Speaking in a new interview, his royal highness Prince Harry has shared how he suffered from panic attacks following the sad passing of his mother, Princess Diana.
In the interview, which is being broadcast on Forces TV, a station dedicated to the UK Armed Forces and the wider military world, Harry, who served in the army for 10 years, spoke to Paralympic medal winner, Dave Henson, about what his experience was like after his mother died, recalling the panic attacks he used to have as a child.
“In my case, suit and tie, every single time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, like heart beating — boom, boom, boom, boom — and literally just like a washing machine,” Harry recalled, describing the experience. “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.”
In the same interview, the 34-year-old royal shared how two tours in Afghanistan acted as triggers, leading him to eventually get a handle on his mental health problems and deal with his underlying grief and loss.
“If you lose your mum at the age of 12, you have got to deal with it. The idea that 20 years later I still hadn’t really… that 15, 17 years later I still hadn’t dealt with it. Afghan was the moment where I was like, ‘Right, deal with it,’” he admitted.
Continuing, he said: “Once I plucked my head out of the sand, post-Afghan….it had a huge…life-changing moment for me It was like, right, you are…Prince Harry, you can do this, as long are you’re not a complete tit, then you’re gonna be able to get that support, because you’ve got the credibility of 10 years’ service and therefore, you can really make a difference.”
Prince Harry said that meeting others who had experienced the same traumas he did was extremely helpful in learning how to cope.
“There’s similarities there and you can help them and you can have a bit of banter. And the moment you have that banter, you can see them relax,” he said.
At the end of the interview, Harry said, “You help yourself, so you can help others. I think that is hugely powerful.”
Earlier this year, Prince Harry — along with his brother, Prince William, and sister-in-law, the Dutchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton — launched a mental health initiative, Heads Together, which aims to “help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing.”
Elsewhere, Lady Gaga had a Skype chat with Prince William, during which the pair talked about breaking down the stigma attached to mental illness.
It’s great to see people like Princes Harry and William using their platforms and sharing their own stories in a bid to help others. Hopefully, as the discussions about mental health continue, we’ll see more and more people getting help.