Gemma Collins is known for being a bright, vibrant, funny, and direct television personality. Her fame started on The Only Way is Essex. She then entered other reality TV shows such as I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Celebrity Big Brother and Dancing on Ice, where her infamous skating mishap occurred.
Collins soon became a household name. She is always portrayed as the confident character who has no filter. This documentary was a change of pace and style for Gemma. She discusses her self-harm as a young adult and how this grew to affect her as an adult. This showed her true side, instead of that of ‘the GC’.
In the documentary, Collins spoke to a therapist about not understanding why she self-harmed. She stated that she never wanted to kill herself yet, with the pressures of celebrity life building, she found it her only release. It became a moment of pain to forget the other stresses and anxieties that were going on in her life.
A Generational Gap
Later in the documentary, Collins spoke to her mother Joan. Gemma excused the lack of understanding of her issues through a generational difference. It was painful to see a mother believe her daughter’s self-harm was a ‘fad’ or ‘something she had seen and then copied from TV’.
Gemma went on to explain the seriousness of the situation to her mother, as she tried to always defend her family and the happy upbringing that she received. The love between them is evident. Yet the persistent pressure to be happy and confident in part took the opposite effect. It became clear that Gemma was unable to express the whole spectrum of emotions. It was highlighted how all emotions must be experienced and accepted as a child to be able to have healthy coping mechanisms.
Statistics of Self Harm
In the programme, the shocking statistics show that self-harm increased by 70% in the last decade according to the data from the British Medical Journal. This proves just how serious this issue has become. The documentary also states how a Young Minds Survey highlighted that more than one third of 16 to 25-year-olds in Britain have self-harmed. Further investigations and preventative measures need to be put into place for people to be able to feel their emotions without judgment. People must accept what they are feeling, learn how to cope, and find healthy ways of what to do when they become overwhelmed by these unwavering pressures.
The documentary was very well received by the public, although Gemma highlighted the negativity and abuse from trolls via social media that she received when she announced that it was being filmed.
Quotes such as ‘I heard she cuts her arm and gravy comes out’, ‘The only thing she can cut is her food’, and other disturbing comments surrounding Gemma’s weight would make anyone feel unbelievably insecure. This showed the tiniest snippet into the amount of abuse and negativity that celebrities go through, which in turn can form the type of pressure they can then no longer cope with.
Gemma concludes the documentary by highlighting how important it is to ask for help. She feels that, if she’d done this sooner, she would have prevented herself from a lot more pain.
Ask for Help
To anyone who is struggling, or if you know anyone who is going through something where they feel they are lost and that no one can help, get in touch with self-harm crisis centres such as ‘Harmless’. Speak to an adult or a member of staff in a school, or university. Speak to people in your workplace who will assist with your mental health and your physical wellbeing. You are not alone.
Gemma managed to demonstrate – by investigating her behaviour patterns and the past, as well as speaking to other victims of self-harm – that there is life beyond this painful and crippling mental illness. Help is there.