- Pub. Date:
"Gosh, what a rollercoaster of a story: a shining light amid the dark mess of the mental health system" Oliver James
Benjamin Fry's mother died when he was eleven months old and he was cared for by various family friends until, aged two, he went to live with his father, and new step-mother. He had an apparently gilded youth: Eton, Oxford, brains, money, looks (photographed at eighteen by Mario Testino). As an entrepreneur, he managed to make his first million by the time he was thirty.
By forty, he had lost everything.
Having invested in Greek property, in 2008 his life went out of control. He found himself facing untold debts, a fifth child on the way, nowhere to live, and a rapidly disintegrating relationship with his father, his family, and his beleaguered wife. Early trauma combined with adult misfortune. This made for psychological combustion and, in 2009, he suffered a crashing nervous breakdown which nearly killed him. On the brink of suicide, he somehow boarded a flight to Phoenix, Arizona, heading for one of America's leading trauma clinics. Only then, after many months of suffering at the very coalface of mental illness and distress, was he able to make the first tentative steps to recovery.
How I F****ed Up My Life and Made It Mean Something is not only the startling story of the disintegration of a man who for all the world seemed to personify privilege, it is also the more universal tale of the torturous struggle by an individual manifestly floored by camouflaged trauma and the drama of trying to find someone, anyone, who knew what to do about it.
Rarely has an account of a nervous breakdown and poor mental health been so eye-opening, informative, honest, detailed, raw, and heart-wrenching.
For people who have experienced mental health problems themselves, including behavioural disorders and addictions; who have been on the merry-go-round of recommended, but unsuccessful, treatments, or know those who have; or for anyone who is just curious, this book is essential reading.