It is true that severe mental illnesses are found more often among mass murderers. About one in five are likely psychotic or delusional, according to Dr. Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University who maintains a database of 350 mass killers going back more than a century. The figure for the general public is closer to 1 percent.
But the rest of these murderers do not have any severe, diagnosable disorder. Though he was abusive to his wife, Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, had no apparent serious mental illness. Neither did Stephen Paddock, who mowed down 58 concertgoers from a hotel window in Las Vegas.
Ditto for Dylann Roof, the racist who murdered nine African-American churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015, and Christopher Harper-Mercer, the angry young man who killed nine people at a community college in Oregon the same year. more
One may assume that following the incredibly romanticized trope of psych wards in popular films, patients are too assuaged with the pain of self-hatred or insane medicinal cocktails to care about eating. False.
What they don’t tell you in the goddamn admitting office is that you won’t sleep your first night, or your last, and that the sum of days wedged between it will begin to seep into one another until they collectively become a turgid hunk of days into night into day again.
This is sundered only by mealtimes, of which there are three. They are spaced incredibly close, and are completely unaccommodating to the insomniac, the manic, the psychotic, the orally fixated, addicts, the depressed. All of which were being housed at M——— Hospital’s psych ward, myself included. We’re directed by the staff to shuffle in at 8 AM, 12 PM, and 5 PM, though the time of service often depended on the whim of the worker serving. (The fourth day I’m there, the food attendant does not serve us until his basketball team scores.) more