The Time I…paid the price of fame

Fame is like Rumpelstiltskin, like making a deal with the devil, be careful what you wish for because it comes at a cost. For me the cost was high. Was it worth it? probably not. You may or may not know that I was a contestant on The Bachelor Australia in 2016 where I met and eventually fell in love with another female contestant from the show. While that story is an amazing one and maybe I will share it one day; this story is about how it all came crumbling down.

In October 2016, literally overnight, my relationship became the interest of media outlets worldwide. I was inundated with emails and phone calls from journalists and ‘fans’ asking to share my story. At the time, I had been dating my ex for around 4 months having moved to her home town of Geraldton, where we had been able to establish a relationship outside of the spotlight. Now that all eyes were on us we had to decide how we would approach things. For the first few weeks we ignored the media requests but there was more and more fan mail coming in, heart wrenching stories from woman who had found love with another woman in unexpected places or had left their male partners for a woman and it dawned on us that we were giving hope and inspiration to many. We made the decision (mistake) at that point to share our relationship with the public mostly via our Instagram accounts. This, i believe, would eventually cost us our relationship.

We had the best of intentions to inspire and help normalise same sex relationships, to show that love is love, to remove labels and stigma, to just BE. For a while it felt like we were on the right path, we were fulfilling a purpose, we were on the same page and we were happy. Side by side we fought back at the critics, we stood up for equal rights, we unashamedly and unapologetically put our relationship out to the world and felt we were making a difference.

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When we were named Couple of the Year 2016 and cover girls for Maxim.

I couldn’t say exactly when things started to unravel, maybe around Christmas/New Year. We were going to a tonne of events and I was finding it more and more difficult to enjoy myself now that we were more recognisable to the public. Strangers grabbing at us for pictures, not even introducing themselves or talking to us, men asking for threesomes, people accusing us of faking our relationship. First Polo in the City, then Southbound, then Cuban Club – my patience was starting to wear thin and I started to become a bit reclusive. I was beginning to pay the price of being so public with my personal life and started to realise the down side of sharing so openly. We also had the added pressure of an impending relocation to Bali where we would be living together for the first time and I felt myself struggling to keep it all together. Can you remember how difficult it was to navigate your first relationship? Now put that relationship under a microscope with the whole world watching and that is how I felt. It was my first relationship with a woman and it was hard enough trying to find my way through that, let alone with the constant onslaught from media, fans and haters.

I have never shared this publicly before, and maybe I am making another mistake by choosing to do so now, but I have struggled with depression for the better part of my adult life. I hope in sharing this it may help some of the critics to understand just how hard all this has been and encourage those struggling to hang in there. I manage my depression with medication, with keeping fit and healthy, with meditation, with seeing a psychologist and with a good support network (I have written a seperate blog about my depression if you want to have a read). I don’t see depression as a weakness, in fact I see it as my greatest strength. I have HAD to learn to know myself extremely well and I have proved myself stronger than I thought possible time and time again. I have learned that my depression is brought on by ongoing anxiety. That is, situations that make me anxious which I am unable to resolve in a relatively short amount of time. I can handle stress, but when that stress is unrelenting and my anxiety builds, I start to lose my grip and this can lead to a very fast downward spiral. This is exactly what happened to me about 2 months ago.

I was due to fly out to Bali. I had my bags packed, ticket booked, passport ready. I had been excited. But as the date approached I felt more and more unsettled. I became so anxious I was physically ill. I couldn’t hold down food, couldn’t focus on anything, cried a lot, slept a lot, took a lot of valium. Crying hysterically I could not get myself into the car to go to the airport so I postponed my flight. I shared a post on Instagram that I was unwell and would head to Bali soon, but I chose not to share exactly what was wrong. I didn’t have the strength at the time to open up about my mental health issues as much as I knew it could help others, I really just needed to first help myself. Some serious mental regrouping and support from loved ones, I was able to head to Bali a few days later.

