I spent yesterday celebrating the life of a friend of mine who died of suicide at the onset of COVID. She was a brilliant writer, therapeutic yoga teacher, and single mom after repeated miscarriages followed by divorce. A mutual contact introduced us because of all we shared in common. Through our friendship, we critiqued each other’s personal writing, explored Seattle with our sons, and escaped our male households for artsy events. She turned to me through life’s transitions whether that be resume reviews or mediator referrals. We lamented the companies that paid backend coders 5 times more than their freelance copywriters. These sites would not exist without masterful prose on the front end, and yet they paid her a pittance. Stretched thin, she supported herself with her writing and teaching, but as schools closed with stay-at-home orders in place, the prospect of losing her classroom and private yoga clients was just too much to bear. A part of her saw no other way out. Now over two and a half years later on her birthday, we finally were able to gather together in her honor.
I suspect some of you on this site are feeling worn out, used up, “ramfeezled.” Since my friend’s death, I’ve been introduced to the practice of internal family systems (IFS). It has carried me through the past two years. So much so that I’m getting trained to become a certified practitioner. In IFS, we approach ourselves as a system of parts. A part of us is hopeful and has dreams. A part of us feels overwhelmed and can’t imagine what else there is. A part is irritable. A part wants to have all the patience in the world. As Richard Schwartz, the model’s founder claims, there are “no bad parts” — they may just have taken on extreme roles. Through the IFS process, we get to know our various parts and how they are trying to protect us. By unburdening our parts, we free ourselves. To learn more, visit https://ifs-institute.com/.
On this World Mental Health Day, if part of you is feeling depleted with no backup reservoir, I invite you to ask for help. Phone a friend or call or text 988 here in the U.S.