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I'm stuck in a house where my parents bicker about money and my brother, who is a recovering drug addict (so he says) live. I have anxiety and depression. Is there any way to cope with my feelings naturally and a way to cope with the stresses of my family? Moving out is not an option, unfortunately.

Anonymous

I’m sorry that you are hurting. This kind of suffering is intensified when it involves those who we are close to. The use of the word “stuck” is a perception not a reality. I understand that you may not have any other viable living arrangements at present due to your age or other circumstances, but defining yourself or your situation as being “stuck” is additional narrative that isn’t helpful. It won’t make your situation better by emotionally boxing yourself in where you feel trapped. 

From a Buddhist perspective suffering is caused by our attachment to desire. In this case you may have an idea of another place or different type of environment you want to live in. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have better circumstances, but if you foster attachment to that “other” place or circumstance as the ONLY thing that can or will make you happy, you will continue to suffer in your present situation. In reality if you changed your living arrangements or family situation, there will only be some other thing that causes you to suffer because you will have another idea of how it ought to be. By letting go of our attachment to “the way things ought to be” or what we think will finally make us truly happy, we can begin to be happy in the here and now, despite the difficulty of our current circumstances. 

If you’re unhappy with a situation that is in your power to change, then change it. If you cannot change it, then why waste even a moment being unhappy? You can be free now, even though it’s a difficult situation. When your situation changes later on (and it will change because everything is impermanent), you can continue being happy and experiencing the freedom you began to realize today.

A few years from now when you’re living somewhere else, you may have a difficult neighbor or other family member to cope with. Happiness doesn’t depend upon the absence of conflict or challenges in our lives. You can be happy now no matter what situation you find yourself in, if you want to be. That is not easy, but it is possible. You choose how you react to difficult moments. No one can make you suffer without your consent when you are truly free. 

May you be happy.

Notes

  1. kittyknightly said: Moving out is not an option but looking for a place that you call a safe haven is. It can be anywhere from a park to the public library, anywhere that you can find peace in you mind and soul. As for you anxiety and depression, look for things that make you happy. Look at…
  2. psydenthusiast said: This is one of the best things I have ever read. Thank you.
  3. inhabitude posted this

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