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My Instagram post when I postponed my trip to Bali

The first week or so in Bali, I was doing ok, one foot in front of the other. It felt good to be somewhere that people didn’t recognise us and we could just go out and do our thing. We were working on some exciting projects that kept me hopeful and distracted. We were in discussions with Ratpak to have our own TV series with the aim of educating people on same sex relationships and sexual fluidity, we were writing up a book proposal to share the intimate details of our story, we were creating an underwear line called Miffties…it was all a grand distraction from what was really going on. With the focus being more and more on business, our relationship became secondary and we spent more and more time doing things separately. Everyone handles stress differently and in my case it was at a point where I couldn’t handle it. It’s hard to know how to help someone who is having severe anxiety and/or depression. The person really has to find the strength to want to help themselves. I know that, for me personally, if I don’t want to get out of bed then nothing anyone can say or do will make me, and the more I’m pressured, the more I withdraw. This can be an extremely difficult thing for people who love me to witness, which only makes me feel worse. It got to a point that I was spending day after day laying in bed, trying to just be asleep because I’d rather be in my dreams than be in the real world.

Around this time a fresh influx of media attention came when fellow contestants from the Bachelor accused us of faking our relationship. This was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. I vented some of my feelings in a letter I penned for Popsugar titled ‘Let me set the record straight‘ and then I took a massive step back from all social media. I stopped posting on my Insta Stories and only posted what I had to on my Instagram Feed (paid collaborations). I was tired of the scrutiny, tired of defending myself, tired of the negative attention and tired of pretending to be happy and smiling for the camera when inside I was empty. I remember sitting at the beach one day and feeling my chest tighten, I couldn’t get oxygen into my lungs, couldn’t remember how to breath, I was in the midst of a panic attack, something I hadn’t experienced since I was 17 and I knew I was in a very dangerous mental space. I made the decision to fly back home to Australia to be with my family and friends who have supported me through some rough patches over the years.

Trying to support someone who is struggling to stay afloat is tough, trying to support someone who is struggling when you are also struggling is near impossible. Realising that we were both very unhappy, that we hadn’t been happy for a while, and that we had lost our sense of self, we made the mutual decision to part ways; we had paid the ultimate price for sharing our relationship so publicly and putting so much pressure on it. Ending things then rather than waiting until they fell apart means that we have the chance of one day getting back the amazing friendship that we once had after some time and space allow us both to heal and find our selves again. We also agreed that we would not make any statements that we had split until we both felt ready to face the inevitable media frenzy that would happened.

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One of our last pics together, Bali Feb 2017

Having learnt from our mistake of making our relationship so public we wanted to handle our break up privately. This was only met by more accusations of faking a relationship and constant pestering to confirm the split, like we owed it to everyone or some nonsense. When it comes to ‘fame’ you really are damned if you do and damned if you don’t in most decisions you make. Every message I received or comment I got about my relationship was a constant reminder that it was over and was upsetting and frustrating and it’s taken time to be able to just block it out, to grow a thicker skin, to not snap back at people even though I so want to. The decision to split was about 4 weeks ago now and around 7 weeks since I started spiralling downwards into depression.

Coming back from the dark dwelling I had settled in has been slow. Some days are better than others, every 2 steps forward I take one back, I still have days where I just don’t want to get out of my bed but those are happening less and less. My recent trip to Rottnest was my first proper outing in weeks and even that took a lot of effort. I was meant to go over 2 days before I actually did but when I went to catch the ferry I had another panic attack and I couldn’t muster the confidence to go. Two days later when I did make it to Rottnest, I felt like I broke through a sort of invisible barrier, I felt a weight lift and I started to remember who I am and what it feels like to be happy. Exploring and adventure is what I do, it’s what I’ve always loved to do, my passion and purpose. I felt hopeful, which is such a crucial part of overcoming depression.

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My Trip to Rottnest

I started this blog in April last year but due to contractual obligation with The Bachelor and then all the other plans and things I had going on over the past months I never got the opportunity to launch it. Now that I am back to focusing on just me and what I want to do, I am overwhelmingly excited to finally launch it and start sharing in more detail the experiences I have had, the lessons I have learned and the adventures I go on. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I am sure to cop a whole new bunch of criticism and judgement but I know I am extremely resilient, and every time I get knocked down, I get up stronger and more determined than before. So for those of you who do want to follow my story,

Until Next Time

XOXO

 

 

