by Jenita Richards
Brigit Ritchie is founder and CEO of We, a learning studio that provides workshops and experiences to help people develop relational mindfulness within relationships at work.
She shares this passion with being an intimacy and relationship coach, a mom, and artist.
At the time of this discussion, Brigit had recently arrived home from Beond, a week from her ibogaine experience. She explains she’s still in the reflective phase of experiencing insights and feeling emotions that are coming up and peeling back the information this experience has brought to her.
Her stay at Beond was for 10 days, and even now she is continuing to notice patterns she had before ibogaine and receiving clarity on how to break these patterns in her life. This experience has given her a burst of mental, spiritual and emotional energy.
The path that led her to ibogaine was an overwhelming one. She was living her life by overexerting herself the full 100%, which made her feel like she was drowning. After 18 years, Ritchie and her partner were divorcing. Having to be a rock for her 2 children, one on the autism spectrum and recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she moved them to a small town in Arkansas. Coming from the big and chaotic city of Los Angeles, this was change on top of change on top of change.
She was applying all the recommendations to cope with these changes. She was meditating, working out, going to therapy, talking to friends. But none of it was helping. She was still drowning and going through a depression. She began to cope with cigarettes and more drinking. Although she was aware that this was going down a path that would be detrimental to her health, she couldn’t stop. She didn’t want to. She was hitting a desperate point. Her doctor told her she was a moderate alcoholic and her instinct was to rebuff it. How could she be? She had her dream job, passionate about the work she was doing. She was fully functioning. Was a glass or two or three of wine every night really a big deal? Although in her mind it was under control, they were still coping mechanisms that would have gotten worse. At just the right time, a friend of hers recommended ibogaine. Although skeptical, she decided to try it as an experiment.
“It was not at all what I expected, but exactly what I needed.”
Post-ibogaine, Ritchie is currently sober from alcohol and cigarettes. It was difficult for her to connect danger to her habits because she was living in survival mode. She was resisting change and healing so she could be there for others and not think so much of herself and her pain. Ibogaine removed this block. She recalls a firm voice that felt like a lightning bolt telling her to stop smoking. This was a parental energy that wants to protect you by being a force unable to ignore.
The coaching and preparation with the Beond team before her ibogaine experience helped her write 56 questions for ibogaine. Although she was in a desperate place, she worked with her coach to find the questions she needed answers to and that’s what made the pre-treatment so valuable. She was at rock bottom emotionally, and the coaching and preparation provided by Beond was so important for her.
She broke up her questions into categories like “kids,” “relationship to ex,” “work.” And in those categories were questions like “How do I try to earn love?,” “How can I feel whole?,” “What’s my best relationship to work?” These helped her to go in with a clear head and an understanding of where she needed help and support.
All of her 56 questions were answered.
Brigit Ritchie went in open and not really believing, and came out experiencing something much more impactful than what she expected. It was so much more powerful than what she even needed to experience.
She was able to relive, love and heal the girl who suffered from childhood abuse.
“There was still this, essentially, frozen little girl inside of me, terrified.”
She wanted to feel safe and valued, and ibogaine guided her to relive the experience of abuse in order to really understand how it affected her and what she believed about herself today.
During the ibogaine journey at Beond where there were medical and psych professionals present the entire time, she had an experience of screaming for help and no one tending to her, believing it was real but it was all in her head. She felt that it actually happened and approached the staff the next day with anger and complaints of not being supported. Although this never happened in the physical, the staff empathized with her and validated her experience. They acknowledged that she should never feel abandoned and she should have love and support and safety around her. It was a real-time healing of childhood trauma.
Although she had gone to therapy and reconciled with her abuser, ibogaine helped her get to the root of this “permeating trauma.”
“I’d been seeking for this type of true, profound, transformational access to myself.”
This experience allowed Ritchie to remove this abuse from her identity. She no longer feels confused about it entering areas of her life like parenting, relationships and work. She has a new lease on life to live without the glue of our unhealed past.
“I can show up as me.”
Ah, the gift of authenticity and clarity.