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My family haven't been helping me get better

Community Member

Hi! I feel like such a mess, this isn't my first post on this forum this week! I have a lot to vent about right now, haha.

I'm 17. I have three brothers, 2 are in their 20s and one is a year younger than me. They all live at home. My oldest brother's girlfriend has been living with us for some time now, she basically moved in at the start of lockdown and has stayed ever since.

I love my family and I know they love me too, even if they struggle to understand my anxiety and depression. I think because I really love my family, I find it hard to admit that they haven't always been helpful towards my mental health issues. My parents work really hard and I don't ever want to come off as ungrateful. But I think how I feel about how they've contributed to my mental health journey is something I deserve to be honest about, and it's unrelated from how grateful I am for the good things they do.

I think the environment you're in really contributes to how you feel, and after years of struggling with anxiety + depression, I've began to think maybe the problem isn't me, maybe the problem is the environment I'm in and the people I'm surrounded with. I always think about escaping, like moving away to somewhere else or travelling. That kinda shows how unhappy I am at home.

It's hectic living with so many people. There's yelling because some people don't get along, there's SO MUCH mess and I can't get to sleep. At 12am on any given night, all of my brothers are awake and making some sort of noise- playing video games, chatting to friends, watching TV, playing music. No matter how much I tell them to keep it down, they don't. The mess in our kitchen and living room drives me crazy. I cleaned the kitchen last week and it's already a mess now. I don't want to clean up other people's mess because it's gross and I shouldn't have to. Our house looks like a dump, and it's why I stay in my room a lot because it's the cleanest room in the house. I've expressed how unhappy the mess makes me to my parents, but they still don't do anything. I know they work full time jobs but at this stage, it's just being lazy. Even they barely clean after themselves.

My little brother walks all over me and is so rude to everyone. No one (but my mum) encourages me to get better, they just put me down for being out of school. No one in my house is willing to change. I wish I could move out but it's just not possible for me, I'm sick of living this way though

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello spontaneous sunflower,

It's one of the worst places to be in, isn't it? Being around your family, whom you love, but also knowing that they are contributing to your mental health struggles. I completely agree that the environment you're in contributes to how you feel. Being in your home, where find many things that bother you, can over time cause you to feel more frustrated.

You mentioned that you often think about moving away to somewhere else or travelling, but that it isn't possible for you to move out now. Would it help if you could make plans to move out in the future? What I'm suggesting is for you to try and give yourself something positive to work towards, something that will keep you going as you wait out your current situation. I'd also suggest spending more time outside the house - even going on walks at a nearby park can make a difference to the constant misery you feel living with that many people.

I completely empathise on the kitchen issue. I had housemates who (by my standards) were absolutely gross. I couldn't bring myself to clean up after them day after day, so I finally avoided the kitchen as much as I could...until I finally moved out a year later. On hindsight, I'm not sure that was the best solution, but I still don't know what I could have done to make things better.

On a practical (and more positive) front, perhaps some earplugs would help at night? Siblings can sometimes be hard to manage. And the sad reality is that we can't really control the way people act, but we can take actions to prevent ourselves from being affected too much by their actions.

Take care,

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi spontaneous sunflower

So glad you're realising how people around you are influencing your emotions. Can definitely feel liberating when you have the revelation 'I'm a thoughtful reasonable person surrounded by somewhat thoughtless unreasonable people'. The 'reasonable' part: 'The noise is keeping me up at night. Not only does it set off my nervous system, it also leaves me dealing with sleep deprivation. What can we do to change things?' A couple of good reasons for things to change. The unreasonable part may sound a little like 'There's no need to change anything. You're just too sensitive'. Can you see any good reason in those couple of sentences? Can you see any negotiation? No. Makes you want to scream, hey, at the insensitive people?!

Parents can be pretty hopeless at reasoning sometimes. I say this as a mum to a 14yo boy and 17yo gal. My kids have actually taught me to be reasonable, believe it or not. My daughter has always been challenging, often asking 'Why?' to a lot of things. While most kids are taught by their parents 'Don't question me!', I encourage my kids to question me. In doing so, I've come to realise a lot of what used to come out of my mouth was nonsense (made no real sense). A lot of it was simply based on how I was conditioned. A lot of respect between the 3 of us these days because we listen to each other's reasons and challenges.

Now, most kids would drive their parents nuts, asking 'Why?', in search of reasoning. This is typically the most repeated word of any 3 year old until they're told/taught to stop questioning. If they keep it up, they can then be told 'Stop bothering me!' or 'You're being difficult'. People need to be bothered dear sunflower. Some need to be bothered a lot. Asking your parents 'Why does my sleep (energy restoration) not matter? Why does the fact that I'm forced to face the careless mess of others not matter? Why does the fact that you have let the behaviour of my young brother get out of control not matter? I deeply respect the fact that you both work hard but, at the same time, why do you refuse to manage any of this? Is it because it's easier not to manage it?' It may be considered cheeky to suggest 'If you don't want to manage this, at least give me the biggest bedroom in the house to make my home (get away) and some money to renovate it, on top of some noise cancelling headphones'.

Question your parents. It may trigger them to agitation but sometimes we need a bit of a shake up (wake up call).