57 comments

  1. I applaud 👏👏👏 you Tiff. The mere fact you’ve allowed us insight into a heartbreaking and very raw and personal time of your life, when you’re at your most vulnerable, is courageous, brave and not to mention inspirational. It takes a strong human being to fight the demons, I know only too well. We share a very similar story, minus the whole fame and spotlight aspect, the depression and anxiety demons certainly don’t discriminate. I work at a secondary school and I would love to have you tell your story to some students around mental health awareness and your inspirational journey to overcome these demons. If it’s ever something you feel you’re wanting to or ready to do, let me know, as I know you’d be amazing and make a difference in young people’s lives. (We’d also pay you too, we’re not right asses!)
    Thank you for sharing your personal journey with us, to allow others to see they are not alone. You are one in a million Tiff, and good times and great things are going to happen for you! So proud of your journey so far and your ability to never give up. Keep exploring Tiff, and Just being you, cos the world is a much better place with you in it! Xx

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  2. I was a BIG fan of your relationship, I could only imagine the struggles you both faced. When I would tell people your story, even I was left defending you both or having to prove that I was telling the truth, what a joke.

    Reading this was like reading something I could have written. You inspired me in more ways than one and I loved you for it, now after you have shared this I love you even more… Not like that haha. I too have depression, I have lost 68kg in 2 years due to stress, I too find myself not wanting to be awake and sleeping the days away so I don’t have to cope with my shitty life. I have almost lost my fiancee more than a dozen times with my breakdowns. It wasn’t until I woke up one day and decided I wasn’t going to let anyone or anything get me down, I started studying, something that was just for me. I can COMPLETELY relate to almost everything you have mentioned. Thank you for being raw, honest, proud, brave xx

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    1. You are too kind! Sounds like we are kindred spirits. The stresses of this world take their toll on some more than others. 68kg my dear, please take care of yourself. I am so happy you found something you love that is just for you and that you have support around you. Your fiancé sounds like a great support for you. You got this girl x

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      1. I think we may very well be kindred spirits 😊🙌😵😜. 68kg sounds like a lot I know but I was previously 170kg so I needed it GONE hahaha. Much love Tiff xx

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  3. Your story is amazing and so inspiring!! You did the right thing and your mental health and happiness is more important than anything else! I hope you are doing well, keep doing what makes your soul happy. xoxox

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    1. Thanks Kierstin! Yes I agree, at the end of the day you can’t make someone else happy until you are happy with yourself. The most important relationship we have is the one with ourselves. Thank you for your kind words x

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  4. Dear Tiffany.
    Wow i am totally blown away of your honestly blog.
    I am from Denmark, and startet following you and Megan, when you became a public couple. It was in the newspapers even here in Denmark, that you to lovely people had fallen i love under a reality program.
    And i was so fasinated of your story, and the way you to showed your love on Instagram. Beautiful pictures, of to people in love.
    And then, when i read your honestly blog, i was almost crying. And i dont even know you. I think it is so sad, that the price of fame is so high, that you to lovely people had to break up.
    But i fully understand the horribel things the press and haters have written, is so fucking to much(sorry my langues). I think both you and Megan was fighting the most fantastic way, making it normal to fall in love whit one of same sex. And really admire you. And at the same time i am so sad that we live in 2017, and still so many people can not accept, two women in love. It makes me really angry.
    I live with my husband and 2 kids, and i normally never comment that much. But this was to important. And i think you should know that soo many people around the world, loved to follow you and Megan in this farytale. I hope you get well soon, you are a inspiration for all of us. And i wish you and Megan will find eachother again, maby just as good friends❤️Tiffany i think you are so brave, lots of love from me.
    Big hug from Dorthe❤️🇩🇰

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    1. Hi Dorthe,
      I really appreciate you took the time to comment to me when normally you don’t. The world needs more people like you in it, more parents like you in it. I am sure your children will grow up to be just as accepting and open minded as you are. Keep spreading the love and light.
      Tiff xox

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  5. Just know that your love crossed the oceans and touched our hearts here in the US. Wishing you two happy and healthy lives where you can be your truest selves.

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  6. I loved following the relationship between you and Megan and thought you were great together.. Putting yourself first was/is a good move and I wish you all the happiness, love, light and joy this world has to offer. Can’t wait to see where life takes you next. Congratulations on the blog….

