Kate Middleton's brother James reveals his struggle with depression

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Kate Middleton's brother James has written a candid essay for the Daily Mail about his battle with depression. James says the mental illness, which he has never previously spoken about in public, left him unable to communicate, "even with those I loved best: my family and close friends."

James' revelation about his mental health issues comes shortly after making his personal Instagram page public, indicating an eagerness to let the world into his life as a means of helping others.

"I know I’m richly blessed and live a privileged life," writes James, pointing out that wealth and privilege do not make a person "immune to depression".

Photo credit: Kensington Palace Instagram

"It is tricky to describe the condition," he continues. "It is not merely sadness. It is an illness, a cancer of the mind.

"All colour and emotion had leached out of my world and everything was grey and monotone."

James' reason for opening up about the struggles he has faced, now that he is in an altogether healthier place, is to reinforce the importance of talking about mental illness.

"I feel - although I’d never say I am cured of it - that now I understand it and, with professional help, have worked out strategies for coping," says James. "Today, I feel a new sense of purpose and zest for life."

He adds that the work his sister, Kate Middleton, and his brother-in-law Prince William do alongside Prince Harry for their mental health charity Heads Together has also compelled him to speak openly about what he's gone through.

"They believe we can only tackle the stigma associated with mental illness if we have the courage to change the national conversation, to expel its negative associations," James writes in his article.

"So it wouldn’t be honest to suppress my story. I want to speak out, and they are my motivation for doing so."

Photo credit: Getty Images

After the onset of clinical depression at the end of 2016, James says most of 2017 "passed in a fog". But as the year ended, he took himself away on a solo trip to one of his favourite childhood places in the Lake District where he swam in icy waters, took long solitary walks, and stayed alone in a remote cottage for a few days. It was there where James realised he needed to ask for help. So that's exactly what he did.

A consultation with a doctor led to an eventual diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) - something which put a lot of things in place for James - and from there he went on to have therapy sessions every week, which he still does now.

Kate's brother also reveals in the piece that his five dogs - Ella, Inca, Luna, Zulu and Mabel - have played a vital role in his recovery, with Ella even accompanying James to all his therapy sessions. "As a result, Ella and I now volunteer with the Pets As Therapy charity and Ella is a fully-fledged therapy dog for PAT," he writes.

But the message that comes through most clearly from James' powerful revelation is that he is no less of a person for seeking help.

"I know now that in doing so I am not admitting to a weakness," he says.

"Today - hard as it is to admit this - I am pleased I went through debilitating depression because I now have the skills to fight it."

Read James' full article here.

If you're struggling with feelings of depression or any other mental health issue, visit Mind for more information on how you can seek help.

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