Totally Fine (And Other Lies I’ve Told Myself)

Tiffany Philippou

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

Stylist’s Must Read Book for 2022

Evening Standard’s Faces to Watch in 2022

Do you have a story that you are scared to tell? A story that you’ve spent your life trying to escape. I’m going to tell you mine.

One day, in the summer of 2008, I was travelling back to London 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.

I was trapped within my own silence, left alone to absorb the discomfort, blame and judgement of others that I felt after Richard’s suicide. I was suffering, but telling everyone that I was totally fine. The shame consumed me and I desperately wanted to find love again, but the rejection and heartbreak that followed proved to me, yet again, that I wasn’t worthy of love and belonging.

In our twenties, we are thrown into the adult world without a guidebook. I experienced a turbulent decade with what felt like catastrophic failures. Then one day, I started to speak about my shame, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. And I’ve come to realise that shame is like a monster – one that can grow so large that it can hold us back from a life worth living. And that it is only by sharing our stories that we can give a voice to what is unspoken. A voice to the stories that we don’t want to tell.

So whatever pain you’re holding on to, whatever story you’re scared to tell, I’m writing this for you.

I wish I’d had this book to guide me into adulthood.’ Sathnam Sanghera, bestselling author of Empireland and The Boy with the Topknot

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