Welcome to a conversation with truthteller, adventure seeker, ultra runner, Ironman athlete and Dad Freddie Bennett. We got together for this chat a while back in the depths of lockdown (what week are we on now?). A time when Freddie was home teaching his kids, working and supporting his wife, who has been on the Covid frontlines as a doctor. So thank you Freddie and family for giving up 90 minutes of precious time.
As Freddie has been saying to his kids:
“We can be locked down, but we don’t have to be knocked down.”
This is a conversation about what can take root in the mind as a result of stress as a child, and the legacy it can leave as an adult. Freddie was born with severe asthma and regularly rushed to intensive care. He was protected in a bubble and felt apart from his classmates. At home, life was fraught with conflict, heavy drinking, discontent and a sense of instability; Freddie often felt the storm cloud of arguments brewing, before chaos ensued. Here, he openly shares a frank insight into his younger years, and how the history of stress tracked into his early career, where he sought out stability to balance the chaos of his early years. But through his years working in management consulting he was gripped by imposter syndrome, feeling constantly like a fish out of water, gasping for belonging.
“But in this corporate life, I did realise I had one talent and that was drinking.”
Freddie doused his insecurities in alcohol, drinking to feel part of the team. He was known as a legend and felt a belonging. Yet internally, “fun time Freddie” became crippled with anxiety and paranoia, which he buried deep within himself to go out and do it all over again. A pattern that led to several dates with deep depression and contemplation of suicide.
Freddie also tells us more about:
The reality of his life in lockdown, whilst his wife is working on the frontline as a hospital doctor.
The challenges and pressures to crush it in home schooling, whilst working from home and managing domestic life.
What his rock bottoms looked and felt like.
The difficulties of asking for mental health help the second, third and fourth time around, and depending on networks of loved ones for repeated support.
The transformation in his life from giving up alcohol.
The grey area of drinking and the dangers of taking a black or white view to the impact of alcohol.
The power of reframing negative emotions and thought processes.
His 2021 endurance plans: 200 miles in the Arctic and a Lands End - John O’ Groats.
Thank you Freddie for telling us about your life. Our conversation filled me with so much reflection on my younger years and expectations on myself today, during this crisis.
Friends, you can listen and share through the links below, from Friday 8am UK.