Chris Stark - Being the odd one out can be worth it

Chris Stark is a DJ on Radio 1 and Radio 5 Live. He is also co-host of ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’ - and a massive football fan. Despite his cool job, Chris has struggled with things like body image and feeling the need to fit in. Here Chris talks to us about feeling different and out of place at school, and the importance of being yourself.

I had quite a hard time in my high school… I always felt a bit different.

So, here is a summary of what Chris says:

High school can be tough

It can sometimes feel hard to fit in and ‘know your place’. “At one point I used to really hate going into school. I felt like I didn’t really keep pace with a lot of the guys there. I always felt a bit different.”

It is ok to feel different

Like Chris, in the future, it might help you to stand out from the crowd: “Looking back, that’s kind of what has served me so well now. I think it was because I was a bit different. Or I felt a bit different.”

It takes bravery to be yourself

“A lot of what people give you as advice is very easy to say but much harder to do. If you’re in a class full of people and they are laughing at you - and I was in that situation - it’s very easy for people to say: ‘Just embrace it! Be the different one.’ To actually go and do that is hard. But at some point you will give yourself a lot of respect for sticking to your guns on that.”

Try not to bottle things up

Speak to someone you can rely on. “You just need to find those support networks that are out there. Speak to friends, speak to a family member that you can trust... You’ve got to speak to someone and feel supported.”

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself

“People will tell you that there’s so much outside pressure... But ultimately I do think the pressure comes down to what you’re going to put on yourself.”

Take control of your life and own it

“You don’t have to wear what everyone else is wearing, you don’t have to have a boyfriend or girlfriend if you don’t want to. You don’t really have to do anything, unless you choose to do it.”

For support and advice on bullying, visit YoungMinds

If you need support

You should always tell someone about the things you’re worried about. You can tell a friend, parent, guardian, teacher or another trusted adult. If you're struggling with your mental health, going to your GP can be a good place to start to find help. Your GP can let you know what support is available to you, suggest different types of treatment and offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing.

If you're in need of in-the-moment support you can contact Shout 85258. It's a free, 24/7 text messenger support service for anyone in the UK. Text the word “SHOUT” or “YM” to 85258 to start a conversation.

There are more links to helpful organisations on BBC Action Line.

Chris Stark: There's more to life than looks
Love in the time of corona
Coronavirus: The lone pianist