Prince Harry has talked about the emotional trauma he suffered as a result of losing his mother, Princess Diana, at the age of 12. In a new television interview, the 32-year-old grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, and fifth in line to the throne of England, described in detail the panic attacks he suffered after his mother died. He said that he suffered severe panic attacks every time he found himself in a room full of people during royal engagements. During the attacks, his heart would beat so violently that his body felt like a “washing machine.”
Prince Harry admitted publicly for the first time earlier this year that he had sought professional help for mental health issues at the age of 28, after two years of suffering severe panic attacks. He spoke about his illness in detail for the first time in an interview on Forces TV to promote his upcoming Invictus Games, a sporting event he organized for injured service personnel. The event is due to hold later this year in Toronto.
“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,” he said.
“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.'”
Prince Harry said that joining the army and going to fight in Afghanistan helped to “trigger” the resolve to confront his loss and to deal with the unresolved emotional trauma caused by his mother’s untimely death.
“Afghan was the moment where I was like, ‘Right, deal with it,'” he said. “I was like, right, ‘You are Prince Harry. You can do this. As long as you’re not a complete t*t then you are going to be able to get that support because you’ve got the credibility of ten years’ service and therefore you can really make a difference.”
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He said that after seeking professional help and resolving his mental health issues, he turned his attention to helping others overcome the challenges of mental health issues.
During a conversation with Dave Henson, his double amputee friend and former Invictus Games competitor who won bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, Brazil, Harry said that his personal experience has prepared him to help others because having gone through a similar experience he could appreciate what others were going through.
“When you can get your own head and self back on the right path, the amount of people you can help is unbelievable, because you can tell the signs in people,” he said. “You can see it in their eyes. You can see it in them, their reactions.”
“You go through all that stuff and then you met other lads who are on a similar journey or the similarities are there,” he continued. “You help yourself so you can help others. That is hugely powerful.”
“So many people are, you know, like slightly mental. Awesome! We are, we are all mental and we have all got to deal with our stuff.”
— ITV News (@itvnews) June 21, 2017
He insisted that helping people overcome their mental health problems was important because it empowers them to “run around at 100 percent capacity” rather than “at 50 percent capacity.”
“Actually going through Invictus and speaking to all the guys about their issues has really healed me and helped me,” he said.
He also argued that contrary to the assumption that the mental health issues many veterans suffer from can be traced to their experiences during military service, many of the problems originated from childhood experiences. Military service only serves as the “trigger” that brings the trauma to light.
“I have got plenty of issues, but none of them really relate to Afghanistan but Afghanistan was the thing that triggered everything else and the process,” Harry said.
“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,” he added.
“If you lose your mum at the age of 12 you have got to deal with it. Afghan was the moment where I was like, ‘Right, deal with it.'”
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) June 21, 2017
He said he was inspired to set up the Invictus Games because it helped him to deal with his own mental health issues.
“For me, Invictus has been sort of like a cure for myself.”
He added that watching injured former service personnel compete for honors inspires him.
“Everybody needs to get up off their *** and just say, ‘You know what, I’m not beaten, I’m unconquerable. Let’s do this,'” he concluded.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Brady/Getty Images]