Gemma Collins kept her struggles with self-harm as a teenager a secret because she worried she would be sent to a mental asylum and would never see friends and family again.
The former TOWIE cast member has frankly discussed her past issues with mental health in a new documentary for Channel 4.
Ahead of the airing of Gemma Collins: Self Harm and Me, the reality TV star told the Mirror she would cut herself on the arm "every couple of months" amid bullying and stress at school.
"I never ever understood why I did it. People don’t self-harm because they want to kill themselves. It’s really complex," said Collins.
Watch: Gemma Collins reveals suicidal thoughts after James Argent break-up
She added: “When I was growing up you didn’t talk about your problems or aired your dirty laundry in public.
“So when I started self-harming I couldn’t tell anyone because I was thinking I’m going to get locked up, not going to see my family or friends and I’m going to be in a mental asylum my whole life.”
Collins revealed that on one occasion, when she was 13, she cut her arm with a kitchen knife in front of her family.
She said: “My parents were in the kitchen and I just walked in. I think I’d done it before, but it was a bit of a cry for help. I did it in front of them and they were just in shock.
“There was this silence and we never spoke about it again."
Collins said she last cut herself a decade ago, when she was struggling to deal with the pressure she was feeling as one of the main cast members of TOWIE.
Her then-partner Rami Hawash discovered her doing it and helped to wrap up her arm on that occasion.
She said: "He sorted everything out and he was very scared and it just never left him. I don’t know why but I think I was scared by the realisation of how bad it actually is because for me it just became normal.”
Collins and Hawash later split, but have since rekindled their romance and are now planning their wedding as well as trying for a baby.
Gemma Collins: Self Harm And Me will air on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday 16 February.
Watch: Gemma Collins engaged to Rami Hawash