Summer can be a pretty tough time if you are dealing acne, scars and other skin problems, and it can be pretty easy to let it take over your life. Well, at Ditch the Label, we don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun because they are feeling anxious. That’s why we caught up Kali Kushner, a.k.a. @myfacestory, about her skin journey and how to improve your skin confidence.

Why did you start @myfacestory?

I started @myfacestory at a time that I felt very alone with my skin. I remember constantly looking around in my college courses for others with the same condition, and being the only one with cystic acne. I started my Instagram account to both track my progress on Accutane and hopefully connect with others who struggled with their skin as well. 

You seem to really embrace your skin struggles – what was the turning point for you with feeling good about it? 

The turning point with skin acceptance for me came down to control and happiness. I realized that I couldn’t always control my breakouts, and in constantly failing at doing so it made me very unhappy. In letting go of control over my breakouts, I began accepting my skin. I may not ever have completely perfect skin, some scars, a pimple here and there, hyperpigmentation, but I am very happy with my journey and how far I’ve come! Realizing that being acne prone means that yes, I can work on improving my skin, but the goal should never be perfection. For me, it’s much easier to love and accept myself than constantly trying to change myself. 


Did you find you ever got much negative feedback on your Instagram? How have you overcome or dealt with it? 

When I first started my Instagram, I received a lot of negative feedback mostly from people who were ignorant on the subject of acne or those who have learned cultural stereotypes associated with blemished skin (drink water, wash your face, etc.) Over time, through the acne community we have been able to open the conversation up about skin, so there is much less shame, people are becoming educated on the subject, and there aren’t as many stereotypes. I do think that I have gotten less negative feedback over the years by opening up the conversation around acne. When I first started my account, I sometimes let negative comments effect my mood but now I don’t really give them a second thought. 

What do you think of the skin positivity movement?

I think the skin positivity movement is much needed. If you think about it, skin issues are rarely portrayed in the media. In movies, TV shows, magazines, and especially beauty media; you never see acne, scars, or hyperpigmentation anywhere. It’s practically been erased from history and is culturally taught to be something to be ashamed about when in fact its normal, it happens! People need to know not to be ashamed of their skin and that it is OK to have acne, it doesn’t make them any less of a human.

My account is to share my own journey, provide product recommendations I feel that have helped me, and provide some inspirational insight when needed. I am not a dermatologist or estheticianso I do not feel qualified to help others with their skin in that sense but am happy to help people change their mindset when it comes to how they view themselves or their skin! 

What advice could you give to a young person struggling with their skin? 

It gets better and it doesn’t last forever. This is what I used to tell myself and it is so true! Eventually, acne will (and physically has to) go away. It’s funny when you’re in the moment you think things are so definite, but now not even 5 years later I can barely remember what it was like having cystic acne so severe. I always ask myself; will this matter in 5, 10, 15 years?

Also, that acne doesn’t define you! You are still the same beautiful, wonderful person regardless of what your skin looks like. You are worthy of all things good and can accomplish anything, don’t let your skin hold you back! 


Do you have any tips for someone who might struggle with embracing their skin for the summer?

If you’re struggling with embracing your skin this summer know that you’re not alone! It has taken me a long time to get comfortable going out barefaced. First, I started with a quick trip outside, then to the grocery, and now I’m able to spend a full day at the pool or beach without giving my skin a second thought. It starts with baby steps and slowly getting comfortable seeing yourself without makeup on. Of course, makeup can be used as a creative tool to express yourself, but if you’re using it because you feel insecure you should be asking yourself “why?” and see what steps you can take to banish these insecurities.  

What has been the best thing about your skin positivity journey? 

The best thing about my skin journey has been meeting all the other people who deal with the same condition as well. It has helped me feel less alone and we’ve built this wonderful community that aims to support one another. Without this community I wouldn’t have the confidence or any of the wonderful opportunities to talk about skin positivity like I do today! I am so grateful for this community.

