Kate Middleton's brother James reveals battle with depression: 'It is a cancer of the mind'
Kate Middleton's brother James has revealed his battle with depression for the first time, describing it as a "cancer of the mind".
The 31-year-old, who runs a personalised marshmallow business, recalled with devastating detail his struggles with mental health and said he was inspired by the work his sister and Princes William and Harry were doing with Heads Together, which inspired his decision to speak out and destigmatise the issue.
"During the day I’d drag myself up and go to work, then just stare with glazed eyes at my computer screen, willing the hours to tick by so I could drive home again. Debilitating inertia gripped me. I couldn’t respond to the simplest message so I didn’t open my emails," he wrote in the Daily Mail.
"All colour and emotion had leached out of my world and everything was grey and monotone. 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."
Middleton went to describe his feelings as a "complete failure" which plagued him with self-doubt and a "sense of worthlessness and desperation" which led to him feeling increasingly isolated, despite having a loving support network of family and close friends around him.
"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," he said.
Just over a year ago, he realised he needed professional help when he drove to the Lake District for solitary contemplation and wished for even the smallest sense of hope to pull him out of the hole of despair into which he had fallen in.
"Depression is only a small part of the complex jigsaw that is me. Since childhood, I’ve known I was severely dyslexic — both letters and numbers still jump and blur on the page in front of me and some days I have difficulty spelling even the simplest words," he said.
"But it was only when, a year ago, I was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) that all the quirks and foibles of my character started to make sense. And it was a revelation when I was told I had it. It explained so much. It is the reason I have trouble focusing; why my mind wanders off into extravagant daydreams; why simple tasks such as making my bed assume the same enormity as filing my tax return.
He has overcome this by bringing order to his life through writing lists and is considering medication if his symptoms don't alleviate without them over the coming months.
It's clear that James has never pursued the limelight or used his sister's royal status to further his personal life, but he is an example of using the public interest in his personal life for the greater good and that by sharing his story, he may help someone else in the same position.
"People have asked me, too, if my public profile has made it harder for me," he said. "Would I have become so depressed if I hadn’t been subject to the pressure of public scrutiny that comes with my association with the Royal Family?
"The answer is, I believe I would. But I wouldn’t have found a voice or an outlet for my story if it hadn’t been for the people I’m related to. And that puts me in a unique position of privilege and trust. I feel I have a duty to speak out, so I can help others who are suffering as I did."
If you have been affected by this issue, you can contact the Samaritans on 116123