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Prince Harry has revealed he sought counselling after his mum’s death in a very frank interview.
The 32-year-old opened up about how he struggled to deal with Princess Diana’s death, and said ‘shutting down’ all of his emotions was his coping mechanism until he decided to talk about it.
Harry, who was only 12 when his mother passed away, also revealed he sought professional help from a therapist after her death.
‘I can safely say that losing my mum 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 my work as well’, he said in an interview for a mental health podcast with journalist Bryony Gordon.
‘My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help? It’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back.’
Harry was only 12 when he lost his mum
‘So from an emotional side, I was like ‘right, don’t ever let your emotions be part of anything’.
‘So I was a typical 20, 25, 28-year-old running around going ‘life is great’, or ‘life is fine’ and that was exactly it.’
In the interview, Harry also revealed he took up boxing to help him cope with the situation, which really ‘saved’ him.
‘During those years I took up boxing, because everyone was saying boxing is good for you and it’s a really good way of letting out aggression.
‘And that really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone, so being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier.’
When asked if he ever got professional help from a therapist, Harry revealed to have spoken to one a few times, and that ‘it’s great’.
‘I’ve done that a couple of times, more than a couple of times, but it’s great.’
The royal is opening up about his own mental health struggles in a bid to encourage others to talk about their problems and ‘normalise’ the conversation, as ‘keeping it quiet will only ever make it worse’.
‘I know there’s huge merit in talking about your issues. Keeping it quiet will only ever make it worse, not just for you but everyone else around you, because you become a problem.’
Kate and William have also been discussing mental health issues as part of their work with charity Heads Together
‘Once you start talking about it to your mates, two months later those mates were coming back to me and starting to slowly unravel their own issues, because they knew that I could relate to it.’
‘What we’re trying to do is normalise the conversation, to the point where anyone can sit down and have a coffee and just say, ‘You know what, I’ve had a really s*** day, can I just tell you about it?’
‘Then you walk away and it’s done, rather than a week later, or 20 years later, what could have been something small can grow into this beast of a snowball that you can’t dislodge’, Harry added, talking about his own experience of not talking about his mother’s death.
Opening up about the pressures that come with his royal status, Harry also admitted that it’s hard to stay sane.
‘I have no idea how any of us stay sane. I’ve been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and lies and misconceptions are coming at you from every angle.
‘But it comes with the job, and one of the hardest things is not being able to have a voice and stand up for yourself. You just have to let it wash over you.’