Prince Harry has opened up about being on the brink of a “complete mental breakdown” on numerous occasions while dealing with grief over Princess Diana’s death.
As the 20th anniversary of his mother’s death approaches, Prince Harry gave a candid interview for the Britain’s Daily Telegraph podcast Mad World, talking about coping with grief, volunteering with recovering veterans and setting up his charity Heads Together with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince Harry said while he was now in a “good place” mentally, he spent almost two decades suppressing his grief, “sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum”.
“Because why would that help, it’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back,” the Prince said.
“Then [I] started to have a few conversations and actually all of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the forefront.
“It was 20 years of not thinking about it and then two years of total chaos.”
Prince Harry said he sought counselling and took up boxing to process the grief and deal with aggression.
“I can safely say losing my mum at the age of 12 and therefore shutting all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” he said.
‘I was a problem and I didn’t know how to deal with it’
And he said one of his main goals was to simply encourage people to talk about their mental health.
“Once you start talking about it you suddenly you realise that actually you’re part of quite a big club … and everybody’s gagging to talk about it,” Prince Harry said.
“Then once you start talking about it to your mates, two months later those mates were coming back to me, starting a conversation about ‘we did this and that’ but in that conversation they would start to slowly unravel their own issues because they knew that I could relate to it.
“I know there’s huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet, it’s only ever going to make it worse — not just for you but everybody else around you as well — because you become a problem and I, through a lot of my 20s, was a problem and I didn’t know how to deal with it.”
Beyond Blue chair Jeff Kennett applauded Prince Harry for speaking publicly about his struggles.
But he said it was no surprise that Prince Harry, after a life in the spotlight, had experienced mental illness.
“There’s a lot of men who find it very difficult to deal with marriage break-ups,” Mr Kennett said.
“In the case of the Royal family not only was there a marriage break-up, but it was terribly acrimonious and then of course the loss of [Princess] Diana in that awful car accident.
“So no-one should be surprised that either of these two young men were not beset by demons that should have been addressed at the time.”
Mr Kennett went on to echo Prince Harry’s statements about addressing mental illness.
“I don’t think it matters what the issue is, if you’re feeling ongoing stress over a number of weeks or anxiety seek professional help,” he said.
“In seeking help, so many of the demons that we all face from time to time can be addressed successfully.”
Source: abc net au
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