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  7. I know I’m probably repeating a lot of what has already been said by your followers and fans, but Ms. Tiffany Scanlon, I think you are amazing. Reading this post is like a reading about a slice of my own life. I too suffered the scrutiny of a very controversial relationship. I even had to close my social media accounts for a time, or make them all incredibly private to try to get away from the awful opinions and hurtful comments. I cannot imagine having your relationship be so extremely public and having to handle the pressures of that. That relationship was with my great love, and though I will never regret it (in fact, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have loved so fiercely and beautifully), it too had huge negative effects on my mental and physical health. I too have battled with depression my entire life as well as anxiety and some other metal health issues. It has not been an easy road and there have been plenty of moments where not only could I not get out of bed, but that I have contemplated simply ceasing to exist, just so as to not feel the awful pain and unhappiness anymore. I am currently doing much better, but it is literally an every day choice to be strong. To remember not to skip any meals. To re-dedicate myself to the things I love. And to learn how to love myself truly and be a healthy and happy human being. So girl, I have been there. And despite the difficulties you’ve faced and how awful it must have made you feel, the fact that you choose to continue to live your life in the public eye and so candidly share your experiences is helping so many people. I can even say that I am one of them. And I admire you greatly for it. Keep up the amazing work. You are winning at life, even if it sometimes seems like it happens slowly. You will always have a friend and a confidant in me on the other side of the world, even though we’ve never met. You are always welcome to visit the DC/NYC area, though! Would love to show you around some day if you’d like. Continue to take care of yourself. I wish you nothing but the absolute best.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your struggles with me. I don’t think those who haven’t been through it can ever really understand how dark it feels down in that hole and how hopeless it feels. The good that can come from sharing and getting the discussion going far outweighs any of the negative that I receive. Even if I can help just one person feel like they are not alone, it would all be worth it. If I ever make it back to the states I will be sure to hit you up! x

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  8. I am a young gay woman, who also struggles with anxiety and depression. Everything you described about your struggles is something I have also been through. Last year I moved overseas for the opportunity of a lifetime, but three months later packed it all in because I could no longer cope without my friends, family and girlfriend. It was the best decision I could have made, and it seems like you’ve clearly made the right choice too. I hope the world shows you the respect you deserve for it, and I hope your road to recovery is short and easy, though I know it usually isn’t.

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    1. Sometimes even the best opportunities are not the right ones for us hey! I’ve found this multiple times in my life, always best to listen to that gut intuition. Respect and Understanding is something this world could use a lot more of, thank you for giving me yours xox

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  9. Well done Tiffany. This is some really hard stuff to admit and its amazing how honest you are able to be. I can’t imagine what it would be like to start a relationship in the public eye, its hard enough adjusting to a new relationship, let alone when its in the spotlight. I myself suffer bad anxiety and that is without a million people chiming in their opinion, I can only imagine what its like for you. Really respect you for what you have written. I wish you all the best for the future and keep doing things you love and give you positive vibes xoxo

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    1. Thanks Lucy, I think I’ve been living with it for so long now, that it felt ok to talk about it. The past year has definitely given me a thicker skin and I hope I can help others by talking about it. I hate the stigma that goes with it. The fear of telling a new partner or keeping it from an employer because they will judge. Thank you for your encouragement. It’s good to know I am heading in the right direction!

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  10. Tiffany you are my new best friend. Ok so I do not know you and most likely never will but your story of life long anxiety and depression could have been pages from my diary. I find that in my case I act extroverted to cover insecurities and then find those same moments swallowing me up and spiralling into a dark anxious place. I think you were very brave for want of a better word to be part of a reality show. In my history over my life I have run from relationships simply due to anxiety and not been in front of the public scrutiny. Thankyou for your expression of mental health issues. I am a strong believer in discussing them as you never know who you may be helping when they are feeling lost or alone or just plain confused. Glad you have excellent support systems set up and family, medical and friends close by too. Every day is a new day and some days will shine brighter than others. Take care of you x

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    1. It’s often the most extroverted and bubbly people that are the best at hiding behind a smile. Those who know me but don’t know about my mental health issues would have never guessed. Relationships continue to evade me as well. It’s learning to love yourself that is the hardest. Indeed every day is a new beginning and a chance to take another step forward. Bless you x

