Anyone who's ever experienced a panic attack knows it takes a tremendous toll on both the body and the mind. Despite the prevalence of this mental health issue, a persistent stigma remains, and that's why it's so important that Prince Harry is speaking out about what his panic attacks feel like.
“In my case, every single time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, my heart beating ― boom, boom, boom, boom ― literally, just like a washing machine," he told U.K. Army channel Forces TV.
Prince Harry went on to explain that, although the fight or flight stress response kicks in, he's unable to act on it. This is a common symptom of panic attacks, which often lead to temporary paralysis.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, get me out of here now. Oh, hang on, I can’t get out of here, I have got to just hide it,’” he explained.
Approximately 40 million American adults (18% of the population) suffer from anxiety and panic disorders, so Prince Harry's words will undoubtedly hit close to home for many people.
The Prince's honesty about his own struggles is consistent with his ongoing mental health advocacy. He c0-founded the anti-stigma initiative Heads Together and has worked closely with veterans suffering from PTSD.
Prince Harry has also been honest about the importance of seeking professional help. Earlier this year, he said that his overall mental health was deeply impacted by the fact that he didn't allow himself to process his grief over his mother's tragic death, which occurred when he was just 12 years old.
He concluded the interview by urging people suffering from mental health conditions to seek professional help: "Rather than running around at 50 percent capacity, imagine if we could run around at 100 percent capacity,” he said. “Imagine what we could achieve.”
Major props to Prince Harry for using his platform to bring attention to the incredibly important issue of mental health. As he says, no one should suffer in silence and shame. And professional help can make a world of difference in our ability to function in our daily lives.