The Duchess of Cambridge’s brother James Middleton has bravely spoken out about battling depression – admitting he was unable to confide in his family at the time and felt a “complete failure”.
In a deeply honest first-person piece for the Daily Mail, James also revealed that it was his sister Catherine, her husband Prince William and his brother Prince Harry who eventually inspired him to speak publicly about his mental health, thanks to their own work raising awareness of it with their ‘Heads Together’ campaign.
Describing his depression as “an absence of feelings” and a “cancer of the mind”, James revealed it really developed through 2016 and 2017, leading to him completely shutting his whole family out – despite their worried messages and calls.
“Their anxious texts grew more insistent by the day, yet they went unanswered as I sank progressively deeper into a morass of despair,” he admitted.
“I also felt misunderstood; a complete failure,” James added. “I wouldn’t wish the sense of worthlessness and desperation, the isolation and loneliness on my worst enemy. I felt as if I was going crazy.”
James said he hit such a low point in 2017 that he fled to the Lake District to be alone with his dogs, often swimming in the lakes there and taking lengthy walks by himself.
Although he did not contemplate suicide, he revealed he “didn’t want to live in the state of mind I was in either”.
Luckily, the time away also gave him the final push to seek help and he eventually began seeing Dr Stephen Pereira, a consultant psychiatrist and cognitive behaviour therapy specialist.
Through these sessions, he was finally diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). It explained what he described as a lack of focus in his work and also added explanation to his struggles with reading at school, having also knowingly had dyslexia at the time.
He felt unable to talk to his family about his health at this time, so asked the professionals to instead, admitting telling loved ones is the hardest job. He added: “It was impossible to let my loved ones know about the torture in my mind.”
James has now come to see his ADD as a gift however, and wrote that he feels privileged to be able to have the platform he does to speak out about his mental health.