James Middleton, brother of Kate Middleton, has written a piece for the Daily Mail about his struggles with anxiety, depression, ADD and dyslexia. We always appreciate when public figures help alleviate the stigmas around mental illness by sharing their personal experiences. Here is an excerpt from his frank and revealing article. We hope you’ll click through to continue reading, and that if you’re in the greater Cleveland area and you recognize yourself or someone you love in his story, you’ll reach out to us.
…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.
So just over a year ago — in December 2017 — after enduring a progressive deterioration in my mental health over 12 months, I packed my dogs into my car and, telling no one where I was going, drove to a wild part of the Lake District I’ve loved since I was a child.
There I swam in an icy Coniston Water, took solitary walks on snow-capped mountains and stayed alone in a remote cottage for a few days, eating from packets and trying to still the tumult in my mind.
In the days before, I’d finally confronted the fact that I couldn’t cope any longer, that I wasn’t all right; that I desperately needed help. And this recognition led to a sort of calm: I knew if I accepted help there would be hope. It was a tiny spark of light in the darkness.