For more from Kali, make sure you follow her Instagram @myfacestory for all things skin care and skin confidence

If you are struggling with confidence this summer and feel like you want to talk to someone about it, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

As part of Men’s Health Week 2019, influencer, model and mental health advocate Max Hovey talks about his journey with social anxiety, and gives his 4 top tips to helping you cope with it.

Did they just look at me? I don’t feel comfortable today. No clothes suit me. What if I annoy them? What if they don’t want to talk to me anymore? Am I being too needy? What if I’m not needy enough? Do I look ok? There are too many people here. Why don’t I look like them? 

Social anxiety. I’m not saying you need to have said ALL of the above to yourself to have social anxiety – don’t worry, it’s not a checklist. What I have learned over the years is that social anxiety can manifest in so many different ways, and everyone can experience it differently. I’m Max by the way, and I struggle with social anxiety. 


A few years ago, my friend told me that she did too, way before I even knew what it was. When she told me, I remember thinking to myself ‘she’s always so confident? She loves performing in front of people? She seems so confident in her appearance? She always seems so bubbly and happy to speak out?’ This can be a pretty common misconception about social anxiety – that you can’t have any confidence and don’t like public speaking or ANY form of attention. 

Over the years I have been learning a lot about myself and have realized that I have social anxiety. It’s weird, because for anyone that knows me personally or that follows my Instagram, they will probably see me as being quite confident, and happy to put myself forward publicly. I also love public speaking and talking in front of groups, and I’m also pretty confident in front of a camera (duh). 

Whilst all that is true, it doesn’t mean I don’t have anxiety. My social anxiety stems from relationships. I can be in a great place, feeling confident, happy with my appearance, career, education, and generally feeling pretty damn wonderful in my life. Then a boy comes on the scene, and holy shit everything changes. My confidence is shattered, and I end up critically judging everything, from what I say, to how I act, to what I wear. My self-esteem can just evaporate. Anxiety can be a lot to deal with, and I am still a work in progress, but I still wanted to share my tips for dealing with it. 


Max’s Top Tips for Dealing with Social Anxiety 

Am I going to wake up, be fierce and achieve everything today? OR am I going to wake up with a crushing pain in my stomach, panic in brain and just want to cry? WHO KNOWS! My point is that no one should stereotype or stigmatize social anxiety. Everyone experiences it differently, everyone has good and bad days, and everyone copes with it differently. Here are a few things you could try to try to take the edge off. 

1) Be kind

We have no idea what a person may be going through. Give them that compliment, boost their mood, make someone smile for NO reason at all other than the fact that you can.

2) Talk to someone

Like I said, we have no idea what someone is going through, and that includes you. We can give you compliments; we can try and boost your mood and make you smile, but sometimes what can really help is allowing us to understand how you’re truly feeling. So, open up to someone you can trust, believe me, it helps.

3) Try a thought diary

Literally type CBT thought diary into an app store and you’re bound to find it. It’s a great way of writing down what’s going through your head, and training your brain to spot your irrational thoughts, and turn them into something positive before you get carried away. I’ve tried it and believe me it works.

4) BREATHE

Like you’d think it’d be obvious but you have no idea the impact that it can have. Focusing on your breath brings you into the present, as we know anxiety is normally worrying about something that has not and may not even happen, so just taking a moment to breath can help you distance yourself from those thoughts. It can also calm your physical symptoms too, bringing your heartbeat back to normal, and halting that feeling of panic.

I’m not saying this is necessarily going to work for you. Sometimes these techniques don’t work for me, so I try something else. But the main thing is to practice, keep trying the same and new methods. Things will not get better over the night, but one thing is certain – they will get better. 

For more from Max, check out his Instagram @max_hovey

If you are struggling with anxiety, or have anything else going on that you want to talk about, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

We caught up with singer-songwriter Sody on her new single, her experiences of bullying and what the future holds for her. Check out her new single The Bully on Spotify, YouTube, iTunes and Apple Music.

