I Never Missed Toledo Until I Was Homeless (Part 3)

2100 Lakeside. That’s the address I need to find. The sun is still shining. I have plenty of time.

The voice tells me to go forward. I oblige. Now I find Lakeside.

Left or right? Ignorance says left. I walk a mile and check the addresses. Wrong way. Wisdom says go back. The sun is still shining.

The homeless shelter is nondescript and rather ugly. It’s a brick building in a warehouse district, surrounded by abandoned buildings and factories. I walk up looking for the entrance. The main door is shut due to construction. A sign points to the side of the building.

I walk around the building to a gated entrance. A black man stands outside the fenced opening smoking a cigaret. Inside is a cement porch and two picnic tables. More black men smoking cigarets. I walk in and feel the stares on my neck.

A door on the side of the building leads to a bedroom where men lay on bunk beds drifting in and out of sleep. A security desk sits in the middle of the room tho there is no security guard. I have no idea what I’m doing.

I head back out and ask the man standing outside the fenced entrance how the hell do I get in? He tells me there’s another building I have to go to: Cosgrove.

I ask him if he can show me.


As we walk around the corner the man asks me if I’ve ever sold pills before. I’m tell him I sold hardware in the past and before I know it I’m being interviewed for position as a pill pusher.

He asks me how I can prove I can sell. I tell him I do whatever it takes to get my product in the customer’s hand. He nods in approval and pulls out a round brown pill that says R166. He tells me to take it and see what it does. I swallow with little hesitation. It’s just one of those days.

As we walk down the street was pass a row of cars parked along the curb. He asks me to check the handles for an unlocked door. I oblige, again not really processing what the hell I’m doing. I just need to find the cosgrove building and hopefully get a free meal. I do enjoy my brief career as a thief and drug pusher tho.


Inside Cosgrove I’m told to wait in line to get placed into a program. I wait an hour and never get anywhere. Stressed, I leave and head downstairs to the soup kitchen. I fill out a yellow form and am handed a red ticket.

Lunch is pretty good. Beef steak tips and mashed potatoes with a side of mixed vegetables and a handful of goldfish crackers. The crackers amuse me but I don’t bitch. A free meal is a free meal and this shit ain’t bad considering the circumstances. My waist will probably regret all the carbs tho.

A voice comes to me again. I’m ready to pass out. It tells me to go back to the shelter and sleep. I try to reason with it that I don’t have a bed yet. It insists and I oblige.

Inside the shelter I find an empty bed and lay down. I sleep for about an hour before being woke by a security guard who kicks me out. They tell me to put on my hoodie as well.


I don’t understand why the voice does this to me and yet I’m thankful I’ve gotten rest. I’m ready to pass out and even the scant hour I use for rest is enough to calm me. I can’t explain the torture I’ve been thru in the past, and yet here I am ready to talk about it. It begins with lack of sleep.

Sometimes when I lay down to sleep in Toledo I see images in my eyes. They’re hard to describe but it’s always a series of images that change after a few seconds. They’re always in black and white, and appear at random. I’ve seen doctors in my head and ballet team dance.

Before I left to Cleveland I missed a day of sleep and tried to take a nap in my mom’s bedroom. As I put my head down and closed my eyes the images appeared. Black and white movies of pilgrims gathering water from a water wheel. A gun.

My eyes pop open.

I walk 3 miles thru the East Side to downtown Toledo and purchase a ticket to New York City because a voice in my head says shits about to get dark in Toledo.


Torture is hard to describe. For me it begins with sleep deprivation. After Trump won the election my life became a downward spiral, but it always began with sleep deprivation. There is no voice, no reason, no sanity.

I try to lay my head down and feel a force pull it up again. My eyes droop and my mind begins to shut down and I try again. Again my head pops up. Night 1.

Night 2 involves an involuntary control of my arm. It keeps shaking like I have Parkinson’s disease. I call it Frankenstein arm. I want to shoot myself.

A voice tells me to piss on my bedroom floor. A headache forces me to oblige. I try to scream but my voice is muffled. My mom down the hall in her own bedroom looks bewildered as I try to calm myself down, not aware of all the pain that is going thru my head. It’s 4 hours of pacing a hallway and having Frankenstein arm, followed by an hour rest. Then my eyes pop open again and I go for round 2. 4 hours of hand shaking and pacing. My mind is screaming and yet my voice is restrained. Another hour of rest. 4 hours to go.

Outside is snow and cold weather, enough to make one shoot themselves. I go for a walk and last 4 blocks before I give up. It’s my only respite from the headache and wrist shake.

Back home is more pacing and more headaches. I beg my mom to call an ambulance. You don’t want to know what it feels like to be chastised for not taking lithium and being strapped into a chair in the back of that fucking red bus. I worry I might jump out of the back and kill myself.

Not this time tho.

I sleep okay that night and realize torture may never end.

I’ve been experiencing torture from an unknown source now for 5 years, going back to 2012. It’s always sleep deprivation. Uncontrolled arm movement. Unbearable headaches. Sometimes my eyes roll in my head and I feel a pain that I don’t even have the vocabulary to describe.

There’s been 2 unbearable sources of pains that only the voice can help me describe.

The 1st was the robot.

I’m in an ER at St. Charles Hospital in Oregon Ohio at 4 am and am trying to pass out. A force takes over my body and I feel a chainsaw tear across my brain. I’m told this is what shock therapy feels like.

Another force takes over my body and forces me to pace up and down the ER floor as my fingers of my left hand move uncontrollably. It’s like I’m becoming a machine, feeling indescribable horror and pain, and unable to express any feeling of it. Nurses don’t even look on in curiosity nor offer medicine. Where is God?


The 2nd instance is the chainsaw feeling again, again which must be deduced to be similar to shock therapy.

I’m living with my dad this time, the year now 2014. It’s fall and I’m feeling sleep deprived again. The doctor’s blame bipolar disorder. I’m convinced it’s an outside force controlling me.

I wake up at 4 am again and feel a force take over my brain. It feels like a clamp is locking down on my temples and forehead and then the buzzsaw comes. I have to move to survive. I go for a walk outside and go down the street. I beg for a gun. The voice says keep going. I pass out after an hour. I haven’t felt the buzzsaw since.

Torture is hard to describe and impossible to forget. And even harder to find meaning when it comes from a force that can’t be seen but only felt.

I’m told I have bipolar disorder, feel I have schizophrenia, and deep within my bones know I’m not crazy. As I said, there’s something outside of me forcing me to feel this way. And that’s all I want to say.

As I wait for my caseworker to assign me a bunk at 2100 Lakeside I feel a pulsing beat in my chest and realize my heart is going thru stress and torture. Sitting is impossible, and I’m basically stuck in a small room where pacing is impractical. I hate feeling locked in but it’s winter outside and I’ll die of hypothermia if I don’t get a bed.

I pace it out anyway, followed by sitting, followed by pacing. It takes 3 hours to see someone. I survive and am assigned a bed.

A shitty night awaits.


to be continued…


About Michael Medlen

My name is Michael and during my free time I avoid having a day job. Strangely enough, this gives me the freedom to run this blog. I write just about anything that can be considered art. I also occasionally post articles that may or may not be relevant to the theme of this site. You’ve been warned.
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