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Bottom Rung by Agyei M. Ekundayo

Updated: May 24, 2019


God doesn’t like me. Or at least he has a funny way of telling me he isn’t ready for me yet. You see, I masterminded an elaborate plan to remove myself from the last nerve of so many I know, one foggy night back in 2011. I had convinced myself that I no longer served a purpose because my life was a total cluster fuck. Obesity crippled me. Muscle spasms shot fireworks from spleen to spine. Panic attacks suffocated me multiple times per day. Dean what’s her face told me that I wasn’t good enough and that I should drop out of grad school. I disagreed with her, but followed her directives anyway. Migraines pounded while blurred vision shook my very frame. Supervisor Cindy told me that I shouldn’t have accepted her offer if an office environment wasn’t ideal. (I didn’t put it those exact terms). She gave me my walking papers a month before I got evicted. And to top it all off, the staff at UNC Neurosciences Hospital tried to kill me.

I felt like a total failure. I let myself down and every social service agency that convinced a neighboring assistance program that I was worth taking a chance on. I couldn’t do anything right. Not in my mind. I won’t say I heard voices. But I kept having reoccurring thoughts about emptying the medicine cabinet. Thoughts about going to sleep and never waking up to face the reality of my hopeless life. Thoughts on how I could escape quietly and only be found weeks later after the stench of my rotten flesh soured the neighborhood air.

One of many incompetent doctors prescribed me Trazadone. I forget how many milligrams. At this point, my brain is fried. I do remember that one pill would knock me out for at least 12 hours. Even when I begged him to, he wouldn’t lower the dosage. He said that I needed a high dose because my mental state was so dire. I disagreed. Sooo an idea popped into my head not long after the racing thoughts finally slowed. Hmmm. If one pill knocked me out for 12 hours and left me with brain fog for damn near two days, maybe I could take 3 pills and fall asleep right away. From behind the wheel. Yeah! I thought that I could take 3 pills, get nice and sleepy, to a point of dangerously operating a car, run red lights all the way to the hospital (of all places), and crash into the ER parking lot wall. That way, I could have the last word and UNC would have no other choice but to believe that my feelings were valid. Let’s just say a few things thwarted that plan.

For starters, I never got sleepy. I watched the clock change from PM to AM within minutes and nothing. No deathly slow heart rate, like usual. No immediate yawning. No clumsiness. Not even so much as a belch. I figure I could get sleepy if I drove in the dark long enough. The fog suddenly cleared. I tried speeding down the road in hopes of disrupting bar crowd traffic with all of my available organs if I didn’t make it to the hospital. There was no traffic. I even looked around to see if I could solicit sex from some random guy that wouldn’t mind disposing of me. Not even the homeless was out that night. I finally gave up and voluntarily committed myself. What was God trying to tell me?

To this day, I’m still not 100% sure. But I do know that hospital visit changed the trajectory of this mental illness life that I’m trying to currently manage. I met my Disability attorney. She’s a registered nurse by training and almost undefeated in the state of North Carolina. She helped me file my initial application with just a 4-day window. This magical woman held my hand through 3 appeals, multiple doctors, 3 additional inpatient stays, and kept tabs on me through 6 months of sofa surfing. I was finally approved in February, 2012 and have been slowly piecing myself together ever since.

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