Millennial-ing with Invisible Disabilities in a Neurotypical World: Is there no Escape?- A Poem

*Trigger Warning: Suicidal ideation, self-harm*

When my best isn’t good enough,My love isn’t kind enough,My care isn’t considerate enough,My affection isn’t warm enough,My companionship isn’t amicable enough,My goodwill isn’t altruistic enough,My empathy isn’t compassionate enough,My endeavour isn’t laborious enough,My determination isn’t steadfast enough,My focus isn’t fixated enough,

Then, I am not enough.

And the world, perhaps, has a right to huff.

But, hear me out, will ya?

By way of introduction — I am a writer by passion;

A lawyer by education, and regrettably, by profession.

The latter was a decision conceived and spawned mostly by questionable choices:Mostly a manifestation of the infinitude of nervously chattering, howling, muttering, growling — yet, somehow, always trembling — voices!

Unfathomably scary, these rudderless voices emanating from faceless, despairing corpses of my innocence, my self-esteem, and my deepest, darkest desires, dwell in the murkiest crevices of my mind;

O ye, of so little faith, seek (or not!), and you shall find;

And there is no escape, just no escape.

When I was a child, they teased me for being weird,

All of seven, I fiercely struggled to fit in because it was exclusion and ostracization I feared —

A single, lonely child in a small town, whose books and Barbies were her world!

I developed stronger bonds with inanimate objects than with human beings — unless, of course, they belonged to my day-dream-world!

My defence mechanism as a grown-up: to own my eccentricities, to let myself be… weird.

Self-deprecating jokes help, as does dark humour.

And that is how this oddball found her armour!

My mental maladies are a dime a dozen:

If depression is my lover, anxiety is my first cousin!

My attention is fragile and frightfully fractured;

My personality is fissured; my emotions perpetually, simultaneously, and heavily contoured;

In essence, every aspect and prospect of my existence is laboured.

And, despite the lies pop culture has been peddling, there’s nothing romantic about my depression;

It is an inhibition, an abomination, and in essence, for my existence, absolute annihilation.

And to ensure nothing ever satiates my soul, there’s always my old pal — crippling chronic dissatisfaction!

I break my neck struggling to stay in touch with reality,

But, I fail each time — sacrificing my spirit bit-by-bit at the altar of insanity.

All I have ever sought are oases of calm in the chaotic desert that defines the terrain of my mind,

But now, I’m weary and parched, and to go on: so very disinclined.

While I may not be equipped to be neurotypical, I am, at the end of the day, quintessentially millennial,

So, obviously, I seek validation from strangers on Instagram — hey, at least, I’m self-aware and not in denial!

I tuck away the smouldering shipwreck that I am behind the facade of happy-go-lucky;

Of course, I have help from Clarendon, Amaro, Valencia, Vesper and Ashby.

But, when filters fail to camouflage the depression oozing out of my soul,

I go MIA, but I come back too because I desperately want to believe in this deception of my own creation — and that, guys, is how I roll.

Running for thirty minutes on a treadmill, I begin feeling breathless.

But, then I remember: that’s how every moment of my work-life feels with anxiety inundating my consciousness.

I know my attention span: either it hyper focuses, or it wavers and lapses at lightning speed,

Put me under pressure, and coupled with my anxiety, it feels as though in my overcrowded, overwhelmed brain, there’s a stampede!

No matter how hard I try, there are always crucial details to things I miss,

I have apologized for years, but now I know that it’s a debility I can neither deny, nor discipline, nor dismiss.

Imagine going through life with a thousand alarms going off inside your head every minute of every day.

But, I cannot give up because I must survive (albeit in a system that is not designed for people like me), and go on, and pay rent — so I know I gotta make it work in some goddamn way!

For years, I, a cinephile, have chosen to watch movies on my laptop alone instead of making my way to a movie theatre.

Hey, I, too, like big screens, and popcorn, and company, but I can neither sit still nor focus unwaveringly, so you see —  the option to rewind constantly in solitude has been my only saviour!

Every man I date says, “I’m not like them, I’ll be there for you.”

They try, yes, but mostly, they lie; perhaps, in their attempt to stand out from the crowd (yes, crowd) that preceded them, and feel superior.

I try too; but, I’m too much to take in, they say.

I don’t blame them: my emotional instabilities will always be in our way,

Even if my manic highs and depressing lows ain’t stealing the show for the day.

I know I can’t protect them from myself.

Sigh, if I knew how to do that, I’d have protected me, from myself, a long time ago,

And built strongholds to bulwark my sanity!

At present, my fortress (of excruciating solitude, of course) only shields me from happiness, and believe me, it’s a travesty!

But I cannot escape; there is no escape.

I want to control my easily-overwhelmed consciousness,

I, too, want to hear men I love talk to me about their former sexcapades and their past romances.

But, I can’t.

Not without being overpowered by a yearning to bleed,

Because my mind — my turbulent, unruly mind — wouldn’t stop conjuring images… no matter how much I plead.

But, try as I might, I can’t bleed the images out — there is no escape.

How does one escape the trappings of their own mind — the tussle drives me ape.

It’s not “normal“, you say? Sure.

But, can you find me a cure?

Therapy failed me.

As did meditation and breathing exercises.

Soon after, my willpower followed suit too.

My intellectual infirmities may be invisible.

But my un-lovable-ness and my un-employable-ness aren’t: I’m despicable!

And try as I might, my invisible disabilities remain largely un-fixable.

To me, my existence is a constant state of agony that is pushing my soul deeper and deeper down a bottomless abyss of despair and hopelessness.

Do I want to break the fall? Yes.

You would too if, under the pressure of processing more emotions than you can count fleeting in and out every 10 seconds, your brain was bursting at the seams.
My prospects are bleak — I am at the end of my wits, but I am too chicken to simply call it quits.

My fair, slender, superficially “hot” body is disintegrating under this stress of endurance,

It is lined with a million scars: each reminiscent of a moment of ideation to end my life;

But, (un) fortunately, each time, I chose my feeble, rotten lust for life instead.

And gratified the mammoth, monstrous, blood-thirsty mountain of self-hatred that holds my consciousness hostage at all times, by cutting myself till I bled — just not to death.

Alas, there is no escape, indeed no escape!

Only helplessness, and inadequacy, because there are goals and standards that I have failed to scale.

And yet, I don’t want to be defined by my disability, or to drown in self-pity,

So, I try, and I try, and I try — to sit still, look pretty, and every now and then, pet a warm, little kitty.

Devrupa Rakshit is a Bombay-based writer, painter and lawyer in her late-20s. An undercover Jedi Padawan, she is enthusiastic about all things fish and fishy. When she’s not binge-watching re-runs of Seinfeld, day-dreaming about settling down in a Hobbit-hole, working on her book, or running away from life, you can find her millennial-ing on Instagram @devruparakshit.

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