The Surgery with Gemma and Dr Radha, Talk It Out Live

21 Jan 2014 Last updated at 15:25

Radio 1's Safe House

Our special advisors are answering your questions on everything from relationships to alcohol. See some of their responses and get advice below.
  • 4 Oct 2013 14:13:05

    The Safe House is now closed! Thank you for being a part of Talk It Out. It's not over yet - Dan and Phil we be confessing all at 4.30pm on the Radio 1 Homepage as they take on Confessions Roulette. Will they squirm as much as Grimmy?

  • 4 Oct 2013 14:05:45

    Protecting yourself online is such an important issue. There is some really good advice here if you are worried.

    I got a new laptop with a webcam when I was 14. I started going on chat sites talking to guys, and the conversations were sometimes dirty. Then I got a Skype account and started stripping off for them, doing things for I really shouldn’t have at the age of 14. Then I started sending them explicit images and videos which has got me into some really stupid situations.  I've also been caught by my parents doing things over webcam. I’m 16 now and I’m still doing all of these disgusting things because I can't stop. A few weeks ago a guy recorded me without me knowing and put it on a porn website for the world to see. It’s made me scared to go out in public in case people recognize me from the video. I just can’t stop doing all this stuff its making me hate myself so much. I feel so guilty as well because I do all of this behind my boyfriend's back. I used to enjoy doing stuff over webcam, it gave me such a buzz but now it’s become a part of my daily routine and an addiction I can’t quit even though I really want to! This is probably really silly but I need to tell someone.

    First of all, a massive well done on telling us about what's happening. It's definitely not silly, and you did the right thing by asking for help.


    It must be really scary that someone has uploaded a video of you to a porn website, and it's understandable that you're worried about being recognised.

    This is unlikely to happen as there are so many videos on the internet, but it is important that you report it. You can report it to the police here.


    I understand that it might seem like a big step, but they can really help you get control of the situation, and won't judge you. That page also has links to other sites and organisations that can help you. It's really worth a look.


    It's interesting that you said you used to get a buzz out of stripping on webcam but now it's just become routine. Habits can be really hard to kick, especially bad ones.

    It sounds like you really want to stop doing and recognising this is a great first step. Have you worked out why you couldn't do it last time you tried? What are you getting out of it? If it's not the 'buzz' you used to get, is it the attention that you enjoy? Can you think of any other ways to get this?


    Could you try getting someone (your boyfriend or parents maybe) to take your laptop away for a while? Or, if you need it for other reasons, you could ask them to make sure you only use it when they're around.

    If that's not an option, you could delete the Skype account you use along with all the contacts on it. Another option is downloading an application like 'self control' (mac only) to block yourself from the internet for periods of time.


    Doing this on your own is hard, but talking to someone you know is probably a bit daunting.

    So, it might be a good idea to get advice from ThinkuKnow and support from Childline. They'll be able to help you understand what's happening better and help you take the next steps.

  • 4 Oct 2013 13:51:14

    We've been covering all sorts of topics this week - from relationships to mental health. This sender is looking for reassurance about their body.

    I don't know whether this is just normal or not and whether I'm just being silly but it's been worrying me for a while. I'm female and I've got long dark hairs growing on my breasts even though I'm fair haired. Is this normal? Is there any way I can get rid of them? I've tried plucking and shaving but they grow back quickly.

    This is such a common question and you have done so many people a big favour by asking it, so thank you for emailing.


    Having hair on your breasts and around your nipples is common and normal so don’t worry. Everyone will have hairs on their breasts and nipples.  How thick and dark the hairs are depend on you as a person and vary enormously. You can use normal hair removal techniques if you want but be aware that these can sometimes make the skin irritated. Always check with hair removal creams as to their instructions about using the cream on sensitive areas before you use them.


    If you feel your hairs are darker, thicker, coarser or more in number then do see your GP for a check. Occasionally, changes in hormone balance in your body can cause excess hair on your face or body (hirsutism) which needs to be checked by your GP.


    If it is not bothering you too much then I would just leave them alone or just trim them so that your skin and nipples - which are a sensitive area - do not get irritated. 

  • 4 Oct 2013 13:43:20

    The Radio 1 Advice pages are a good place to start if you're looking for some guidance but aren't sure where to turn...

  • 4 Oct 2013 13:40:31

    If you are taking part in #Stoptober and would like some extra advice on quitting smoking, have a look at this one...

    I’m three days into my attempt to quit smoking. Do you have any advice to help cravings and headaches? It’s starting to become very challenging but I’m determined to succeed.

    One option is to ring the national quit line number which is 0800 169 0 169 and ask to be put through to your local service. Alternatively, you could surf the internet for stop smoking service in your borough. Local Stop Smoking help is available in every borough in the country where you could get behavioural support, which is dealing with the habit and help & support on medications available to help your quitting attempt a lot easier.


