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