James Middleton is thankful for the support of his family.
Kate Middleton‘s younger brother, who recently announced his engagement to French financial analyst Alizee Thevenet, is continuing to open up about his battle with depression, and the role his family played in his recovery.
In an interview with The Telegraph, James, 32, said he “couldn’t do anything” before he began seeking treatment a little over a year ago.
“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t read a book, I couldn’t watch a film, I couldn’t eat,” he recalled, noting that he also found it difficult to talk to his family.
“The fact is, no matter what experience someone has, your family members are the hardest people [to talk to]… You also have a very different way of interacting with your family than you do with your friends.” he said. “I’m the youngest child, so I think that’s normal. And they are so tuned into you that they can see what other people can’t.”
After visiting a private psychiatric hospital for a consultation, James spent almost a year in cognitive behavioral therapy, sometimes attending sessions with his family, including the Duchess of Cambridge.
“That was so important because that helped them understand me and how my mind was working. And I think the way the therapy helped me was that I didn’t need my family to say, ‘What can we do?’ The only thing they could do was just come to some of the therapy sessions to start to understand,” he explained.
While James went on to add that he’s “conscious that I have not got rid” of his depression, he’s “very pleased that I went through it, because of who I am on the other side.”
“It was a dark and miserable place to be, but the fact is there is hope at the end. It requires effort and energy, but the other side is… the grass can be greener than it was before,” he added. “For me, now, there’s a feeling that I can take on anything, in the nicest possible way. Not in a [combative] way. Because if I can talk about my mental health and the things I am passionate about and the way I truly feel… well then I’m not pretending to be anyone. This is who I am.”
In an op-ed for the Daily Mail published early this year, James first opened up about his battle with depression, recounting his darkest moments before seeking treatment a little over a year ago. He also credited his dogs with providing emotional support.
“I recognize, too, the role my dogs — Ella, Inca, Luna, Zulu and Mabel — have played in my recovery,” he wrote.
“Ella, particularly, has been my constant companion for ten years and she’s been with me to all my therapy sessions. In her own particular way, she has kept me going,” he continued. “As a result, Ella and I now volunteer with the Pets As Therapy charity and Ella is a fully-fledged therapy dog for PAT.”
James later revealed his reason for speaking out about his experience is to help change the stigma associated with mental illness.
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In addition, James felt compelled to follow the lead of his sister Kate, brother-in-law Prince William and Prince Harry, who have been strong advocates for mental health.
“They believe we can only tackle the stigma associated with mental illness if we have the courage to change the national conversation, to expel its negative associations.”
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