Mental health is nothing to be trifled with, and Prince Harry knows that. Which is why he has been quite frank about the issues he’s dealt with, all stemming from his mother’s death. In a new interview that airs on Forces TV in the U.K., Harry shared how he suffered from panic attacks following the tragic passing of his mom, Diana, Princess of Wales.
“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 told his friend Dave Henson during the interview. “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.”
And hiding it can be a real problem when it comes to mental health issues. No one wants to talk about it, whether they’re suffering from it or have a loved one that is. But thanks, in part, to people like Harry, high profile enough to bring awareness, the stigma surrounding it is slowly, but surely, starting to dissipate.
Prince Harry added that two tours in Afghanistan acted as triggers, leading him to eventually get a handle on his mental health and deal with the grief and loss he buried deep.
“If you lose your mum at the age of 12, you have got to deal with it,” he explained, admitting, “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 continued: “Once I plucked my head out of the sand, post-Afghan … it [was] 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.”
This isn’t the first time he’s opened up about how the loss of his mother affected him. A few months back, the Prince revealed how he sought professional help after a couple years of “total chaos” really began to mess with him. Harry continues to chisel away at the stigma that comes with mental health, because after going through everything he’s gone through, he knows just how vital it is to talk about those problems.
“You help yourself, so you can help others,” he concluded in the interview. “And I think that is hugely powerful.” Hear, hear.