Thursday, December 23, 2010

OCD at Christmas

Today I learned that maybe I do care a little bit for my brother. Who I despise. And sometimes hate.

He has OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. He washes his hands all the time but the rest of himself only about once a month, because once he starts he can't stop. He hoards, food mainly, he has cuboards full of out-of-date food. He is 42 and still lives with my mother and is ruining her life. He has no life. No job, no girlfriend. He sleeps and eats and watches TV. I personally think his problems are half OCD and half lazy-bastardness. Other people with OCD have some kind of life. He won't take the drugs that help his condition because he doesn't like the side effects. What could be worse than the life he has?

The original plan for Christmas every second year when I host was for my family (mother and brother) to visit Christmas Eve and leave after present opening on Christmas Day, then my husband's family (the whole horde) would arrive on Christmas Day and stay for several days. His side is much more fun, but I feel Christmas should include my family too. The first time, my father-in-law invited himself for Christmas Eve. That was ok. The second time, he and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend came early. I think my brother was a bit uncomfortable with that. This year, the third time, when he heard that they were all coming again - in fact four people with my father-in-law's girlfriend - he decided it was too many people and that he wasn't coming. He had already stopped coming to my kid's birthdays. He is retreating more and more from the world.

I feel sad for him. And a little bit resentful towards my husband's relatives who don't ask when it would be convenient for me for them to come. Admittedly, I have never said anything to them about it and this year pretty much just assumed they would come on Christmas Eve. But it still seems wrong that they come for days over the entire Christmas period which means my brother will be at home alone for most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. His choice, I know, but still. He has a recognised mental disorder.

Maybe in two years time I will say something, and ask the in-laws not to come until Christmas Day. I don't know if I can. But I feel like I should.

1 comment:

  1. Family is hard. Especially at Christmas. Especially incorporating everyone's quirks and idiosyncracies - and that's WITHOUT mental illness.
    I hope Christmas went well in the end?