Benjamin Fry writes about the personal torment that led to the birth of Khiron House

by Penny Boreham, Intake Manager

How I F***ed Up My Life...Benjamin Fry’s new book “How I F***Ed Up My Life And Made It Mean Something”, is to be published next month.

It is a searingly honest and deeply personal account of Benjamin’s nervous breakdown and his journey to find a treatment that could actually help him.

It took him across the Atlantic Ocean and taught him that there was a new paradigm emerging that would start to make sense of his situation. In fact, Khiron House only exists today because of the journey Benjamin made and the transforming treatments he ultimately found in the United States. Those treatments are now part of a whole new approach to healing mind and body, and they are the treatments that are now practised here in the United Kingdom, at Khiron House.

This is the first of three extracts from the book.

I remember the Christmas of 2008. I had a lovely home, a big tree, enough presents, food, four lovely children and a pregnant wife, but all I did all day was shake. 

We had some friends over I had met at the church I had continued to attend regularly, thinking I could pray away the anxiety like all the early Christians, who seemed to positively beam with poverty.

Although I could communicate, with the simulation of superficial small-talk, and sit with people, the only experience I could connect with was the one rampaging through my physical system. I remember my lower abdomen just trembling all the time. My body was just ‘on’. I probably lost two stone over the previous two months. I literally shook it off. I was still eating, as I did at Christmas lunch, but I must have been burning energy at such a rate that it was the equivalent of starving myself despite the normal intake of calories.

It was interesting how I experienced these changes. I certainly didn’t see myself then as I see myself now, looking back. That wasn’t possible. Had I told myself then that I was sliding into a serious mental illness it would have made my worries worse. Instead, I rationalised that I was just taking on too many new clients at work and that ‘their stuff’ was overwhelming me. This was partly true, but trying to solve the problem as if this was all it was didn’t work. I spent more time with my supervisor, ostensibly discussing my clients, but gradually all we found ourselves discussing was me and how I was falling apart. 

Then I stopped sleeping properly. This is really when all semblance of normality began to leave my life, mind and body. 

Sleep, I have come to reflect, is a thing like money and love in as much as you can’t really appreciate its value until you lose it. I began to wake up earlier and earlier in the morning, initially with a murmur, latterly with a start, then finally like a gunshot had exploded in my head. The worse it got, the more of an issue it became; the more of an issue it became, the more I worried about it; the more I worried, the less I slept. 

It got to the point where each morning I would wake up and the first thing I would do was look at my watch; then, seeing something like 3.15am I would immediately panic that I was losing my capacity to function in the world, and the panic would untimely rip me wide awake. Then I would spend agonising hours in bed, trying to contain my tortured mind sufficiently to let me go back to sleep. I would budget an hour for a full-on worry attack, believing that this would then let me calm down enough to rest again.

I didn’t do anything helpful or constructive like get up or move around. I just lay there in the dark wrestling with my mind, thinking that this time I might get somewhere. Never, ever, did it work. Relentlessly I continued to try. Why? Why would I fall over and over again into the same hole? I had no idea what else to do. 

I couldn’t properly understand what was wrong with me. My therapeutic resources seemed unable to solve this problem, the mind seeming to be so far away from the body where I was feeling this. And, although I read lots of books and there was advice a plenty, I needed action, and short of medication which I was loathe to engage with, the psy- professions seemed to have little to offer the severity of my condition. I wasn’t able to fully look, honestly, at how ill I was and I had no idea what to do about the problem if I did.

In two weeks time, in the second of three extracts from Benjamin Fry’s new book “How I F***Ed Up My Life And Made It Mean Something”, we will read about how Benjamin started, painfully, to find his way to the clinic in the United States that would begin to help him and in the third we witness him finally experiencing the treatments that would save his life.

Benjamin’s new book tells the story of his nervous breakdown, treatment and recovery. It is the full story hinted at in various articles that he has published over the last few years.

You can read the articles and excerpts from the book on our <a title=”Benjamin’s Articles” href=”http://http://khironhouse.com/blog/category/benjamins-articles/”>blog</a>.

Buy the book from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk or download it to your Kindle.

If you would like a weekly email about new posts on our blog please sign up for our mailing list in the box above right. 

7 Comments

  1. Comment by Fi on

    Hi Benjamin,
    I have been impressed by your whole story/approach ever since I read the article in the you magazine!
    Just carry on doing what you are doing and some amazing things will happen,planting the seed is good enough,the energy and intent will do the rest!
    Great work!
    Fi

    1. Reply by Benjamin Fry on

      Thank you!

  2. Comment by Mary on

    Well done to come through it. I always worry about the wife too. If my husband fell apart and I was managing 5 children ( manage 65 plus full time work) that would be a pretty raw deal and I would expect for the 5 years after to make up he would do all the cleaning and most of the childcare to make it up to me whilst I could swan off abroad to clinics whilst he minded 5 children.

  3. Comment by Bernardine on

    Hi Ben – I value your honesty and encourage you to share your story especially as a therapist. Please name it as trauma, not mental illness with its labels. The therapy world has lost its way in it’s talking cognitive/ analysis roots and anyone who brings the body-emotion into the light of day is to be respected in our medical model of mind and separate body. I would query the use of mental illness as it is a switch off for people who need help and is seen as just another label to add to their trauma. i would hope that the insidious nature of trauma , big and small T, especially developmental becomes accepted as the real culprit in the un-wellness of mind heart and body in society.

  4. Comment by Janette on

    I’ve been reading your story for some time, on your blogs and website but what I’ve often wondered about is your wife’s side of the story; what she felt and went through?
    Anyway since your business is now established and your book about to be published, would you like a challenge? How do you heal people with no money and no access to resources, like in Africa? How would you translate what you have learnt to make it readily available and easily understandable to everyone? Would it be possible?

    1. Reply by Benjamin Fry on

      There are organisations which do things like this, for example http://sosinternationale.org/. Have a look. I’m afraid I’m up to my eyeballs in the clinic and this is the first of 3 books! I think my wife’s experience was fairly miserable, but I would want to let her talk for herself on that subject…

  5. Comment by suzanne on

    I look forward to this coming out. I am now undertaking sensriomotor psychotherapy. I am learning to get to know about different parts of my body.

Leave a comment