After the tragic death of his mother, Prince Harry struggled to seek out the emotional support he needed, which culminated in debilitating panic attacks, he explained in an eye-opening new interview with Forces TV.
Through the royal family’s Heads Together campaign, shining a light on the importance of mental health, the prince has recently been more open in sharing his own struggles dealing with the loss of his mother when he was just 12 years old.
This interview, however, marks the first time Harry has gone into detail about his experience as a public figure secretly struggling with panic attacks.
“In my case, every single time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, my heart beating — boom, boom, boom, boom — literally, just like a washing machine,” he told Forces TV.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, get me out of here now. Oh, hang on, I can’t get out of here. I have got to just hide it.’”
Harry — whose candid chat with his brother about Princess Diana’s death went viral in April — said serving in the armed forces played a pivotal role in helping him confront his mental health struggles.
“Afghanistan was the moment where I was like, ‘right, deal with it,'” he said, noting he spent nearly two decades of struggling in silence before he opened up. “So many people who suffer from depression, anxiety, alcoholism, it can be from when you were younger, and Afghanistan is the trigger to bring it all to light and to deal with that stuff.”
It was his experience serving in Afghanistan that inspired Prince Harry to create the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for ill and wounded armed service members.
Harry’s interview with Forces TV was part of his promotional tour for this year’s upcoming games, which will be held in Toronto.
“I have seen that the games have given competitors new hope as they recovered from serious injuries and illnesses,” he wrote in the Toronto Star last week. “And just as importantly, it’s given their loved ones new hope as they support them along this journey.”
Confronting mental illness and helping wounded warriors might be heavy-hearted endeavors. But the prince isn’t one to shy away from adding a little bit of levity to the conversation in hopes it brings more people together.
“So many people are, you know, like slightly mental,” he quipped to Forces TV. “Awesome! We are, we are all mental, and we have all got to deal with our stuff.”
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