Hey Sody, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hey! I’m Sody, my real name is Sophie, and I’m a recording artist and songwriter. I am 18, from West London and a Netflix addict with an obsession for cheese. I’m quite strong minded and try to write music that is raw and relatable that is directly about my personal experiences.

Were you bullied at school?

I first experienced bullying in year 7 and 8 by various people in different year groups because I had acne. I remember so clearly a boy in the year above me called me ‘volcano head’ which made me so insecure. I tried to cover it up with makeup but that would only make my skin worse. I would sweat in class for fear people were staring at my face and neck. It was a horrible time and I felt disgusting.

I was lucky enough to go on a tablet which cleared up all my spots and it felt so good to come back into school at the beginning of year 9 with clear skin and newly dyed hair – I was now a platinum blonde. But the bullying didn’t stop there as that’s when I released music as ‘Sody’, and people found a new reason to tease me.

Album artwork for the song The Bully by Sody


You have just released your new single, how does it feel? What inspired the song?

It does feel good but I was also incredibly anxious and nervous to release ‘The Bully’. We all want to feel popular because somehow we think that brings worth and so telling the world that actually you don’t have a cool friendship group is quite scary.

Society seems to think that only certain people are likely to be bullied but the truth is anyone, anywhere, can be bullied, whether that’s at school, at work or at home. I felt so strongly about telling other people what happened to me at school in the hope they realise they’re not alone!

What are your experiences of bullying?

My experiences have been in person and online. Sometimes, people were upfront with the bullying, other times it would be through leaving me out and ignoring my existence, groups of people taunting me and of course via social media. People in my school would also encourage students at other schools to dislike me too, so I had no chance of going anywhere else and starting over.

About 6 months after I had left that school, I was invited to go back to the annual rugby match that students and alumni could go to. I knew in my heart that I shouldn’t have gone but if I’m honest I still wanted to believe there was a chance I could be friends with some of them, and a couple of girls had told me how excited they were to see me.

However, when I arrived, some of the girls were saying ‘why the f*&k is she here’, one girl said that she wanted to stamp on my face, and people were chanting ‘Sody, Sody, Sody.’ because they knew it bothered me when they didn’t call me Sophie.

To cut a long story short, I ended up leaving the after party after I was publicly humiliated by a bunch of girls who used to bully me at school. They were screaming at me that everyone hated me, that I wasn’t welcome to these events and I should just ‘f*&k off’ out of everyone’s lives. One girl even filmed it and posted it on Snapchat. No one stood up for me, so I left. But then about 50 people followed me out the door, laughing as I jumped into a taxi. I felt so alone, embarrassed, ashamed and I was truly devastated.

Portrait of Sody in a yellow jumper


How have you overcome that? How has your experience shaped you?

I overcame bullying by going to therapy and by finding an outlet. At first, I believed it was all my fault and that I was the problem. But you shouldn’t have to change who you are for anybody and I needed someone to tell me that. It definitely has shaped me into the woman I am today. All I know is that I want people to be aware of how harmful their words can be.

I put on this hard front but I was so broken because I didn’t have a friend I could talk to, ever. I still don’t have a best friend from my school days. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to not have found ‘your people’ in school as it’s just a bubble and when you leave school there are so many other people out there. I just had to keep reminding myself that there is so much more to life that what I was going through at the time. Music saved me!

We saw on your social media that you have been going around schools to talk about bullying – what drove you to do that?

I felt alone when I was being bullied. Yes, I had family around me which was a huge help but I wished there was someone my age who could understand what it felt like. I know there are many artists who have opened up about their experiences later in their careers but I really wanted to do this whilst it was so recent and raw. I feel like right now I am in the best position to speak to other young people about this stuff because I’m so close in age to them.

Sody sitting on the floor with white trainers and pink trousers


If you could any young person who is going through bullying right now any advice, what would it be?

Don’t keep it bottled up. Tell someone. It’s so hard, I know, but it will get better. Find an outlet and make sure something that makes you happy and stimulates you. Sing, go for a run, paint, bake a cake or write a poem — just do something that takes your mind away from those people and the stuff you are having to deal with. And, put your phone away! I realised that was a huge part of my unhappiness and once I separated myself from it, I felt better.

