Anita Rani reveals how she turned to self-harm to cope as a teenager

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Anita Rani has opened up about her self-harm battle following teenage pressures. (Getty Images)
Anita Rani has opened up about her self-harm battle following teenage pressures. (Getty Images)

TV and radio presenter Anita Rani has opened up about her battle with self-harming as a teenager.

The Woman's Hour presenter, 43, said it gave her a "release" from pressure as a teenager.

She told Mail On Sunday's You magazine: "The only time I felt I gained some control over my life and felt some kind of release, felt something, was in those moments when I’d sit in my room and cut myself and watch the blood slowly appear from under my skin.

"I found it both terrifying and satisfying. I felt alive and present and, in those moments, thought about nothing else. Nothing.

"I just focused on the pain and the blood and it was a sweet relief from the rest of my life."

Last year, a study found that more than a quarter of girls in the UK had self-harmed by the age of 17.

Rani – who is married to technology executive Bhupi Rehal – discusses the distressing chapter of her life in her upcoming memoir, The Right Sort Of Girl.

The BBC star said that she wanted to be honest about the experience for "the 16-year-old me sitting up in Bradford".

Rani said she is also keen to fight stigma: "I don’t think people expect someone on the telly to have gone through something like that."

The Countryfile host grew up in Yorkshire and was sent to a private school by her hardworking parents, who were determined to use education to give her a "boost", and used "every single penny" from their clothing company to do so.

It was in contrast to other areas of her upbringing where she suggested women were treated like servants or possessions.

Rani recalls being told by her grandma "we don't celebrate girls", yet such prejudices in some quarters of her family provided "fuel" for her career.

Last year, the presenter told Good Housekeeping about the struggles she had faced as a British-Asian presenter.

She said: "People think we’re quite square and clever and that we don’t have sex until we’re married (of course, Mother, I didn’t have sex until I got married!). 

"But that’s just not the case. I’ve hated being put into boxes my whole life."

She added: "Ridiculous things all the time, such as people thinking it’s OK to imitate an Indian accent in front of me. And things have happened at work, too.

“Ask any ethnic, Black or Asian person who works in any big industry – we just know we have to work a bit harder."

Watch: Celebrities reveal their mental health struggles

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