    It's great that you've decided to do this and have so much will power, but support will help make it easier! Have you considered patches or chewing gum etc to help with the headaches - as that's the withdrawal of the nicotine from your body. It will help you manage that. 


    Statistics show you are four times more likely to give up smoking with the help from a Stop Smoking Service. Take a look at

  • 4 Oct 2013 13:34:58

    Puberty can be a difficult time as so much is changing - physically and hormonally. Take a look at this if you're a boy who's currently affected by puberty.

    I'm a 13-year-old boy and at the stage in my life where I'm going through significant changes. I'm getting acne and have started having real feelings for girls (like a typical teen). However my biggest problem is that my voice is still breaking so therefore I can't speak properly or normally to others. My voice has been like this for 1-2 years now which is seriously irritating. This issue has ruined so many defining moments when it comes to talking to girls I like, which really makes me depressed. Especially when I look at the other kids in my year who can speak normally and therefore talk to girls as much as they want. To everyone in my year I'm basically known as 'the kid with this weird voice'. How can I help solve this dilemma? I haven't told my family as I'm not sure how they'd react and frankly I don't think this is an appropriate matter for them. Hopefully you can help me through what is a very tough period for me. 

    We are so glad that you got in touch with us, this is such a common worry and problem and you are not by yourself.


    Puberty can be such a difficult time - as a boy, testosterone start being produced and your body start to change and mature but it can take on average about 6yrs from start to end. SO it's a long old process and can be confusing. Your voice will start to deepen because of these hormones and about 13 years of age your voice starts to 'break' which means that the pitch and tone of your voice may change and fluctuate. Sometimes it sounds normal, other times it may be deeper or become shriller.  It is difficult to say how long this goes on for - most of the time it is no longer than about 12-18 months but we are all different. The main thing to remember is that it is a normal change and that everyone else goes through it. Although this doesn't make it easier, at least you know that it should come to an end. If you feel it has been going on for too long then see your GP who can check out to make sure nothing else is going on. This will hopefully make you feel better - they can check that other changes you get during puberty are going ok.


    What we have to do is make sure that your self-esteem and confidence stays high during this. It may be a good idea to have a chat though with your dad or someone at home so that they know how you feel. They probably went through these feelings too - they are very common. In terms of girls and relationships, remember that they are probably not even aware of your voice breaking. Often we are more sensitive to other people's reactions if we are worried about them ourselves. Remember girls are also going through their changes and so they should understand that you are too.


    Have a look at and  as this explains why this is happening and will hopefully give you some confidence about your body image.

    There's also more help on the Radio 1 Surgery Advice pages on puberty.

  • 4 Oct 2013 13:07:35

    This sender is having difficulty dealing with a recent sexual health diagnosis...

    I’ve recently found out that I have got genital HSV1 from having oral sex when I had a cold sore. I hate myself for being so irresponsible and my whole body now disgusts me. I don't really know how to continue as this is incurable and I am going to be this dirty and disgusting forever. I have started to self-harm to help me take control.


    I don't really know how to deal with this and get over it. My close friends say it’s no big deal but I wouldn't want to date me if I was the other person and I know my friends are now disgusted by me, they’re just not showing it.

    I am so sorry that you have been feeling so unhappy.


    There are a few important things to remember. Genital herpes is caused by a virus (Herpes Simplex) passed on by sexual contact with an infected partner, most of the time just before, during or just after an outbreak.

    It is a really common infection to get and you are NOT alone.  In 2011, about 30,000 people attended a sexual health clinic with their first outbreak - that doesn't even involve how many people saw their GP or managed it themselves.

    You can get painful red blisters in the genital area. It's important you know how many people have this and that you are not by yourself. Nothing is your fault and nothing has been spoilt.


    There are so many people who have this infection and you are not going to be discriminated against and you should not feel bad about yourself or your body. There are so many people affected by this and you can still lead a normal life and healthy sex life.

    The Herpes Virus Association has some brilliant advice about this and can show you exactly how to deal with your feelings.


    It may also be an idea to contact your GP or chat to a counsellor about your feelings, especially as you mention you have started to self-harm. This is a sign that you need some help with how you view yourself and your body image in terms of the genital herpes, and in general. Talk to someone in your family, a friend, a teacher or your doctor. They CAN help you. Don’t keep things to yourself. Self-harm always needs to be addressed and we have some great info on this page on self-harm on the Radio 1 Advice website and MIND.


    We don’t want to let this common infection which is controllable and so common, affect your mental health and your wellbeing. Seek help, talk to someone today and feel better.