It’s such an exciting time for you right now – how are you feeling about the future?

Well I’m actually just about to go travelling around Europe for 3 weeks so I’m excited to experience new things and meet new people. Also, to take some time off from social media and just live in the moment. When I’m back I have a super busy schedule including a writing trip to LA, more music releases and my headline show on Monday 20th May at The Waiting Room in London. There’s a lot to be excited about right now!

You can check out Sody’s video for The Bully below!


‘Success is something you are taught to strive towards, and failure is more or less the end of the world, or at least thats how it felt in high school. We are always constantly told that you mustn’t fail, that you must succeed in everything you do.

Do you ever feel that sometimes everyone around you has never failed the way that you have and that they are constantly pushing you to strive to succeed? I find that we never really get taught how to fail, how to accept failure, how not to think less of yourself for failing and that only success is acceptable.



Well, here’s a lil story to show you that what you’re taught about success and failure isn’t so terrible and can actually be a good lesson in life. 

Now imagine after years of trying to find that one thing that makes you work harder, something that makes you want to do better, something that makes you feel like you could truly succeed in life, to then be told “no, this is not a career, try something else, What else do you like.” 

I like the arts, no actually I love the arts and I have worked too damn hard for too long to quit because you’re a professional and you say so!” 

To this day that’s how I wished I replied to the careers lady who sat me in a room and told me the one thing that I was passionate about was a waste of time and that it’s not a lucrative career. At that time my highest marks in my mock GCSEs were in creative and arts based subjects, so I automatically thought “Crap, I’m screwed!” 

From a very young age, since I could wiggle on my butt I’ve been dancing, doing gymnastic stunts, painting. I was a huge arts and crafts fan and in my teens and I loved going to an arts company that ran projects over school holidays. I had a plan that if I couldn’t create art as a living then maybe I could do dance somehow or study music, or maybe build a career in my new found favourite class at the time, photography. To be told in one go that the arts is not a career is like being told my whole life of aspirations and dreams were useless and a complete waste of time. It was like being told I had already failed at something I hadn’t even started yet.  

They asked me what else I liked doing except the arts and all I could think that made me happy was travelling. I loved flying, ending up in a new country, learning a new culture and adjusting to new surroundings. I guess thinking that studying tourism would be just as exciting was naive of me but I didn’t want to quit and feel I had failed again. I won’t lie I hated every minute of studying at college and university –  I mean wouldn’t you if you felt you had to study a subject you had no ambition for? 

To make matters worse, after finishing uni I went out to join the big world of employment, to only be told by another superior that, after an assessment, nobody would really want to employ me because I would probably be off work a lot due to my disability. Oh yes btw….. I have a disability, lol. In my mind that was another fail for me, so far the score was universe 3 & me zip, zilch, nada!



There was always so much emphasis onnot failing, and how important it is that we succeed because we are the future generation. From teachers, parents, guidance counsellors. Sound familiar? That’s a lot of pressure for anyone to deal with. Through all that I forgot that these people were there to guide me not live my life for me!  

Don’t worry, here comes the success – it’s not all doom, gloom and regret! “So what did she become?” “Where is she now?” you may ask. Well, let’s just say it’s better late then never to realise that failure isn’t the end of the world and that only I can steer my life in the right direction with a lil help from some great people.

Today I am the Co-Founder and the Marketing & Multi-media Coordinator of an Arts Company, a National & International Wheelchair Dance Champion and a Model all in between working as in admin for an SEN School. 

I have learned you have to have a little faith in yourself and only then can others have faith in you to succeed. I took a chance, and realised I didn’t have to spend my life studying subjects I didn’t like because I was told that my way was not an option. If I’m honest I’m amazed that, just by believing that I could achieve a little more and listening more to the people that believe in me, I could do all of these things. 

