I have a weird fascination with murder and I’m not afraid to admit it.
I just stepped back to admire my first sentence there, and realized it reads all wrong. I want to make clear that I’m not a murderer, and that it’s true crime and the psychology and all of that that is interesting to me. Also, note that I did not say I “love” murder – I said I am fascinated by it.
So to be clear: I do not murder, and I do not condone murdering.
Murder is something I just cannot truly empathize with on any level. I’ve never been a murderer and I’ve never been murdered. Sure, I’m somewhat on the lookout for murderers and take the necessary steps to avoid being murdered, but in general? I can’t really get on the same level as anyone (real or fictional) involved in a murder. So it is something I can observe comfortably and find interesting, without feeling overly emotional about it.
If I watch a movie about Jeffrey Dahmer and I can sleep soundly that night. If instead I watch Marley and Me, I lose my shit and cry softly into my pillow all week. It’s not like I don’t feel horrible for the people Dahmer killed; I do sympathize with their families etc. Of course I do. But since it’s just not something I could conceive of, let alone have experienced, I find it incredibly captivating.
I think that to explain my fascination best would be to compare myself to the wonderful ladies who run the podcast My Favourite Murder. Immediately click here and listen to them if you’ve never heard of it. The podcast is run by who female comedians who share my fascination, and quickly discovered that over 100,000 other people share the interest. I guess their combination of comedy and murder is just fucked up enough to love.
I listen to murder podcasts in my car. I watch murder documentaries on Netflix (my most recent favourite: please go watch The Keepers right now). I love to watch horror movies by myself.
You’d think that someone with depression, anxiety, and panic disorders would almost certainly not be interested in anything to do with murder. But for me, since I do not share any of the situational emotions portrayed in a horror flick, it actually is my favourite little escape from reality (aside from napping and Ativan).
When I’m watching a horror movie and the woman running back into the house and upstairs (idiot!!! you never run back into the house!!!) I don’t share any of the terrified feelings she has. I’ve never been chased by a knife-brandishing lunatic, and I’m comfy cozy on my couch in my warm house. My mind is running around and getting spooked and scared momentarily, but I don’t align with that real fear that’s on the TV.
If I’m depressed, I cannot watch a sad movie. Or even a happy movie, because there are always sad parts. Someone’s loved and lost? WHELP. NOW I AM REMINDED OF MY OWN LOST LOVES AND FEEL IT TOO. Feeling lonely in the big city? THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME RELIVE THOSE YEARS. Wedding planning gone hilariously wrong? I GET IT. I’M 33 AND UNMARRIED.
I find it very helpful to watch a group of dumb teenagers try to outwit and serial killer and make stupid survival mistakes that cost 70% of their lives. I am certainly not reminded of the time I successfully (or unsuccessfully) outran a crazed axe murderer. Therefore, I can watch it and not be affected in a lingering way.
It’s actually my go-to when I’m really stressed or upset. I flip on Netflix and find something with at least 2 stars (when it comes to horror, anything with more than a 2-star rating is considered decent) and indulge.
I listen to my podcasts in my car when I’m alone, because it helps me detach from the anxiety of going wherever I’m going (like, say, the grocery store. Where interaction with strangers is impending). I also listen when I’m cooking dinner or doing chores around the house. I get super drawn in an don’t even notice the lame tasks I’m doing.
The best part is that the fact that these podcasts exist mean I am not alone, and that I do not need to be (further) analyzed by a psychiatrist for it. It’s actually pretty normal and common. I mean, don’t tell me you’ve never been drawn into watching Forensic Files or went into a Wikipedia wormhole regarding Charles Manson. I think everyone is curious about it on some level.
…Now everything is awkward.
As my favourite MFM ladies would say: “stay sexy; don’t get murdered. Byeeee.”