Prince Harry felt ‘Completely Helpless’ on these 3 occasions in his life
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The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, is speaking out about his mental health. During a May 2021 guest appearance on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, the 36-year-old discussed his childhood in the British royal family, going for therapy, and how life has changed for him and his partner, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Prince Harry revealed three occasions in his life that he felt genuinely “helpless” as well as how he has undergone anger management therapy.
He said: “Helplessness. That’s my biggest, sort of Achilles heel.
“The three major times that I’ve felt completely helpless.
“One when I was a kid in the back of the car of my mom being chased by paparazzi.
“Two was in Afghanistan in an Apache helicopter and then the third one was with my wife.
“Those are the moments in my life where feeling helpless hurts. It really hurts.”
During his 90-minute chat with Shepard and Monica Padman, Harry likened royal life to The Truman Show. The 1998 Jim Carrey film follows a man who learns that his life is a reality television program. Harry expressed his desire to leave the royal family in his twenties.
The Duke of Sussex went on to state that he didn’t acknowledge his emotions or confront the pain he’d been through for years. A “bubble” didn’t burst until he went to therapy.
“Once I started doing therapy, it was like the bubble was burst. I plucked my head out of the sand and gave it a good shake off and I was like, ‘You’re in this position of privilege, stop complaining and stop thinking you want something different—make this different, because you can’t get out. How are you going to do these things differently? How are you going to make your mum proud and use this platform to really affect change?’”
He only realized he needed help after a chat with his 39-year-old wife Meghan, he told Dax Shepard on the Armchair Expert podcast.
He reflected on the occasion, saying: “It was a conversation that I had with my now wife, and she saw, she saw it straight away.
“She could tell that I was hurting and that some of the stuff that was out of control was making me really angry and it would make my blood boil.”
He admitted that he used to repress his anger at being restricted as a member of the royal family and the constant media attention, which he likened to “living in a zoo.”
The Sussexes sat down for an explosive conversation with Oprah Winfrey two months ago.
The Me You Can’t See, a new Apple TV Plus docuseries featuring Oprah Winfrey, is scheduled to premiere on May 21. The Duke and Ms Winfrey talk about mental health and physical well-being with a variety of people from all around the world in this series.
“One of the main reasons of the series is to have these honest conversations with people around the world who have suffered and are continuing to suffer, it’s about stripping away our backgrounds and the privilege,” he said.
The Duke went on to tell Shepard that he intends to “break the cycle” of his own childhood’s “pain and suffering” for his own children.
Harry is expecting a daughter with wife Meghan, and also has a two-year-old son, Archie.
He critiqued his ubringing.
He said: “There is no blame. I don’t think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody, but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on, basically.
“It’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway so we as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say ‘you know what, that happened to me, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you’.”
He added: “It’s hard to do but for me it comes down to awareness. I never saw it, I never knew about it, and then suddenly I started to piece it together and go ‘OK, so this is where he went to school, this is what happened, I know this about his life, I also know that is connected to his parents so that means he’s treated me the way he was treated, so how can I change that for my own kids?’
“And here I am, I moved my whole family to the US, that wasn’t the plan but sometimes you’ve got make decisions and put your family first and put your mental health first.”
When Harry is having a tough day, he will take a stroll on the beach — he, Meghan, and their son live in Montecito, California, by the ocean — or he may provide help to others.
The Duke of Sussex said on the podcast that he learned “helping other people helped me” through activities like the Invictus Games, a sports tournament for disabled veterans he created in 2014.
Now, when Harry is “feeling sh*t,” he says, “what am I going to do—I’m going to help my neighbor and have a really good day.”
Last year, Harry and Meghan made the shocking announcement that they were leaving their roles as senior royals to move to California with their two-year-old son Archie.
On the podcast, he said: “In my early 20s it was a case of I don’t want this job, I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be doing this.
“Look what it did to my mum, how will I be able to settle down, have a wife and a family when I know that it is going to happen again because I know.
“I’ve seen behind the curtain, I’ve seen the business model how this operation runs and how it works, I don’t want to be a part of this.
“Then when I started doing therapy suddenly the bubble was burst […] you are in this position of privilege, stop complaining or behaving as though you want something different, make this different. ”
He also disclosed that in the early days of their engagement, he met his future wife in a London store and the two claimed not to meet each other.
He said, “The first time Meghan and I met up for her to come and stay with me, we met up in a supermarket in London, pretending as though we didn’t know each other, texting each other from the other ends of the aisle.
“There were people looking at me, giving me all of these weird looks, coming up to say hi or whatever but there I am texting her whilst we’re shopping, asking if this is the right thing and she’s replying ‘No, you want the parchment paper’.
“It was nice with a baseball cap on looking down at the floor, walking along the street and trying to stay incognito.
“Not sure how many times I’ve done that, trying to walk down the street and stay incognito is like ‘whoa signpost, someone’s dog’, it’s amazing how much chewing gum you see and how many shoes.
“So living here (in Los Angeles) now I can actually lift my head and I feel different, my shoulders have dropped, so have hers, you can walk around feeling a little bit more free, I can take Archie on the back of my bicycle, I would never have had the chance to do that.”
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