We are taught to strive for success and not to fail but in my life I realised that by failing I have been able to achieve so much more that I once found unimaginable. I think it means you should never give up on yourself, no matter how bad things may look. Without failure, we might never achieve our potential to succeed.’ 

You can follow Monique on Instagram @monique_dior_zebedee_model

Feeling like a failure and need a bit of support? Reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

What Are The Reasons and How Should You React?

Coming out is an incredibly scary idea for many, but it is even scarier when you have to tell your parents. The fear of impending doom that you might be rejected by your parents is crippling and leads to many people not coming out for years. Sadly, when some people come out, their parents do not react well. There are many reasons for this, and this guide will help you to understand why they may have responded this way.

REASONS FOR A BAD REACTION

THEY MAY HAVE OPINIONS WHICH AREN’T NECESSARILY WHAT THEY THINK

Depending on our upbringing, we learn certain points of views and opinions from our parents, wider family and community, religion, and friends. As this could be all we know when growing up, we may not be exposed to, or develop an opinion that is different to this. Also, these opinions may not represent what we actually think, but what we have learned from our role models.

Before I came out, my father said, “I don’t agree with gay people”. Therefore, I delayed coming out to him for years because of crippling fears that stemmed from this one comment. However, it is now clear to me that this opinion was due to his strict upbringing, and the reality is that he is very accepting. So, if your parents react badly, consider that their reaction may be based on opinions which aren’t what they actually think; it may just be how they were raised.

THEY MAY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE LOST THEIR CHILD

As being heterosexual is often assumed, a parent may consider this to be a core aspect of their child’s identity. So, when they find out that their child isn’t straight as they had assumed, this can lead to a crisis; an initial ‘rejection’ from them and may be why the parent(s) could say something like “You are not my child anymore”.

To the person that comes out, this is absolutely the last thing they want to hear. Coming out is such a vulnerable moment, and all you want is to feel secure and supported when you’re doing something that scary.

THEY WERE NOT EXPECTING IT

Some parents may already have an idea that their child is not heterosexual; for example, they may have found messages on your phone to a boyfriend / girlfriend before you came out to them. Therefore, this gives them time to process the information which can make for a smoother coming out experience. However, some parents may have no idea that their child is not straight, and therefore, this does not give them the time they may need to process the information.

As a result, this could lead to the parents reacting badly due to shock. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they do not agree with you not being heterosexual, but that they were simply not expecting it. This could, in turn, lead to them saying things they do not mean in the moment.

TOP TIPS FOR A BAD REACTION

BE PATIENT

It is of course entirely normal to want a positive reaction to your coming out immediately – you absolutely deserve to be accepted for who you are, but sadly this does not always happen. There are many reasons why you might not get the reaction you wanted, as described above.

It is important to give them time to process the information and come to terms with it. It is best to leave your parents to it when this happens – it’s likely that they need some time to themselves.

HAVE AN OPEN DISCUSSION

Keep this as calm and mature as possible. Your parents may have questions about your sexuality, and they could be asking them because they are worried about you and they have little or no knowledge about different sexualities. It is important to answer all questions honestly (as long as they are respectful and relevant and you feel comfortable answering). It is also important to ask why they had a bad reaction to your sexuality and to state the reasons why. This could help them to clear their mind and rationalise their thoughts.

TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST

As your parents may be taking time to deal with their emotions over you coming out, they may be emotionally unavailable and caught up in their reaction while you naturally may want to talk about your feelings. It is really important for you to access support, but it may be better to do this with someone else other than your parents. This can help to give them the space they need to deal with their emotions which could result in them reacting positively sooner.

It is worth noting that parents often feel guilt and regret for a very long time for reacting the way they did and may want to discuss this with you at a later date.

You can speak to someone at organisations such as LGBT+ Switchboard or to us here at Ditch the Label on our Community.

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

In an ideal world, parents (and indeed, everyone) would react positively and want to celebrate you sharing this with them.

If that doesn’t happen then remember that any negative reaction from parents to their child coming out has a lot more to do with them than you. In other words, their reaction is not your fault or responsibility, and you should not feel ashamed. You are being exactly who you were always meant to be.

