Throughout her childhood, Tierney's struggles with anxiety robbed her of happiness. She feared everything and no one could come near her. But her time at TLG returned to her the joy she had lost and allowed her to be the person she was meant to be.
"For me, mainstream school was really bad. I didn’t enjoy the teachers at all. They didn’t understand me. They didn’t understand that I struggle with anxiety. They would mostly just give up on me. Instead of trying to help me with the problem, they would just avoid it.
The teachers just threw me out of lessons. But it wasn’t like they had anything else planned for me. I’d just walk around the school because I didn’t have anything to do.
If you asked me what it was that made me anxious about school, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. It was just everything really. I’d had so many bad experiences at school that it really affected my anxiety and eventually I just stopped going altogether.
I’d say my anxiety was worst in primary school. I would miss even more days there than at secondary school. I would not go in for three weeks in a row. I got so behind at school. I was making no progress at all.
I ended up with a place at a TLG Education Centre. When I first started attending, I liked it but I was just so scared all the time and I would avoid going in. What did the other students think of me? Will I be able to catch up with my education? The questions kept going round in my head.
But even when I gave up on myself, the staff never gave up on me. When I didn’t come in for two weeks in a row, they still kept my place for me. They didn’t just kick me out. They gave me another chance and it made me want to keep trying. The difference was they took the time to understand me. They weren’t pushy or anything.
TLG has definitely helped me to be more confident – both in school and out of school. You see, before I went to TLG I wore this hat. It was like my comfort thing. I didn’t go anywhere without it. It would cover my face and I could hide behind it.
But TLG helped me to be myself. They helped me to be who I really want to be.
So one day I decided not to wear my hat anymore. TLG made me comfortable in my own skin. That was about a year ago and I’ve not worn it since.
My biggest achievement at TLG is my attendance. Before TLG, I was probably going to school about one or two days a week. But my attitude has totally changed. I actually like school now. I try and get to school every single day of the week and if for any reason I can’t I get so disappointed!
That’s how much I’ve changed.”