Author’s Note: I wrote this piece three years ago during a dark period in my life. Propublica picked it up when I published it on my Wordpress blog, using my experience as evidence of neglect in the court case brought against the hospital. I am publishing it here since I am shutting down my Wordpress blog and want to keep my experience alive.
More allegations of sexual abuse at Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, already under government scrutiny, have surfaced.
America is great if you're rich. Just look at Kanye West. Or the countless other celebrities that come out having a mental illness and become icons of bravery. You can have a mental illness and go to lush, private facilities dedicated to wellbeing and health.
Those of us with poor health insurance, who have to rely on underpaid, undertrained, uncaring health professionals are having the exact same treatment as our 19th-century peers.
Mental Health treatment in the West has improved somewhat from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Gone are Lobotomies and Water Sheeting.
Yet, the mentally ill are continual scapegoats for larger societal problems. Every time there is a mass shooting, mental illness is to blame.
This is my experience trapped in a Chicago mental hospital for five days:
In the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd—a catalyst that sparked a new civil rights movement—the prosecution and the defense are focusing intently on Floyd’s substance abuse struggle.
I like to think of myself as a Near Future author like Margaret Atwood or William Gibson, but I just scribbles nonsense. Back in 2004, I wrote my thesis on the rise of Populism, Autocracy, and an emerging president who fancied himself a tin pot dictator in the coming 15 years.
Instead, we got Trump. A buffoon who aspires to all of those things but can only seem to remember 5 words. And then calls a dementia test an IQ test.
The Stanford-Binet developers disgustedly flicked cigarette ash in tepid coffee and became numb. Stupidity became the law of the land.
So, yeah, I might have got something right. Too bad it’s taking the destruction of all that’s good in the world to prove my thesis.
I want to go back to 2004. Even if it was W. Bush.
I’m obsessed with HBO’s Westworld. The show’s melding of philosophy and technology is something I’ve always followed and is always present in my writing. In fact, my first book dealt directly with the themes present in Westworld—a robot (or hologram in my story) programmed to be killed over and over, becoming sentient and exhibiting Free Will.
My book deals with an AI woman who is programmed to be killed. No matter what the user does, the program will run its course and the woman will be killed at the end. Except for one program that has a glitch and creates sexual desire. Self-destruction forming a new being. So, that's why I'm interested in all this.
Early last year, Reggie Ugwu wrote an extremely interesting article where he interviewed a Theoretical Physicist about the themes presented in Westworld and the tv show Devs. Both shows deal with Determinism and Free Will. I was absolutely absorbed by the article and it created a new obsession for me: researching philosophy on Determinism and Free Will.