The Good and Bad of Watching The Keepers as a Sexual Assault Survivor

July 25, 2017: This post has been featured on The Mighty as “The Pros and Cons of Watching ‘The Keepers’ as a Sexual Abuse Survivor”.

Trigger Warning: This post discusses sexual assault and mentions suicidal ideation. If you need support, you can call RAINN/National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, or text “Start” to 741741 to reach the anonymous Crisis Text Line.

a7862cb83f54fcb6b2a5375a4061e1cb60ad83d7

Released in May 2017, the Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary series The Keepers examines the decades-old unsolved murder of beloved Catholic School Teacher Sister Cathy Cesnick in Baltimore. The series connects the nun’s disappearance and murder to the claims of sexual abuse filed against the then-chaplain of Archbishop Keogh High School by former-students in the 1990’s. Through interviews and conversations with former Keogh students, The Keepers pieces together the story of Sister Cathy, the dark testimonies of mistreatment by chaplain Father Maskell, and the ways in which the cases may have been mishandled by Baltimore police or repressed by the Catholic Church.

As a lover of true-crime, I was very excited for the series’ release, but as a sexual assault survivor, I was afraid to watch it. My abusers were not members of the clergy, but any stories or images of sexual abuse can trigger me and send me into a state of hypervigilance and panic. Fueled by curiosity and perhaps a bit of masochism, I turned it on, against my better judgment. The first episode of The Keepers is harmless enough (as far as brutal, unsolved murders go), so I decided to continue, naively unaware of the truly horrifying narrative ahead. Continue reading “The Good and Bad of Watching The Keepers as a Sexual Assault Survivor”

Advertisements

What I Want to Tell My Friends About My Recent Social Isolation

July 7, 2017: This post has been featured on The Mighty as “To the Friends I’ve Pushed Away While Working Through My Mental Illness.”

Photo from Pexels

Lately, I’ve been feeling very guilty. I wish I didn’t feel that way. I wish I could easily tell myself that I’m taking care of me, and that I’m not responsible for how other people feel, or what other people are doing, or how other people react to me. But I can’t. Not yet, anyway. I’m working on my ability to separate my own feelings from others’, and as someone who has internalized others’ feelings my entire life, it isn’t an easy process. Continue reading “What I Want to Tell My Friends About My Recent Social Isolation”

Automatic Thoughts and the Song Stuck in Your Head

May 16, 2017: This post has been featured on The Mighty as “When ‘I Want to Die’ Replays Like a Song Stuck in My Head”

Note: This post discusses suicide ideation and may be triggering. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


I want to die.

This is a thought that plays over and over in my head, endlessly, without prompting or any feasible substance behind it. I want to die. I want to die. To die. Die. And I have no real reason for this. I have no evidence as to why I should die, or any idea of why this desire is so strong. I can’t say, “I want to die because…[fill in the blank].” There is no blank. There is nothing. But it’s there, all the same. The words, like a tape on loop, playing until I can’t stand to hear them anymore. I want to die. I want to die. I want to die. Continue reading “Automatic Thoughts and the Song Stuck in Your Head”