The article was written by a Ditch the Label support mentor.

Arcadio Ady del Valle is a plus sized male model who’s helping to introduce body positivity and diversity in the male fashion world…

Whilst the body positivity revolution wages on for women, guys aren’t always kept in the loop. After all – how many plus-sized male models can you think of?! Arcadio Ady Del Valle is working to introduce more male diversity in the fashion industry, all the while teaching fellow guys the power of self-love and body positivity along the way!

Ever since being spotted by a big-and-tall men’s brand, Arcadio has gone from covering up his body and having very little confidence, to strutting his stuff on a runway at New York Fashion Week. Since then, he’s been featured in various fashion shows and photo shoots for big-and-tall styles and brands.

Here’s what Arcadio said when we caught up with him:

“In my teens I was very quiet and kept to myself. I was pretty much a loner at times, because I felt my size was a disturbance. I was also hiding my sexuality pretty much my whole life and pretending to be someone I was not until I was 28 years old which was not too long ago.”

“What I want to say to teens is don’t be afraid to be yourself now, don’t be afraid to talk to someone you trust about what’s is going on, stay true to yourself regardless of your orientation. Whether you’re straight/gay/bi whatever it is. My biggest advice to everyone is to be kind. it goes a long way in today’s society. Teen years are super tough and we should make those positive things best practice in our lives.”

Guys like Arcadio are helping to change the common perceptions of what guys’ bodies ‘should and shouldn’t look like’ and whilst body positivity makes slow progress, more and more guys are getting in on the movement. Check out the #WeAreBigAndTall project which aims to normalise the big, the tall and everything in between by showcasing guys of bigger body types who aren’t hiding away!

You can follow Arcadio on Instagram: @Adydelval 


Are you being bullied because of your appearance?

Whether its online or IRL, getting nasty comments about your appearance can be seriously painful. We can help you – join the Ditch the Label community to talk to a digital mentor or other people who have been there before:

Myles Hart – My Story

Like many people, I experienced bullying at work. However, my workplace isn’t your everyday office. In the theatre, the dynamic is very different in comparison to a normal office job.

During the rehearsal stages of a particular show I was working on, I become close with two other members of the cast. We would go for dinners, laugh, joke, confide in each other and do everything else that good friends do. Unfortunately, one day I noticed that there was a shift in our energy for no apparent reason. I was no longer being greeted at work, no longer being messaged, our group chat went dead and I couldn’t think of anything that could explain why. One thing I did know was that for the last few weeks of our friendship, I had been confiding in my friends about some difficulties from another show I was working on that was experiencing ups and downs. My friends were huge fans of this particular show and loved finding out the latest information.

One day, I went to speak to one of my friends and when I said I had an update, they responded saying they already knew, and they probably know more than I do and what’s more confusing – they can’t tell me. Now for weeks, I had been letting this person know things that I wasn’t really supposed to be saying, since we were close friends, I would always share with them. I felt confused.

“Why not? I’ve been telling you about this for weeks” I responded.
They turned and said, “I’ll tell you later…”

That was over 6 months ago, and that was the day everything changed. After this point, I would go to work and be ignored by those who were supposed to be my friends. During fiscal warm up where I once integrated with and spoke to everyone, I was now stood in-between a group of people who ignored me. They would even have conversations and make jokes straight through me.

“I was made to feel like I was invisible.”

One day I was off ‘sick’ as my voice was playing up and I was unable to sing. After going to the doctor, I was signed off work on the last day of the week. Upon my return, not only was the dynamic completely different with the friends I was once close to but the entire company. Since that day, I have people walk past me with no greeting, where I would once be hugged and greeted, people would walk straight past me. I was ignored in the wings during our performances and I would even be ignored on stage during shows. I was made to feel awkward whilst trying to do my job.

