Prince Harry was just 12 years old when his mother died in 1997. But according to the royal, he didn't deal with his grief until decades later, which ultimately lead to a variety of mental health issues.
In a raw new interview with The Telegraph, a British newspaper, Harry said it wasn't until he was 28 that he addressed his despair. The 32-year-old told Bryony Gordon for her Mad World podcast that he was “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions” and living in the public eye only exasperated his anxiety.
“I can safely say that losing my mom 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 explained. “I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief, lies, and misconceptions are coming [at me] from every angle.”
When questioned if he had seen a therapist for help, the Prince revealed: “I’ve done that a couple of times, more than a couple of times, but it’s great.”
The passionate humanitarian also confessed to having anger management issues and turning to boxing as an outlet.
“During those years, I took up boxing because everyone was saying boxing is good for you. It’s a really good way of letting out aggression,” Harry said. “And that really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone, so being able to punch someone who had pads on was certainly easier," he continued.
Harry also revealed that his older brother Prince William urged him to get professional help, telling him: “Look, you really need to deal with this. It is not normal to think that nothing has affected you.”
“It’s all about timing," Harry said. "And for me personally, my brother--bless him--was a huge support to me. He kept saying, 'This is not right; this is not normal. You need to talk to [someone] about stuff. It’s OK.' My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mom, because why would that help?"
As a result, Harry said he buried his emotions for a long time.
“[I thought], 'It’s only going to make you sad. It’s not going to bring her back.' So from an emotional side, I was like ‘Right, don’t ever let your emotions be part of anything.'"
Before getting help, the royal admitted to conning himself into thinking he was OK.
“I was a typical 20-, 25-, 28-year-old running around going ‘Life is great,’ or ‘Life is fine,’ and that was exactly it," he 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. I was like, 'There is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with.'”
Harry said it was “only two years...of total chaos” before he was comfortable expressing his feelings: “I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me.”
Harry said seeking help has left him in a good place: "Because of the process I have been through over the past two and a half years, I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, been able to take my private life seriously as well, and been able to put blood, sweat, and tears into the things that really make a difference and things that I think will make a difference to everybody else.”
This latest interview comes in the wake of Prince Harry's inspirational work for raising awareness around mental health. Along with Prince William and Duchess Catherine, the royal trio have teamed up with Heads Together, the official charity of the 2017 London marathon, to campaign for the cause.
We're so proud of you, Harry!
This post was written by Bella Brennan. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.
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