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Prince Harry turned alcohol and drugs to mask pain of ‘nightmare life’

In this image provided by Apple, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, appears in a scene from “The Me You Can’t See”. Photograph: AP


Prince Harry turned alcohol and drugs to mask pain of ‘nightmare life’


Prince Harry reportedly admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used alcohol and drugs to cope with his mother’s death and his worsening mental health.

Harry stated in The Me You Can’t See that he turned to this lifestyle in his adult years because he wasn’t sure how to psychologically manage the residual pain of Diana’s death. “28 to probably 32 was a nightmare time in my life,” he explained. “I would probably drink a week’s worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night. I would find myself drinking not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something.” He continued, emotionally: “I was willing to drink. I was willing to take drugs. I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.”


When Oprah inquired if he was aware that he was attempting to hide something, he said that he was “completely unaware of it.” He said that his brain was telling him he was “in a fight.”

He also said that his wife Meghan was the one who urged him to start therapy.

In the opening episode, Harry expresses his outrage at the circumstances surrounding his mother’s death and “the fact that there was no justice, at all.” “The same people that chased her into the tunnel photographed her dying on the backseat of that car,” he claims.



The 36-year-old prince coped by not thinking or talking about his mother since he didn’t see the sense in trying to change the past. However, as he grew older, he became “just all over the place mentally.”


Harry claims to have panic episodes and acute anxiety.

He stated the “happiest time” of his life was the ten years he spent in the army throughout his twenties and early thirties, since the experience made him feel more normal.


The Duke of Sussex added that he was never given “special treatment” due of his status, but rather had to go through army life like any other soldier, which helped because he grew up wanting to be “normal.”



“That was where I felt my most normal and actually, you know, in my younger years, the most comfortable I felt was out in Afghanistan, away from the media,” he continued.

Despite how happy he was at the moment, Harry admitted that he understood he still had difficulties from his past to deal with.

“I was gonna have to deal with my past because there was anger there,” he explained. “Towards my late 20s, I was starting to ask questions of, ‘Should I really be here?’ … that was when I suddenly started going, ‘You can’t keep hiding from this.'”

In the docuseries, Harry shares his experience with EMDR treatment to alleviate the pain he has upon flying into London, which he says reminds him of his mother’s death. Harry describes himself as nervous, tense, and hollowed out. He imagines himself to be “hunted,” “helpless,” and with “no escape.”

“Unfortunately when I think about my mum, the first thing that comes to mind is always the same one over and over again,” he revealed tearfully.

“Strapped in the car, seat belt across with my brother in the car as well and mother driving and being chased by three, four, five mopeds with paparazzi on.

“She was always unable to drive because of the tears. There was no protection.”

He confessed that this situation occurred on a daily basis until Diana died in a vehicle accident in 1997.

Addressing his trauma, according to Harry, was critical for his personal well-being as well as the health of his relationship with his wife, the Duchess of Sussex.


Harry also attacked his father, Prince Charles, for ignoring his son’s mental health concerns and cries for treatment during his adolescence. “My father used to say to me when I was younger, ‘Well, it was like that for me, so it’s going to be like that for you,’” Harry recalled. “That doesn’t make sense. Just because you suffered, that doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer. In fact, quite the opposite. If you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever negative experiences that you had you can make it right for your kids. Isn’t this all about breaking the cycle? Isn’t this all about making sure that history doesn’t repeat itself?” Harry added that until he and his wife, Meghan Markle, stepped down as senior members of the royal family in January 2020 and moved to the Americas, he felt “trapped and controlled” by both the media and his own family. “But certainly now I will never be bullied into silence,” he concluded.

The duke stated that he has been in therapy for four years — he previously stated that his wife, Meghan Markle, pushed him to go — in order to “heal myself from the past.”

“One of the biggest lessons that I’ve ever learned in life is you’ve sometimes got to go back and to deal with really uncomfortable situations and be able to process it in order to be able to heal,” he says.

In Episode 2, Harry reminisces about an evening he and Meghan spent at London’s Royal Albert Hall, shortly after his wife, who was pregnant with their first child at the time, revealed she was experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Harry felt “sorry for (Meghan), but I’m also really angry with myself that we’re stuck in this situation. I was ashamed that it got this bad. I was ashamed to go to my family, because, to be honest with you, like a lot of other people my age could probably relate to, I know that I’m not gonna get from my family what I need.”

The prospect of losing Meghan and parenting Archie on his alone weighed heavily on his choice to leave the royal family.

“That was one of the biggest reasons to leave, feeling trapped and feeling controlled through fear both by the media and by the system itself, which never encouraged the talking about this kind of trauma,” he adds.

The documentary series will focus on mental illness and mental wellness, with the goal of inspiring viewers to have an open dialogue about the issues they encounter and how to equip themselves with the skills they need to flourish.

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