This is my dream job. As a performer, I have worked hard my entire life to get to this point in my career but now, I was no longer longing to get to the stage door and enter the theatre to live my dream. Instead, I was scared, uneasy and extremely anxious to the point where I felt sick. I was then told by people outside of my workplace that people were writing notes and leaving them on my desk. In dressing rooms, I saw texts being sent to other people in the room, talking badly about me. I would see my colleagues go out after the show and I was no longer included. It was hell…I was made to feel blatantly disliked, ostracised, excluded and lonely every single day I went to work. It got to the point I would break down, cry on the way to work and on my way home.

“Somehow, I had gone from enjoying my dream job, to feeling depressed at the thought of going in.”

Theatre work in intense and performers work six days per week, so I felt like there was no escape.  I couldn’t speak to one person, not a colleague, not my manager or even the director. I felt completely alone, to the point I was not eating, I lost my voice and considered leaving altogether. When I lost my voice again, I decided I had to take serious action – my voice is my career.  I had to confront the situation I had been enduring now for over five months. Luckily, I was able to overcome this by remembering why I was where I was; that I had earned my place, and I decided that I would not allow others to affect my joy.

Eventually, I built up the courage to speak to my manager who understood completely and arranged for the director to speak to me about the issue.  The empathy and understanding I received from them both was overwhelming and completely unexpected. I was relieved to have at least one person believe in me and let me know this was not OK and should be dealt with. When I was going through this, I didn’t even see it as bullying, I had always associated bullying with school children. It was only when those in charge said that they will not tolerate bullying at all, that it truly sank in….I was being bullied.

I realised that bullying is not only something that happens on a playground. It took a long time to process all the horrible feelings that came with the bullying and my mental health took a serious hit. I battled with depression and the experience had a huge impact on my happiness.

Since discovering I was a victim of bullying, I want to do everything I can to bring attention to it and hopefully give people the courage to speak up about it. I was so lucky to have one cast member come up to me and say, “What’s happening isn’t right, I want you to know that.” Not everyone has that, and not everyone will speak up. I never understood why people said ‘make sure you tell someone if you’re being bullied’ because  I had never realised how hard it actually would be to speak up…

“I didn’t tell anyone I was being bullied for months because I didn’t even realise I was being bullied.”

I want to help people to see that bullying is not just name calling but far deeper than that. I want to help people speak up and have the confidence to talk about it without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. This is my story.

Follow Myles on Twitter @myleshart 


Are you being bullied at work? We can help you – join the community to speak to a digital mentor.

Related:

At some point, you will have probably been told that your uni years are the best years of your life. This may be true for a whole lot of people, but it’s an ideal that comes with a whole lot of pressure. When the university life isn’t living up to expectations, its common to think “what am I doing wrong?”,”Am I not making the most of my time here?”…

Truth is, sometimes uni really doesn’t feel like the best years of your life, and that’s okay! University is a different experience for everyone, and these 10 YouTubers are proof of exactly that

Here’s what they have to say about uni being the “best years of your life”:

Jack Edwards

“Please never apologise for finding university tough; whether that’s for one day, one week, or even a whole term. You are more than entitled to feel this way, and persevering, working hard, and fighting on is just another part of the education you’re here to attain!”


Grace

“University is different for everyone and it’s okay if it’s not your cup of tea! It’s okay not to be the most sociable person on campus and to choose to keep to yourself or not go out partying.



Dylan

 

“Everyone has their ups, downs and concerns. Everybody questions if university was the right choice, even my self. Me and my friends while conversing several months back agreed that so far “university hasn’t been the best time of our lives” which is what we were instantaneously lead to believe.

For me its the creative side of things, no longer the clubbing aspect which is arguably the norm… This year I am focused on the positives, me doing me! Since this change, I am sure university is about to become one of the best experience in my life to date (p.s. I have always enjoyed university) “


Lucy Wood

“Putting yourself into a whole new world, complete with all new faces, new habits and a new routine is never going to be easy – so chuck homesickness and work stress in the mix too and it totally makes sense that some people find university isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I really struggled to find ‘my people’ at uni, and drifted through my time there without ever really feeling settled or totally happy. In the end, I didn’t really find them until after uni through my work and hobbies like blogging and YouTube.

