Prince Harry's Recent Interview About Mental Health
By Amy Hamdoon, Apr 20 2017 10:50PM
Prince Harry recently gave an interview with Bryony Gordon from The Telegraph, in which he openly shared about his unprocessed grief and resulting anxiety, and also about his feeling very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions.
As well as being a huge step forward in breaking the stigma that can still surround mental health issues, Prince Harry’s interview also gives us an experiential insight into how our bodies can hold onto or release unprocessed emotion. It also gives a very real and relatable experience of how our bodies can find alternative ways of expressing the feeling we can put so much energy into repressing.
Harry talks about loosing his mum at the age of twelve, and burying his head in the sand, shutting down his emotions for twenty years and refusing to ever think about her, with the reasoning that it would only make him sad and not bring her back. All the while Prince Harry was maintaining that everything was fine.
After encouragement from those around him and having some open and honest conversations, Harry’s unprocessed grief started to come to the surface. When Harry felt he had to maintain his façade of everything being fine he describes his body as going into fight mode because he didn’t feel able to honour his impulse to flight. This is such a clear example of how repressed emotion will always find a way of surfacing. When we try and override our bodily impulses without enquiring where they’re coming from they can often build and gather energy, coming out in different ways. Sometimes these repressed impulses manifest in different forms of illness, or certain relationship dynamics, or ways of being in the world and thinking of ourselves and those around us that just don’t serve us, and often cause suffering for ourselves or those we’re close to.
Prince Harry sites boxing as having saved him and as having enabled him to let out his aggression. This makes so much sense, and I’m sure lots of people will have a similar experience of using their body and physical activity to help release a feeling that isn’t shifting. This is because every unprocessed emotion or event has a physical residue within us. We can get to know more about why we have our specific struggles through talking, but talking alone won’t enable us to let go of this physical residue. This is where body psychotherapy really comes into its own. In body psychotherapy the physical manifestation of the client’s emotional state and way of being in the world is given just as much importance and focus as their cognitive understanding of why we behave and feel the way we do. This unique way of working allows us to truly liberate ourselves from old habits and ways of being that no longer serve us and cause us pain and suffering.
Prince Harry has been incredibly courageous in speaking out so honestly about his own experience. I hope it will help others feel the freedom to do the same, and shake off that extremely unhelpful tendency towards a very British stiff upper lip.