Almost 20 years after the tragic death of his mother, Princess Diana, Prince Harry is sharing his experience of coping with unimaginable grief in order to help de-stigmatize the importance of taking care of your mental health.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph's Mad World podcast, the 32-year-old spoke candidly of how his life descended into "total chaos" in the decades after he lost his mother in a tragic car accident in Paris in 1997—when he was just 12 years old. To cope with his mother's death, Prince Harry revealed that he grew emotionally distant, and began "sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help? It's only going to make you sad, it's not going to bring her back. So from an emotional side, I was like, 'Right, don't ever let your emotions be part of anything.'"
The British royal also revealed that having to deal with the death of his mother in the public eye only made it that much harder for him, and it began to take a toll on every aspect of his life.
"I can safely say that losing my mom at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well," he continued. "I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle."
By the time he reached his late 20s, things had only gotten worse, and eventually, his brother, Prince William, encouraged him to seek professional help. He then saw a therapist "more than a couple of times."
"My brother, you know, bless him, he was a huge support to me," Prince Harry said. "He kept saying, 'This is not right, this is not normal. You need to talk to [someone] about stuff. It's OK.'"
He also revealed that he'd taken up boxing as a way to combat the anxiety he's developed over the years, and combined with the work he's done over the past few years, he added his belief that he's in "a good place" now.
"Because of the process I have been through over the past two and a half to three years, I've now been able to take my work seriously, been able to take my private life seriously as well, and been able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference and things that I think will make a difference to everybody else," he said. "I know there is huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it's only ever going to make it worse."
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.