Unfortunately, you might find that uni might not be the time of your life that everyone yells about and that’s totally normal. Remember that no one is having as good a time as they seem to be on Instagram. Sometimes it’s okay to just keep your head down, hit your grades, collect your degree and move through a chapter of your life because you need to. That’s as long as you’re not unhappy, of course.

Remember that there’s always something better just waiting for you around the corner, so think of this chapter as a learning curve and get excited for the next one to start, whether you decide to stick it out or head down a different path. Everything always works out in the end.”


Phoebe Slee

“University.. “some of the best years of your life”- I for one can say that uni was far from that for me. I felt lonely and down most weeks and it wasn’t until I opened up about how I felt that I realised some of the people I was surrounded by felt the exact same way. It relieved a lot of built up pressure in my mind and only made me happier. I’ve come to realise that it’s ok to not enjoy university the same way everyone insists you will, everyone has their own unique experience, embrace the journey and learn from it.. but don’t suffer in silence. It’s truly amazing how simply talking can comfort the mind.”


Curtis Roscoe

“There is not one set University experience, these 3 years of your life can be great however they don’t dictate your life.


 


 

Lydia Greatrix

“It’s okay to feel overwhelmed when you’re at university – you’re thrown into a new surrounding, often a new city, with many different people from lots of different backgrounds. The expectations of ‘uni is the best time in your life’ can be too much for some to handle. If you ever feel low whilst you’re at university, speak to someone about it – your coursemates, tutor, or Student Services at your uni.

It’s also easy to give into peer pressure if everyone around you is into alcohol and partying. But guess what, if you would rather stay in and watch Netflix, that’s totally okay too! Always stay true to yourself – don’t change just to make others happy. Real friends will support you – and they may even offer to join you in watching a movie or two!”

 


Dungarees Donuts

“University; one of the best times of your life. But also the worst. For us suffering with mental health, it can be one of the most challenging times. Making new friends, most of us living in a new place, constantly experiencing things out of our comfort zones.It’s important to remember, you’re not alone. University will be the making of you, I promise.”



Amy

“University is portrayed in the media to be the best years of your life where you meet your best friends, have endless drunken nights out and have so many exciting stories to tell, but this isn’t always the case. It is up to each individual as to what experience is gotten from university. Although I loved my university experience, it wasn’t necessarily what was portrayed in the media. I wasn’t a member of a sport society, I didn’t go out every Saturday without fail and I didn’t come home with a memorising story every day. Sometimes, my mental health wasn’t the best and these were the moments that I found really hard. Perhaps surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way during my experience. Remember, It’s normal and it is okay.”


Are you at uni and want to help others who may be struggling? Sign up for our ambassador programme here: 


“Skateparks are really inclusive spaces, we’re all on wheels here!”

While we were in Los Angeles at the end of 2017, we had the privilege of meeting the badass WMCX rider, Katherine Beattie. Katherine is proudly the first women to land a backflip in a wheelchair and spends her days at the skatepark popping wheelies and most importantly, having fun in her wheelchair.

Here’s what happened when we met Katherine:


Did you know

8% of people that we surveyed in the Annual Bullying Survey 2017 were bullied because of attitudes towards thier disabilty.

There is a section in the Ditch the Label Community where you can chat about anything and everything to do with bullying or disability. Don’t suffer in silence – check it out here:

S.weet L.ittle U.nforgettable T.hing…

We had the pleasure of chatting to our new ambassador Bea Miller whilst she was at the IPSY studios! Bea recently released the video for her new song S.L.U.T which tackles the issues of slut shaming. Watch Bea’s interview to find out the real reason why she wrote this song that we just can’t stop listening to!

CHECK OUT THE INTERVIEW HERE:


Got something to say?

Head over to Community to carry on the convo, Bea will be signed in at various points throughout the next week to chat about her experiences and hopefully help you with some of yours!