Prince Harry has been struggling with the death of his mother for a long time, but these days he’s opening up like never before.
The royal is a big supporter of mental health awareness, just take a look at the Heads Together campaign he started with Prince William and Duchess Kate. In a rare interview with “Bryony Gordon’s Mad World“, Harry opened up about his own mental health.
Reflecting on his attitude after the death of his mom, Princess Diana, Harry only recently realized how deep he’d locked away his feelings. “If you look back to the fact that I lost my mom at the age of 12 on the public platform of which it was, and then everything else that happens with being in the spotlight in this sort of role and the pressures that come with it,” Harry explained.
“And then going to Afghanistan, and then working in the personal recovering unit with all of the soldiers as well and taking on a lot of their issues,” he continued. “Anybody would like at that and go, ‘OK, there must be something wrong with you. You can’t be totally normal.'”
The 32-year-old was in denial, “My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand and refusing to ever think about my mom because why would that help. It’s only going to make you sad. It’s never going to bring her back.”
“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 also my work as well,” he revealed. “It was only three years ago that, from the support around and my brother and other people around who started to say, ‘You need to deal with this. It’s not normal to think that nothing’s affecting you.'”
And once Harry tore the emotional band-aid off, the feelings began pouring out, “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 and I was like, ‘There is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with.'”
The royal also shared some of the techniques that have helped improve his mental health. “[Sometimes] I don’t actually need your advice I just need you to listen to me,” he noted.
Healing hasn’t only been a verbal process. Harry has also taken up boxing and running as ways to challenge himself. “Exercise really is the key,” he said. “Exercise is a simple solution. Instead of giving up, giving up, giving up. How about taking up?”
Ultimately, Harry’s goal is to unite people and remind society that “we’re not robots.”
“What my mother believed in is if the fact that you are in a position of privilege or a position of responsibility and if you can put your name to something that you genuinely believe in… then you can smash any stigma you want,” he concluded.