Kate Middleton‘s brother, James, who has for the most part stayed out of the public eye, has revealed that he has been battling depression for quite some time.

In an op-ed for the Daily Mail, the 31-year-old completely strips down and talks about the tough time he went through before finally deciding to reach out for some help. “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,” James, who is also Pippa Middleton‘s younger brother, said. “Debilitating inertia gripped me. I couldn’t respond to the simplest message so I didn’t open my emails. I couldn’t communicate, even with those I loved best: my family and close friends.” James continued, “Their anxious texts grew more insistent by the day, yet they went unanswered as I sank progressively deeper into a morass of despair. All color and emotion had leached out of my world and everything was grey and monotone.”

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Storms a coming

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James goes on to reveal that even though he may have ties to the royal family, depression does not discriminate. He stated, “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.” James added, “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,” the business owner continued. Eventually, James decided to take a trip on his own, and realized he needed help. “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,” he reveled. “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.”

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James, who also shared that he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in 2018, said he never spoke about his struggles with his family. “You may wonder why I didn’t confide in them, but those who are closest to you are the hardest to speak to. It was impossible to let my loved ones know about the torture in my mind,” he explained. But why is James speaking about his battle now after keeping it hidden for so long? James said, “Firstly, I feel — although I’d never say I am cured of it — that now I understand it and, with professional help, have worked out strategies for coping. Today, I feel a new sense of purpose and zest for life.”

He added, “Secondly — and perhaps most importantly — I feel compelled to talk about it openly because this is precisely what my brother-in-law Prince William, my sister Catherine and Prince Harry are advocating through their mental health charity Heads Together.”

James also understands the position he is in, and had this to say: “People have asked me, too, if my public profile has made it harder for me. 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?” He continued, “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.”

James is now on the right road, saying “I’m starting to impose order on my life. I write a list of ten things I want to do each day. If I know I really need to concentrate on a task, I might take medication prescribed by my doctor to control my symptoms.” He said, “I have a greater knowledge of my strengths and weaknesses and am a more confident person than I was before. The end result of this journey has been a positive one.”

James also had some bit of advice for people dealing with similar situations: “If I could leave you with just one thought, it would be this: ‘It’s OK not to be OK.’”

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

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