Perfect Disorder

Priyanka Rawat   |   May 26, 2015 

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Most of the essays I wrote while growing up were about my mother, my father or my best friend. I never gave  much attention to my brother. Although if I were to ever to write about my brother I would have no lack of words. He is a genuine person and more than that, a protective and loving brother.

He is 35 years old, single, stays with my parents and doesn’t hold a job. He developed obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in 2008 and since then his life has been all about his struggles with the thoughts that torment him. I can see a sharp contrast in his personality since he developed this disorder. Before, violence and anger were his companions, he would hit people without any regret and demand things while avoiding his responsibilities. His behaviour always concerned me and my family, but we never expected what was to come.

Even when the doctors diagnosed him with this disorder my parents refused to accept it. They truly believed that he was intentionally doing it to avoid further responsibilities. I could see in their hearts that they had loved him as their firstborn and could not handle the truth well. They both tried, and continued to give their best in loving support to their son but the decay they witnessed every day and the unspoken labels that people put on him discouraged them to the extent they eventually shunned him. The unfulfilled expectations and disappointments have pulled them down into an abyss.

I see him now and I see a defeated 35 year old whose life has been scarred by the compulsions of OCD. He interacts like all of us and enjoys a good company, but not many want to spend their time with him. He feels trapped with his own thoughts, he can’t shut them up, and they don’t leave him alone. Home is his haven, he steps out for few hours to feed dogs and birds and takes a small stroll before he comes back home.

He dedicates a huge portion of his day getting rid of germs that never seem to disappear. He spends hours rubbing soap against his hands and the toothbrush against his teeth. He cleans his hands until he is satisfied that the germs are gone and brushes his teeth until his gums start bleeding.

He knows that he is not well and that he has to get better. He has come a long way from being in a semiconscious state when his medication left him drowsy all the time. He has come a long way from being scared of his thoughts that convinced him to hit his head constantly on the wall, which he would later touch to see if it was bleeding.

He thinks that it is because of the sins of this life or the past one that has rendered him in this state. He spends hours praying and crying. He is doing all he can to fight his mind and his body. Praying for others and doing good deeds is one of the ways he is trying to win favour back with God.

As his sibling I yearn to see him better and have a life that men his age have. I don’t know when it will happen or if it ever will, but what I know for sure is the hope that I have in and through Jesus. This is the hope that challenged me when I had decided that he was my parents' responsibility and not mine. Taking him to doctors appointments, encouraging him to take a bath, to eat on time, to wake up on time should be dealt by them and not me. Or that's what I thought.

But God really tugged my heart on this and brought me to a point where I realised that I can’t abandon my brother like this. What would I be if Jesus had abandoned me? So I started sharing in a few of the responsibilities for my brother. My hope was rooted in God’s living word, uplifted through prayers of dear ones and strengthened by constant encouragement of fellow believers. I could not help but extend this hope to my brother as well, praying for him and with him became a regular feature.

I would leave a verse every day for him to read and think on and after work we would discuss what he understood out of it. I saw the affect God’s word and prayer can have on an individual who has no hope. This hope helped both of us in ways unimaginable. Not only did he become mentally and physically healthier but our bond grew so much stronger. We became each other’s support system.

Even though I've moved into my own house after marriage,  we still keep in touch, hang out and call each other. I would have never imagined this sort of a loving relationship with my brother but it happened because Jesus gave both of us some hope. He taught me that as His child I need to live with courage and hope in the midst of difficult circumstances.  I can leave my weaknesses and burdens on Him and rely on His strength and that’s the hope I could reassure my brother with.

This hope encourages me to pray for a day when my brother will trust and believe in Jesus. He is exhausted because he knows that he can’t do this in his own strength, his body and his mind fail to submit to him. He recognises that he is a sinner, he believes that he needs a saviour and I believe that this hope will ultimately give him life. Until that day I will live by this hope, too.


Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Priyanka Rawat

Priyanka Rawat is a communication consultant at Hindustan Unilever Foundation, highlighting the many narratives that surround water in our country. She lives in Delhi with her husband and son and is part of the loving community of New City Delhi church. Priyanka has worked in the social sector for 13 years, supporting governments, civil society, communities, media, and various other key stakeholders. She has helped stakeholders build a better response to issues such as sex trafficking, labour issues, migration, child nutrition, livelihood for women, health, and gender.

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2 comments on “Perfect Disorder”

  1. Praise God for what He has done and continues to do in your brother's life.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    God bless you.

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