  • 4 Oct 2013 13:00:20

    We've had lots of submissions relating to mental health, like this one. If you or someone you know is affected make sure you scroll back through the Safe House for more guidance.

    I've been seeing a doctor and a counsellor because recently I've been suffering with depression and anxiety. I'm kind of getting to grips with all that, but I just keep arguing with people. I can't deal with much social interaction before I get really grumpy and sometimes I think my friends don't get that. I'm always really tense, and I feel like I'm going to snap at someone all the time. I'm really paranoid too, like if I hear someone laugh I assume it's aimed at me, or I think people hate me. My life at home is really bad at the moment too - I keep arguing with my mum and stepdad and I don't really think they understand how I feel at the moment.


    I'm not coping at all well and I feel like crap all of the time. What should I do to tell people how I feel and that I sometimes need space without making them think I don't want them around? I'm grateful they're there for me, but I just feel so trapped right now - like I can't breathe.

    The most important thing is to find one person you can trust first and share some of this information, but well done for contacting us today - you have taken that first important step.


    I am so sorry to hear you are feeling like this. Often when we have a lot of major things happening to us in a short space of time or stresses, we can't cope after a while and everything gets to us. When this happens, we have to get some help from someone else because we have used up all of our resources. You are already seeing a counsellor, but if for any reason you don't feel comfortable you can ask for another or go back to your GP and discuss it with them.


    If you are anxious or having panic attacks then have a look at


    I would see your GP or school counsellor about how you feel - be honest and tell them how it is affecting your daily activities and your life. They can help you with some counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or even medication to help.


    Exercise, doing things for yourself and keeping your friends around you will help. When you are going through puberty feelings of anger and frustration are common as we are trying to create our own identity and become independent people. Hormone changes at this time also have an effect on how we feel. It is a difficult thing to deal with.


    Have a look here for online CBT, and MIND's website for lots of useful information.

  • 4 Oct 2013 12:47:39

    Yesterday Grimmy and Annie Mac took on the Confessions Roulette wheel. Their friendship made us feel all warm and fuzzy! Have a watch:

  • 4 Oct 2013 12:46:55

    If you're having trouble motivating yourself or organising your time, the below advice is worth reading.

    It sounds stupid but I really struggle to get myself motivated and seem to be on a downward spiral. I work as a teacher and usually try to get as much done before I come home as possible, but often I have more to do once I get home. That's where the problem is - I get home and eat, and once I sit down I think about what I need to do, but after watching TV or looking on Facebook ‘for a bit’, it's suddenly after midnight. Then I panic and rush the work; going to bed late, then I'm tired the next day. I live alone and have been single for ages, which is definitely getting me down. I've tried online dating and everyone else tells me their successes but I've not had a good experience, so I don't really have any work/life balance (I do manage to go dancing twice a week) and I know that affects me. Where should I start? I know if I was less tired I'd be better at work and probably work better, but despite the plans I make every week it's still the same and I get annoyed at myself but that doesn't help.

    It definitely does not sound 'stupid' because it is affecting you and how you feel. This is such a common problem.


    It sounds as though you have a busy job teaching. Sometimes, when we have a busy job we tend to ignore our own health and wellbeing. After a while, we don’t know how to look after ourselves and often end up feeling like we can't cope and can get anxious or depressed. We need to get the balance back! So, how can you do it - here are a few ideas;


    Have a chat with another colleague at work or head of your department and discuss how you are working and if they have any advice about how to structure your working day - how do they manage?

    Try and work through your typical week and make a rough timetable or plan about when you are going to do certain bits of work or plan your lessons. Stick to this no matter what, so that you can enjoy the time to yourself later. Try and organise your time.

    Start your weekend by getting your work done on Saturday morning so that you can then relax and enjoy yourself.

    You can't work efficiently if you are tired. Set aside some time twice per week - start off at a low frequency, and dedicate this time to you - exercise, see friends, family, read a book, have a relaxing bath. Reward yourself by saying that if you stick to your work plans then you can have that time to yourself - turn off computers and phones, put the TV controller away. Avoid any distractions.

    Plan some holidays and some 'treats' to look forward to.

    Try and keep weekends for going out in the evenings and meeting people - hopefully the partner you want. But if you don’t get out there then you are not likely to feel better. Make this a priority for you! Meeting the right person sometimes takes time but give yourself the best chance by looking at how you work and make sure you invest time to yourself first so you are in the right frame of mind to meet someone.

    We always imagine our lives to be different to how they are but they are rarely like this for everyone - make a list of all of the good things you have in your life - a job you enjoy, lovely friends and independence


    If you are still tired or not managing - then see your doctor for some help - maybe check some blood tests to check there is no other cause for your tiredness and that your mood is ok.


    You are doing ok ;-) There are just a few tweaks to be made.

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