is great. You need to be selfish & put yourself first & look after you own emotional needs.

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Thank you all so much for sharing. Isn’t it funny how admitting to those bad feelings can actually make you feel so much better?

Em - Best of luck in Italy! I think being nervous is perfectly normal. You know that your Dad would be proud of you for going on this adventure. Let us know how you get on.

Cookie - It sounds as though you’ve been on a long emotional journey to come to terms with your condition. Thanks so much for offering to support others here on the community, I’m sure it will help people to be able to read your story.

tlang - You put it so well when you say that “faking” happiness takes energy that you don’t have. I’m glad that you’ve been able to be honest with the people around you - I hope that they are being understanding and supportive?

Wishing all of you as good a day as possible today - keep posting and letting us know how you are doing.

Good morning. How are you feeling today? How have you all been coping over the weekend?

Tlang - How are you feeling about the anniversary? Do you know what you are planning to do on the day?

Cookie - How are the side effects? Hope your team are getting them under control for you.

Thank you Priscilla for enquiring about my side effects. I have been taken off the chemo and hormone cancer drug as they were not helping my tumours, in fact the tumour in my liver had been active and there were signs of new tumours forming as well. As a result, RBH can do no more for me so am being referred to Royal Marsden Clinical Trials hospital. I have to admit I am scared, for if I do not fit the criteria for what they are testing at the moment, I could be refused, so a lot hangs in the balance and I am terrified. But only time will tell so I have to be patient.

My Mum died on the 3rd November, that’s my Brother’s birthday & the date his son is getting confirmed…what a coincidence. My dad & I are going to the confirmation & then out to dinner with my Brother & his family. I’m generally feeling more emotional at the moment but I’m just going with it & taking it day by day…

Hi Cookie,

Oh no, really sorry to hear that your treatment wasn’t working. I really hope the Royal Marsden can find a suitable trial for you - let us know how it goes.

Hi Tlang,

I hope that the day goes ok when it arrives and you are able to enjoy your nephew’s confirmation. Taking it day by day sounds like a good plan.

Well I could do with a chat. My dad died three years ago and since then have been trying to help my mother. She came and lived with me and my husband for a year (we got married while she lived with us) and in this time she made our lives hell. Alcoholic,depressed,menopausal and also grieving for her husband who committed suicide.
I got her debts paid off with a payout from his company and her brother bought her a flat but it was never enough. Still to this day she rings me up raging down the phone making me feel like rubbish.
Recently I have had an injury which has meant time off work and then along came ear infections,tonsilitus and everything else.
The most recent episode with her is she has run out of money again and wants me to bail her out again. This used to happen every month when my dad was alive.
My husband and my work are what are keeping me sane but now I may loose my work as my injury is not getting better and I cant do the job I was employed for.
Everytime I think that my life is finally starting to settle down an illness or injury or my mother comes along to wreck it.
I dont know what to do anymore.I feel like my life is going down the drain and I cant do anythimg about it.
Sorry if this isnt the right place to put this or even the right people to come to but I dont know where else to turn anymore

Hi SparxC,

Welcome to the Online Community. I am so sorry to hear about your dad’s death, and everything that you’ve been through since.

It sounds as though you have been doing your best to support your mother for a long time, but she is being a very negative influence in your life. You mention that she asked used to ask you for money even before your father’s death. Do her problems with depression and alcohol go back further as well?

As you say, your mother is grieving, but that does not give her the right to be verbally abusive, or to take advantage of you financially. I am not an expert and obviously I don’t know you or your mum, but perhaps you need to consider setting some more boundaries or getting a bit more distance from her?

Of course, that is probably easier said than done, and it sounds as though you could really benefit from some more support.

I would really recommend speaking to your GP to see if they can refer you to any counselling or support for yourself.

I’m glad that you’ve found this site and I hope it helps to have an outlet. You are very welcome to post here if you find that it helps you.

Because this site offers support with terminal illness, and end of life care, as well as bereavement, you may find that most of our members have experience in those areas more than with bereavement by suicide. However, they do know about grief and about the impact that it can have on families.

There are some other great organisations that could be worth checking out as well:

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide:, helpline 0300 111 5065

Mind (mental health support, including advice if you are supporting someone with mental health issues):, helpline 0300 123 3393 or

Let us know how you get on.


Hi SparxC
So sorry about your dad. Grief is grief - you have come to the right place. We’re all grieving here and can understand it better than anyone outside. It’s no good bottling up your feelings. This community makes you realise you are not alone and you can unburden yourself here without being afraid because this is one place you can be yourself.

How is your injury? I do hope you don’t end up loosing your job. Is there anything else the company can offer you, perhaps in another department?

Good luck. I hope things work out for you, your husband and your mum.

Thankyou for being so welcoming. My mum has always been an alcoholic so its an ongoing problem that she knows she has but doesnt want to do anything about.
Work has took a new turn. I have now been sent home from work to see the doctor and then occupational health. The injury os soft tissue damage in my foot and I work on my feet so you can imagine the problems there.
Seeing the doctor today to ask for physio as I have a temperamental back which has flared up due to walking funny.
On top of that I have had a cold,ear infection,tonsilitus and now thrush. All the tablets have majorly upset my stomach.
All in all its been a fun time.

Hi SparxC,

Oh dear, you do have a lot of health issues going on, no wonder it all feels like it’s getting on top of you. I hope occupational health can help with some sort of solution to your work situation.

Sorry to hear that your mum doesn’t want to get any help for her alcoholism. That sounds like a big burden for you to bear as her daughter. Here are a couple more organisations that you might like to check out for support:

COAP (Children of Addicted Parents) has on online community for young people affected by a family member’s alcohol or drug issues. This includes young adults up to the age of 30.

Adult Children of Alcoholics provides information and organises Skype and offline meet-ups.

I hope this helps. Let us know how you get on.

Hi Priscilla
Just wanted to touch base as I last messaged at a low point. I got through that and then a good few weeks passed before a huge meltdown last week. I got over that too :slight_smile:
Just thought I’d say I’m ok X
Hope all of you are keeping on top of things too, if you can read this?

Hi Priscilla
Just wanted to touch base as I last messaged at a low point. I got through that and then a good few weeks passed before a huge meltdown last week. I got over that too :slight_smile:
Just thought I’d say I’m ok X
Hope all of you are keeping on top of things too, if you can read this?

Hi Bobs Daughter,

Yes, the other members would be able to read your post, too. Thanks for your nice message to them.

I am glad to hear that you are doing a bit better. It is very normal to have ups and downs, as I’m sure lots of other members here can tell you. Please feel free to let us know how you are doing, whether it’s a good day or a bad one.

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