James Middleton Says Depression Kept Him From His Family
Kate and William's Heads Together initiative helped him open up.
Royal sibling James Middleton is opening up about his struggles with depression in a new interview with Tatler, saying that he was often so fraught with emotions that he found it difficult to interact with anyone, even his sister, Kate Middleton. He explained that thanks to Kate and Prince William's Heads Together initiative, which works to erase the stigma that's often associated with depression and other mental health issues, he opened up in the hopes of giving other people dealing with depression the push they need to seek help.
James told the magazine that he wasn't ready to have his entire life come under scrutiny when his sister started catching the attention of the paparazzi. When she married Prince William and became the Duchess of Cambridge, things didn't get better. James said that he felt a combination of anxiety and guilt over all his feelings, which got so intense that he often shut himself off from his friends and family.
"[The depression was] crippling. It's what keeps you in bed, while anxiety makes you feel guilty for being there. I thought, 'What do I have to be depressed about?' I've been so lucky with my upbringing, I had all the things I wanted. It's not that I wanted more, but there was something that wasn't always there ... And the more I ignored it, the more it was taking over."
James noted that he felt a lot of pressure to act a certain way because he was thrust into the public eye. He said it was tough to figure out whether he was getting attention for what he was doing — he's an entrepreneur — or just because he was related to Kate. In an op-ed published in the Daily Mail he called depression a "cancer of the mind" and revealed that he was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child and, later, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
"Suddenly, and very publicly, I was being judged about whether I was a success or a failure," he continued in Tatler. "That does put pressure on you because in my mind I'm doing this irrespective of my family and events that have happened. I lead a separate life to them. If there's an interest in me, great. If there's an interest in me because of them, that's different."
Heads Together helped, he said, as well as seeking professional therapy and his dogs, Ella, Luna, Zulu, and Mabel. After taking it easy and reflecting on his treatment, James says that he finally feels like himself again, though he's quick to add that he's ready to face the long path to recovery.
"I am happy — I feel like James Middleton again. I feel like I was when I was 13, excited about life. I feel like myself again and I couldn’t ask for more," he said.