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Health and wellbeing, Uncategorized

“I’ve never seen you on the inside”: celebrating 20 years in therapy

 “I’ve never seen you on the inside”, my son Zac said to me recently, with something like wonderment.

I’d been trying to explain that sometimes people could feel really shy or anxious, and nobody but them might be able to tell.  This was after my seven year old, Bianca, had dredged up a memory about a birthday party where she’d felt too shy to join in. It was obviously troubling her.  Zac kindly shared that he, too, often felt like that. 

I then shared that despite how confident I might seem on the outside, I too sometimes felt shy and anxious, and that it was quite normal to feel this way, sometimes. And that talking about it really helped.

Zac’s response reminded me that it’s really very difficult to genuinely know someone ‘on the inside’.

I perhaps have some insight on this subject: This year I celebrate, yes celebrate, 20 years in therapy. 

I bet that might surprise a few people.  I now know that looking in from the outside I don’t appear to lack in confidence, or to have any obvious outer reasons for being in therapy for that amount of time.  Much of the work I have done in therapy has been about closing this gap between how others see me and how I see myself.

It’s taken me this long to feel confident enough to share this experience beyond the boundaries of those closest to me – to “put it out there’ for all to potentially see.

Gradually my ‘inner circle’ has widened from a few close friends to extend to team mates and senior colleagues whose opinions I might once have coveted so much I would have avoided sharing such information about myself at all costs.

Once I might have feared this would be seen as a sign of weakness.  Now I know it to be a sign of strength, and a source of ongoing strength.  I’m a better mother, wife, friend, colleague and manager for having done this inner work and continuing to prioritise this in my busy life.

My last post on parenting a child with Asperger’s Syndrome seemed to connect with others.  I share this post in the same spirit, that by being open there is nothing to fear, only to gain.


About Di from the Y

Dianne McDonald is Executive Manager of Communications with YMCA Australia, and a parent of two primary school aged children, one with additional needs (Asperger Syndrome). She has a strong interest in sharing life's learnings with others.


3 thoughts on ““I’ve never seen you on the inside”: celebrating 20 years in therapy

  1. Di I’m sure you have been given more hours in a day than I, you are amazing!

    Posted by Nicole | August 30, 2011, 11:11 am
  2. The truth will set you free, eh? Well done, Piggy! xo M.

    Posted by Martha | August 30, 2011, 12:52 pm
  3. Dearest Di, as you and I have discussed often, the work we invest in ourselves pays back tenfold in our own wellbeing and for those around us. I hope that very soon seeing a counsellor or therapist will be seen by everyone as valuable and matter-a-fact as seeing a dentist or a GP – just investing in one’s health, or as practical as getting advice from an expert finacial advisor or architect. That’s how I see it, and many times in my life it has really helped me get through challenges and see the woods for the trees. I’m with you my friend!

    Posted by Bernadette | August 31, 2011, 12:37 am

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