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  11. Dear Tiffany,

    That is very brave of you opening every bit of your life to us, Tiffany. I thank you for every moment that you shared with us through social media. It meant really much to us, the LGBT community by telling us that true love can meet in anywhere and everywhere without carrying the label of gender norm. For people like us who cannot able to show our love in the public, I truly understand how it feels when the negativity comes down and how bad those negative words can affect our daily emotion. Respecting on you and Megan’s decision, I would like to thank you so much for what you and Megan have done for us. Words could not describe how much I appreciate and grateful for the courage of you both opening your relationship to us. Please be happy and stay on your adventurous life with positivity now. I hope you both be well and fine in the future 🙂

    Regards,
    EJ

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  12. You are an amazing woman, don’t ever forget it and don’t be so hard on yourself. Life throws us plot twists and it just goes to show you’re learning and growing from it all. When I turned 30 I had the same feeling (referring to your about you page), I woke up knowing who I am, what I want and most importantly what I dont want. Do what makes you happy! Loving your rottnest photos! It’s now on my bucketlist! You’re great babe xo

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  13. Your so humble and your honesty is admirable. I am so sorry to hear you have felt bombarded by the media…I can imagine how hard it must have been on yourself and your relationship. Take care xx!

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  14. This really touched my heart. I have nevet been famous but I have had depression and could relate very well to your story. I feel very sad for you. To go through the hell that is severe depression with the added pressure of being in the public eye must be so hard. The great thing is that it sounds like you have a wonderful support system of family and friends. You are also a very good writer and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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    1. Thanks Rose Mary! I’m glad that my story could bring you some comfort. I think it’s so important to share, we need not suffer alone 🙂 Don’t be sad for me, I will be ok! I hope my future posts will not disappoint 😉 x

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  15. Such an amazing honest blog! ❤ Someone looking at your Instagram could be so envious (me!) of your amazing life style, the trips, the relationship, so for you to admit that you were struggling is eye opening. It makes me realise you should never think less of your life just because someone else’s looks better. I guess the saying ‘Everyone is fighting their own battle’ has never been more true! ✌🏼 Awesome! I hope you feel your awesome self soon xx

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    1. Thanks for the comment Emma. This is exactly what I hope to achieve by being transparent and open with everyone. Social media is such a narrow construction of someones life that you rarely get the full story. People aren’t likely to share the bad times in their life, only the good times. ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is another saying that comes to mind. Never trust the person who says their life is perfect!

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  16. I broke up with my ex-gf years ago but still care for her deeply but only love is not enough when we have different passion in life. Your story remind me of my past relationship much..but somehow we have to move on and now I’m pretty happy with my current bf. Wishes all the best for u too.

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    1. Thanks Matiwara,
      I’m coming to accept that sometimes people are placed in our life to teach us lessons and once that purpose is served we must move on to our next lesson. Letting go is the hardest thing to do and something I am still learning. It’s nice to hear stories like yours, it gives me hope that I will move on.
      Tiff x

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  17. I don’t know why but I suddenly thought of you. So I went to your Instagram and I remembered seeing before that you have a blog. So here I am just finished reading and I want to say that what you are doing is great! Your real fans support you in everything you do! You don’t owe anyone but still thanks for sharing this. Keep blogging and we’ll keep reading! Come to Hong Kong I’ll show you around! 😉 Cheers!

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    1. Naw thats Jamie, I certainly do appreciate everyone that supports me and takes the time to read my blogs. I’ve been to Hong Kong once and did a day tour but I had terrible food poisoning and was throwing up the whole time lol so if I ever come back I will definitely be up for a do over lol.
      Tiff x

