real life

'What happened when my therapist ghosted me.'

Unfiltered, unpretentious, unapologetic and undeniably fricking funny, it's pretty easy to see why in two years, My Therapist Ghosted Me (MTGM) has become a worldwide chart-topping podcast or pod, as co-host Joanne McNally, a 40-year-old Dubliner who lives in London, calls it. 

Over 2.5 million listeners monthly tune in to hear McNally and her best friend, tabloid favourite Vogue Williams, another Irish lass who happens to be a model, a TV regular and celeb, mother of three, and Pippa Middleton's sister-in-law (she's married to reformed bad boy Spencer Matthews from Made in Chelsea).

She’s a proper grown-up. Meanwhile, comedian and writer McNally is a child-free, free spirit, although she is now dating DJ Alan Byrne, aka Prada Pete on the pod, who has a daughter.

The contrast between Williams and McNally works.

While you're here watch, Friendship. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

The women keep their pod relatably hilarious and authentic by chatting shit about themselves, their partners, pop culture and whatever takes their fancy each month.

However, the pod's title alone is enough to draw you in, and it's a true story. 

In the middle of an extended lockdown in London, McNally's therapist disappeared without a trace. 'I'd just moved to London from Dublin after coming out of a relationship and was experiencing a classic case of heartbreak," she said.


"Honestly, I was really struggling. I've had a few therapists throughout my short life, but she was good. I liked her; we'd even hugged on arrival! It was all very zen, and she'd light incense and attentively listen to me."

Then crickets. Nada. Not a peep. "She ghosted me! She completely stopped replying," explains McNally. "I was like, am I that mad? Then, I was genuinely worried about her.

"Finally, I emailed, saying 'I don't know what happened between us. I came to you for help because someone broke up with me, and you've done the same thing.' At least my ex texted me."

Despite the confusion and hurt, it gave birth to an outstanding pod name. "I was telling Vogue the story when one of the production team said, let's call the podcast that. I don't like the name, but we're stuck with it now," McNally said.

Maybe that is because McNally also credits therapy with helping her find herself. 

Just nine years ago, she was working as a publicist in Dublin, hiding an eating disorder. "It just got to a point where it was no longer sustainable to be functioning bulimic. I didn't know who I was or what I was about. I had an identity crisis. I'd partied hard in my twenties. And then everything got out of control."

She blames the pervasive heroin chic/size zero body epoch that screwed up a lot of young women in the UK and Ireland growing up in the nineties. "A lot of women of my generation have issues around their body because we were raised to think that size zero was normal. It's tough to override that equation of thin equals success for my generation."


Joanne McNally (right) with her best friend Vogue Williams. Image: Supplied.

McNally says she also felt deeply unsatisfied. "People talk about whether your cup is full or empty. My cup was very empty. I wanted to do something more creative. 

"I always wanted to act, I wanted to write, but I didn't have the confidence. And then I decided I'd just be excellent at being thin. It gave me a sense of purpose and achievement when I wasn't getting anywhere else. I didn't understand at the time that it was a mental illness. I honestly just thought it was a diet that had gone a little awry." 


For anyone who has or has been around someone who has an eating disorder, it's a very grim reality. 

All the joy's gone out of your world. If people criticise your new physique, you just think that they're jealous or that they're overreacting.'

Along with medication, outpatient therapy, a good dietician, maintaining a sense of humour and a sound, loving support system of family and friends, McNally started writing a hilarious and well-written blog, "Everything around eating disorders was always so grim and serious. I was looking for something relatable but couldn't find anything, so I started writing."

Then, as she got to know herself, life presented her with a stage. "A friend had a show called Singlehood where comedians and real people shared stories about our love lives. I told the story of getting broken up with a bald guy. In the midst of the conversation, I’d said, sorry, can I interrupt you? This conversation sounds like you think you've got a full head of hair!" 

McNally was a natural and was asked to join a stand-up tour. "Comedy gave me a reason to recover because, before that, I didn't see the point. I knew it was some type of performance that was going to get me over this. The stars aligned. I was in the right place at the right time with nothing to lose."

She says humour has always been a coping mechanism. "I was always a cheap laugh," McNally said. "I have a hilarious group of friends, and we were pretty irreverent about stuff. 


"We could always find the funny side in anything Vogue, and I always talk about how both our fathers are dead. It's completely inappropriate, but we joke about that regularly. There's not a lot I would take that seriously, really."

That’s why she's not scared to talk about difficult things like being 'unfertilised', mental health or why women are ashamed of ageing. 

"It's a gorgeous position to be able to say something, and then people will go: same, me too," said McNally. 

"There's a lovely sense of belonging when you can get your experience validated almost immediately in a room full of women. I cannot explain how much happier I am now."

This is highlighted when McNally and Williams are in free flow on MTGM. 

"We talk shit and make each other laugh," said McNally. "I enjoy making her laugh, and she loves making me laugh. It's very light. 

"We talk about stuff that's going on in pop culture, but we mainly talk about our real lives, so there’s a lovely dynamic."

While the women have known each other since they were 18, McNally says she used to be intimated by Williams. 

"We were never very close as we didn't have a natural rapport. She was incredibly intimidating because she’s an absolute knockout babe who was a model and a DJ. 

"When you're young, you can be quite threatened by those beautiful, famous, cool women. It's telling she didn't find me intimidating!"


However, when the women moved to London, they became best mates. "It was an act of desperation," jokes McNally. "Neither of us had any friends in London; we were like, should we get together, and then we realised that we had got on like an absolute house on fire.

"Vogue feels more like family now. When you're away from home, your friends become your family. I'm always in her house because she's an adult with an actual house and kids and a husband, and I have none of those things. So I'm just like their giant other child."

And what happened to that therapist who ghosted her? 

"A year on, I emailed her, and I said, Do you still work in mental health?" McNally said. 

"And she replied, 'I do, and here's who I'd recommend you to see' So I still don't know what happened. It's very weird. 

"However, I've realised as I've gotten older that you don’t know what's happening in other people's lives. So you really can't take anything personally."

McNally and Williams bring their brand of empathic, irreverent humour to Australia with their live show "My Therapist Ghosted Me’ touring nationally in November and as a part of the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival.

For help and support for eating disorders, contact the Butterfly Foundation’s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673).

Feature Image: Supplied

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