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Totally Fine (And Other Lies I've Told Myself): What my Decade in grief taught me about life

Tiffany Philippou

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Memoirs

A deeply moving and honest account of Tiffany's life after the tragic suicide of her boyfriend when the couple were university students. In the years following his death, Tiffany learnt to say the unspoken, speaking about shame and the messy process of grief with the hope that it might bring solace to anyone living with loss.

Shame is a monster that grows inside us. We all have the monster, it's what we decide to do with it that determines how we live our lives. This is my story...

One day in the summer of 2008, I was sat on a train travelling back to London from a weekend of partying with friends when I received a phone call that suddenly changed everything. I was told my boyfriend Richard was in hospital. He died seven days later. I spent most of my twenties pretending this never happened.

It has taken me a decade to be able to tell this story, just as it has taken me years to understand that there is no right way to grieve and no right way to live.

In our twenties, we are thrown into the adult world without a guidebook. It's a decade that should be about adventure and discovery, so why does it feel catastrophic when we fail? How are we expected to have mastered our lives in such a short amount of time?

Saying my shame out loud has made me feel more connected to people in my life. I hope that my story will make you feel less alone, too. It is only by sharing our stories that we can give a voice to the unspoken. Whatever pain you're holding on to, I'm writing this for you.

'If Dolly Alderton, Glennon Doyle and Elizabeth Day had a love child, this is the writer they'd produce.' Laura Jane Williams, author and journalist

'Will go a long way to helping those struggling with the stigma and shame that, sadly, persistently surrounds mental health.' Vicky Spratt, Refinery29

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