HBO's 'Sharp Objects' Shows Depictions of Self-Harm


Editor's Note

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

There’s an allusion to self-harm in HBO’s “Sharp Objects” trailer, but it’s easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The eight-part limited series is based on a book by Gillian Flynn, the author of “Gone Girl,” and is being advertised as a dark, murder-mystery that follows a journalist reporting on murders in her hometown.

What’s not as clear from the promotion is that the main character, Camille Preaker (played by Amy Adams), struggles with self-harm. Although the trailer does show her holding a razor, it’s not super obvious what it’s for, and it’s easy to miss.

This matters because if you’re someone who struggles with self-harm, the sight of Camille cutting — and of her body covered with self-harm scars — might be triggering. Self-harm scars are nothing to be ashamed of, but from what reviewers have written so far, it’s possible they’re shown in a “shocking” or intense way.

As one writer from TIME wrote:

An alcoholic and a cutter, Camille sustains herself throughout the day by taking sips from a water bottle she covertly fills with vodka and pressing her fingers into those small iPhone fissures. She wears long sleeves to cover bigger wounds: the words she has literally carved into her skin. When the first episode of the show premiered at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, the sight of Camille’s exposed and scarred flesh drew gasps from the audience.

If you’re struggling with self-harm or are currently in self-harm recovery, you may want to think twice before watching “Sharp Objects.” If you do watch it, watch with a friend or someone you trust. There’s also nothing wrong with shutting it off once you’ve started or skipping scenes that focus on self-harm. While some people who struggle with self-harm might not be affected by the imagery at all, it might affect you — and that’s OK. Everyone’s different.

It’s unclear whether the show depicts self-harm in a romanticized or inappropriate way. In the meantime, take care of yourself. Your mental health is more important than a show.

If you struggle with self-harm, here are some resources that might help you:

 “Sharp Objects” premieres on HBO July 8.

Lead image via HBO’s Youtube.


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