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  18. I really admire you opening up about your struggles and how not everything is what it seems. Seeing how happy and upbeat you are on Instagram really made me believe that you were constantly like that but in reality that wasn’t always the case. When it comes to public figures on any social media platform, others tend to forget that the people behind them are actual real people that have emotions and feelings just like anyone else. It’s probably why some people on the internet and outside of it judged you and Megan so harshly without really knowing the both of you. I’m going to be completely honest with you, I was a bit skeptical about your relationship when I first heard about it and was a bit wary on whether or not it was real or fake. I then realized that I’ve fallen into the toxic/negative behavior that some would have when people come out as bisexual. You see, one of the things people say about bisexuals is that they just “do it for attention” and being bisexual myself, I feel really awful having that particular mindset when it came to you two ; I really am sorry. I’ve been following you for some time through Instagram and my opinions have changed and reading your blog is really eye opening for me. I can see that you have inspired a lot of people, including myself, and not just because of your relationship or your sexuality but also because of just who you are. You’re really doing great Tiffany and I’m really glad there are people like you that show that it’s possible to keep pushing forward despite the difficult obstacles that you may face or currently facing. I apologize for the super long comment, I tend to write my thoughts in paragraphs lol. If you feel that you’re comfortable enough in the future, would it interest you to talk more about the process of you figuring out your sexuality or at least where you stand when it comes to your sexuality on your blog? (I hope that’s not too intrusive). I wish you luck on all of your endeavors and thank you for being unapologetically you.

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    1. Hi Rose,
      Sorry for my delay, I have been distracted from my blog for the past month or so. I’m really glad you shared your thoughts with me. Interestingly I have just written a personal essay for Popsugar about my standpoint on my sexuality. I think nothing in life is certain or concrete, everything is ever changing and I just take it as it comes. I don’t know what my future holds, especially in terms of a relationship. I know I learned a lot from the last and that it will take time to heal and that I am in no rush, the universe will guide me when the time is right. For now I will continue to fight the good fight even though sometimes I get distracted! Thank you for your honesty and for your kind words. The world needs more authenticity and more open mindedness. So thank you xox

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  19. I happened upon your story a while back…and I just couldn’t even begin to grasp everything you had to have gone through. To have to defend your relationship to complete strangers…to defend someone you care so deeply about…I can’t imagine. You both are incredibly strong women and your story was beautiful and heartbreaking.
    Wishing you the best as you continue your journey. I hope everything gets a little bit better as the days go by. You certainly deserve it.
    Thank you for the heartfelt honesty…you didn’t have to put yourself out there. Just know that you are appreciated by many.

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    1. Thank you Rachael, I guess I felt in some way I could make a contribution in a positive way to this crazy world by sharing my story and in continuing to share it. Receiving comments like yours makes me feel I did something right, so thank you x

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  20. I came across your blog by accident and in fact, it’s the first blog I’ve ever really thoroughly read and definitely the first I’m commenting on! I’ve read a couple and have really enjoyed them. This one particularly was well written and I think anxiety and depression can never be talked about too much. It’s also fantastic to see you working towards better mental health in so many ways but from personal experience I also know it’s not always easy!

    I also really enjoyed your body transformation blog, how inspiring! I am also quite petite and would say have very similar body type to what you had pre-transformation. Now I’m very inspired to try something similar! Your writing is very down to earth and really inspiring reading.

    Keep writing!

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    1. Thanks so much Milla, those were probably my favourite two blogs as well. I sometimes get writers block trying to come up with something that is as good or inspiring! So then I don’t post for ages. But I guess not all posts can be home runs right?! lol. I appreciate the support and your commenting xox

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  21. I appreciate this post Tiffany and my hope is that you continue to deepen in your capacity for self-compassion and self-empathy. To turn towards your suffering versus away. Sounds like you have a good support team and meditation practice is a transformative path. It takes immense courage to open up with your vulnerability, and I hope this blog supports you in your continued growth and healing. ❤

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  22. I appreciate this post Tiffany and my hope is that you continue to deepen in your capacity for self-compassion and self-empathy. To turn towards your suffering versus away. Sounds like you have a good support team and meditation practice is a transformative path. It takes immense courage to open up with your vulnerability, and I hope this blog supports you in your continued growth and healing. ❤

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  23. Even though you probably don’t feel it, your inspirational and exactly what people need these day. I have never suffered depression, but certainly anxiety. I lost my wife to cancer 4 years ago, it was the most awful thing I could imagine and it didn’t even happen to me – it happened to her. As sad as they turn out, the world needs these stories so we can continue to grow in our acceptance and love. I’m proud to carry my wife’s story with me and to talk about her strength and her bravery. That is what you show to so many, only good can come from it – let’s all grow together 🙂

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