Prince Harry Opened Up About Turning to Drugs and Alcohol to Cope With His Mother’s Death

Though the public viewed young Harry as a party boy, he was actually just devastated over losing his mom.

Now that Prince Harry is free of the shackles of the royal family, he’s speaking candidly about his mental health—and he’s definitely not holding back. In his new docuseries with Oprah Winfrey, The Me You Can’t See, Prince Harry opened up about how he coped with the death of his mother, Princess Diana, and how therapy has changed his life.

Prince Harry admitted that his 20s were a “nightmare time in my life.”

Royal fans probably remember when Harry was known as a party boy, but behind the scenes, it wasn’t really about having a good time—it was about dealing with losing his mom at such a young age.

Not only did Harry say that he would “start sweating” every time he noticed a photographer or got into a car, but he also turned to drugs and drinking to help numb the pain he was going through.

“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 admitted. “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.”

Ultimately, Harry said that therapy—which Meghan Markle encouraged him to do early on in their relationship—is what finally helped him cope, though it hasn’t been an easy journey. On the show, Harry explained, “The moment I started therapy and probably within my second session, my therapist turned around to me, and said, ‘That sounds like you are reverting to 12-year-old Harry.’ I felt somewhat ashamed and defensive, but ‘how dare you, you’re calling me a child.'”

Harry continued, saying his therapist insisted she wasn’t calling him a child but instead showing sympathy and empathy for the trauma he’d experienced when he was a child. He shared that she said, “You never processed it. You were never allowed to talk about it. And all of a sudden now, it’s coming up in different ways as projection.”

After hearing that, Harry said he was able to start making changes and learning how to work through everything. “That was the start of a learning journey for me,” he said. “I became aware that I’d been living in a bubble, within this family, within this institution, I was, sort of, almost trapped in a thought process or a mindset.”

Now that Harry is able to be open about his mental health, it sounds like he’s doing much better, and hopefully, things will continue to get easier for him on his journey.

Prince Harry’s series, The Me You Can’t See, is now streaming on AppleTV+.

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