The royal family is not one known to be overly candid. Additionally, no one would describe the Queen of England and her grandchildren as "normal," but now Prince Harry wants to change that by pointing out that no one is normal, especially not when it comes to mental health.
The 32-year-old royal engaged in an extremely frank conversation with writer Bryony Gordon of The Telegraph to talk about his mental health and how he only recently came to terms with his emotions following his mother Princess Diana's traumatic death. On the podcast "Mad World," Harry and Bryony discuss coming to terms with needing help in the form of therapy or just personally accepting that it's okay to feel "weird" sometimes. Most notably, Harry isn't shy about revealing the exact moment that he feels his mental health took a major toll. "I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down 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. He continued, "I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle."
Everyone deals with their anxieties, depression, and grief in their own way, and Harry took to ignoring them, until he later had clarity on the issue through his work with veterans and soldiers suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. "My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?" Thinking about her wouldn't "bring her back" he said, and decided that he would rather push his feelings aside. Seeing a psychologist finally changed that for him, and he has proudly been "more than a couple of times."
"Some of the best people or easiest people to speak to is a shrink or whoever — the Americans call them shrinks — someone you have never met before," he said. "You sit down on the sofa and say: ‘Listen, I don’t actually need your advice. Can you just listen?’ And you just let it all rip." He also thanked his older brother, Prince William, for supporting him, and encouraging him to seek help. "My brother, you know, bless him, he was a huge support to me," he said. "He kept saying this is not right, this is not normal, you need to talk to [someone] about stuff, it's okay." This, right here, is what family is for.
To hear the full interview, listen below. It's really an eye-opening look at what it's like to balance personal issues with public image, especially in one of the most talked-about and fawned-over families in the world.
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.