As the royal family helps raise awareness about mental health by filming PSAs and teaming up with celebrities, Kate Middleton’s brother James Middleton is raising awareness in his own way: by sharing the story of his struggles with depression. Apparently, Kate attended family therapy sessions with her brother James as part of his overall treatment, and James’s account of how those therapy sessions helped him is a touching reminder of how simply showing up can be the best form of support. As both the Sussex and Cambridge royals are frequently reminding their followers, mental health struggles are incredibly common — and stories like James’s help to let people know they’re not alone, and treatment is available.
In an interview with the Telegraph, the recently engaged James Middleton opened up about his past year — how bad his depression became, how he finally sought treatment, and what the recovery process has been like. Of his worst moments, James had this to say: “I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t read a book, I couldn’t watch a film, I couldn’t eat.” James ultimately pursued cognitive behavioral therapy after getting a psychiatric consultation, and says that he would have family members attend therapy sessions with him. “That was so important because that helped them understand me and how my mind was working,” James reflected. “And I think the way the therapy helped me was that I didn’t need my family to say, ‘What can we do?’ The only thing they could do was just come to some of the therapy sessions to start to understand.”
View this post on Instagram
#New Congratulations to James Middleton & Alizee Thevenet, who are engaged to be married! 🎉 James Middleton, the younger brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, has reportedly proposed to his girlfriend Alizee Thevenet with a sapphire sparkler. James has confirmed the news to The Telegraph, said they’re a “pretty relaxed couple” and also revealed that he had battled through mental health difficulties to find happiness! An official announcement will be made in next week. The couple took their relationship public this summer, attended Wimbledon and the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor with the Middleton family. Alizee is a French financial analyst based in London. Grew up between six different countries — Germany, Indonesia, Chile, France, Belgium and England, Alizee can speak Spanish and English, in addition to her native French. Get ready for another Middleton wedding 😍 #RoyalFamily #Royals #PrinceWilliam #KateMiddleton #CatherineMiddleton #DukeofCambridge #DuchessofCambridge #PrinceGeorge #PrincessCharlotte #PrinceLouis #UnitedKingdom #UK #🇬🇧 #Britain #England #Prince #Princess #HRH #JamesMiddleton #AlizeeThevenet
Communicating with family can be tricky when dealing with a mental health crisis. With so many years of history, they may know you better than anyone — but they may also have a difficult time adjusting their view of you, or understanding changes that you’re going through. “No matter what experience someone has, your family members are the hardest people [to talk to],” James explained. “You also have a very different way of interacting with your family than you do with your friends … they are so tuned into you that they can see what other people can’t.”
After seeing what her brother went through, and understanding him better through these therapy sessions, Kate likely felt even more passionately about supporting mental health through the Royal Foundation. Mental health is now one of the foundation’s five primary areas of focus. And in the end, James is grateful for what he’s gone through, and that he had the support in place to come out the other side. “It was a dark and miserable place to be, but the fact is there is hope at the end,” he shared with the Telegraph. “For me, now, there’s a feeling that I can take on anything, in the nicest possible way. Not in a [combative] way. Because if I can talk about my mental health and the things I am passionate about and the way I truly feel … well, then, I’m not pretending to be anyone. This is who I am.”