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Prince Harry opens up about panic attacks, therapy, his mother's death

News Agencies | Updated on: 21 May 2021, 13:35 IST
Prince Harry

Prince Harry recently opened up about the path that led him to take therapy and spoke openly about his panic attacks, mental health journey, and his mother's death, sharing that he has been in therapy for four years "to heal myself from the past."

According to People magazine, in an emotional revelation during the new AppleTV+ docuseries 'The Me You Can't See', co-created by Oprah Winfrey and the Duke of Sussex, he also revealed it was his wife Meghan Markle who encouraged him to seek professional help.

Sharing the details, Harry said, "I saw doctors, I saw therapists, I saw alternative therapists. I saw all sorts of people. But it was meeting and being with Meghan, I knew that if I didn't do therapy and fix myself, that I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with."

Harry, who was just 12 years old when his mother, Princess Diana died in 1997, said that during his childhood, teen years and twenties, "I wasn't in an environment where it was encouraged to talk about it either, that was sort of, like, squashed."

In the searingly honest conversation with Oprah, Harry said he would have his head in the sand and just crack on. "If people said, 'how are you?' I'd be like 'fine.' Never happy. Never sad, just fine. Fine was the easy answer. But I was all over the place mentally," he revealed. As Harry embarked on royal duties in the years that followed, severe anxiety would dominate his emotions.

Admitting to suffering from anxiety, he said, "Every time I put a suit and tie on and having to do the role and sort of like go, let's go. Before I even left the house I was pouring with sweat, my heart rate was . . . I was in fight or flight mode. Panic attacks, severe anxiety . . . So age 28 to probably 32 was a nightmare time in my life, freaking out."

He further talked about his substance abuse and continued, "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. But I slowly became aware that, okay, 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."

Talking about being hurt, Harry concluded by saying, "People who are hurt, understandably hurt, from their upbringing, their environment, what's happened to them, what they've been exposed to, what they've seen -- whatever it is -- if you don't transform, if you don't process it, then it ends up coming out and in all sorts of different ways and you can't control."

In the first episode, Harry talks about his mother's funeral, when he and his older brother Prince William, then 15, joined their father Prince Charles, grandfather Prince Philip and uncle Charles, Earl Spencer in walking solemnly behind Diana's casket.

Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey's mental-health docuseries 'The Me You Can't See', which premiered on May 20, also features inspiring stories from Oprah, Lady Gaga, and Glenn Close. Harry and Oprah have co-created this new series to "lift the veil" on mental health and wellbeing, they said last week.


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First published: 21 May 2021, 13:35 IST