For James Middleton, maintaining his mental health is a family affair.
In a candid new interview with The Telegraph, the younger brother of the Duchess of Cambridge opens up about his struggles with depression, revealing that he, his famous sister and the rest of his family underwent therapy together when he found himself in a particularly dark place.
According to Middleton, 32, he had sunk so low he couldn’t even bring himself to speak to his family.
“There are certain snapshots that I have, little memories of just how…” he says, pausing. “I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t read a book, I couldn’t watch a film, I couldn’t eat. If I ate something it just sat there.”
He continues: “I was just like, “What am I meant to do?’ I was better off in my own company, so I didn’t have the additional worry of someone thinking, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ I removed myself from everything.”
Obviously, this was not a workable longterm solution, and for nearly a year he underwent cognitive behavioural therapy. In fact, he tells The Telegraph that a year-and-a-half ago, all of his family members, including Kate, 37, joined him in therapy sessions.
“And that was actually, a very, very big thing,” he explains. “All of them [attended]. Not necessarily at the same time, but either individually and [sometimes] together. And 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.”
As Middleton points out, opening up about mental health struggles with one’s family can be more difficult that speaking with a stranger.
“The fact is, no matter what experience someone has, your family members are the hardest people [to talk to],” he admits. “You also have a very different way of interacting with your family than you do with your friends… they are so tuned into you that they can see what other people can’t.”