‘It’s OK not to be OK’
Unlike the Markles, the Middletons have famously kept out of the spotlight, only speaking to the press on rare occasions to spread important messages.
This was proven this week as Kate Middleton’s 31-year-old brother James opened up about his battle with depression, speaking candidly about the illness.
‘I couldn’t communicate, even with those I loved best: my family and close friends,’ James explained in an open letter he wrote for the Daily Mail. ‘Their anxious texts grew more insistent by the day, yet they went unanswered as I sank progressively deeper into a morass of despair. All colour and emotion had leached out of my world and everything was grey and monotone.’
He continued: ‘I know I’m richly blessed and live a privileged life. But it did not make me immune to depression. It is tricky to describe the condition. It is not merely sadness. It is an illness, a cancer of the mind.
‘It’s not a feeling but an absence of feelings. You exist without purpose or direction. I couldn’t feel joy, excitement or anticipation – only heart-thudding anxiety propelled me out of bed in the morning. I didn’t actually contemplate suicide — but I didn’t want to live in the state of mind I was in either.
‘I also felt misunderstood; a complete failure. 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.’
Going on to explain his speaking out about clinical depression, James stated that the reasons are two-fold.
‘Firstly, 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,’ he explained. ‘Today, I feel a new sense of purpose and zest for life.’
He continued: ’Secondly — and perhaps most importantly — I feel compelled to talk about it openly because this is precisely what my brother-in-law Prince William, my sister Catherine and Prince Harry are advocating through their mental health charity Heads Together.
‘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. So it wouldn’t be honest to suppress my story. I want to speak out, and they are my motivation for doing so.’
Concluding his article, James wrote: ‘If I could leave you with just one thought, it would be this: “It’s OK not to be OK.” That is the mantra that gave me the strength to speak out. Having done so here, it feels as if a great weight has been lifted.’