Prince Harry was very vulnerable when he appeared alongside and Oprah Winfrey in their new series “The Me You Can’t See”.
The mental health series for Apple TV+ will help “lift the veil on the current state of mental health and emotional well-being.”
In the first episode, the Duke of Sussex got real about his own mental health journey, which began after the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana.
“I wasn’t in an environment that encourages it,” Harry said of speaking with his family about the anxiety he was experiencing, explaining it was “squashed.”
Winfrey questioned Harry about what made him decide to start going to therapy four years ago, and he noted “the past” as a reason he first sought help, admitting he was “unaware” of the concept of holding on to grief.
“I always wanted to be normal, as opposed to ‘Prince Harry,’ just being just ‘Harry.’ It was a puzzling life,” he said. “Unfortunately, when I think about my mom, the first thing that comes to mind is always the same one over and over again.”
Harry then told a story about his mother and her own struggles with mental health.
“Straps in the car with the seatbelt across, my brother as well and my mother driving being chased by three, four, five paparazzi,” Harry recalled, adding Diana was “unable to drive because of the tears.”
Harry said that one occurring feeling was “helplessness” that he couldn’t do anything to help her.
“That happened every single day,” he revealed. “Every single day until she died.”
The soon-to-be dad of two remembered having to walk in Diana’s funeral procession in the streets of London that brought out thousands of mourners.
“When my mom was taken away from me at the age of 12, just before my 13th birthday, I didn’t want the life, sharing the grief of my mother’s death with the world,” Harry said.
Thinking of Diana’s funeral procession, Harry said his most vivid memory is the “sound of the horse’s hooves going across the pavement.”
“By this point, both of us were in shock. It was like I was out of my body and just walking along doing what was expected of me, showing one-tenth of the emotion everyone else was showing,” he continued. “I was so angry about what happened to her and the fact there was no justice.”
Prince Harry said that he didn’t want to think about Diana because just makes him “sad I can’t bring her back.”
A teenage Harry hid away the pain for many years until turning to a “fight-or-flight mode” from ages 28 to 32, noting it was a “nightmare time” for anxiety attacks.
“I was willing to drink. I was willing to take drugs. I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling,” he said. “But I slowly became aware that, OK, I wasn’t drinking Monday to Friday, but I would probably drink a week’s worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night. And I would find myself drinking not because I was enjoying it, but because I was trying to mask something.”
Harry explained that the “happiest” time in his life was his 10 years in the army because he was treated like everyone else.
“Towards my late twenties, I was starting to ask questions like, ‘Should I really be here?'” Harry said of being a member of the Royal Family. “That is when I suddenly went, ‘You can’t keep hiding from this,’ and family members have said, ‘Just play the game and your life will be easier,’ but I’ve got a hell of a lot of my mom in me,” he continued.
“I feel like I am outside of the system but I’m still stuck there,” Harry said. “The only way to free yourself and break out is to tell the truth.”
It wasn’t until he met Meghan Markle, he explained, that he knew he would need to get therapy.
“I quickly established that if this relationship was going to work, I was going to have to deal with my past because there was an anger there.”
“The Me You Can’t See” debuts May 21 on Apple TV+.