How Kate Middleton Supports Her Brother, James, Who’s Battling Depression

James Middleton spoke about his struggle with mental illness, and how his family, including the Duchess of Cambridge, has helped with his recovery.

Kate Middleton’s brother, James, talked to The Telegraph last weekend about his battle with depression, and how he’s been able to overcome it. He admitted to feeling “completely lost” before seeking help at a private psychiatric hospital. “[Therapy is like] sitting in a chair with a ball of wool made up of eight different colors, and then a therapist is sitting opposite you with a needle untangling it,” James told interviewer and mental health activist Byrony Gordon. “When we started mapping everything out, and it was on a page, it was absolute chaos.”

In therapy, James came to admit he had been experiencing suicidal thoughts.”I remember thinking, ‘I might have to answer this one truthfully, because I want them to help me,'” he revealed about answering his doctor’s questions about suicide. “So I said, ‘Well, actually, yes, but I don’t think I’ll ever action it.’ In my report it said I had suicidal thoughts but wasn’t a threat to myself.”

After attending cognitive behavioural therapy sessions (which can also help treat insomnia and stress eating) alone for a year, his family—including sister Kate—joined him. “And that was so important because that helped them understand me and how my mind was working,” said James. “I think the way the therapy helped me was that I didn’t need my family to say, ‘What can we do?’ The only thing they could do was just come to some of the therapy sessions to start to understand.”

James first opened up about his battle with depression, dyslexia and ADD this past January, in an essay he wrote for the Daily Mail. In it, he shared the daily struggles he faced: “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,” he said. “I couldn’t communicate, even with those I loved best: my family and close friends.” His life had become”grey and monotone,” and his emotions and feelings disappeared. Living a privileged life doesn’t make him “immune to depression,” said James. He doesn’t simply feel sad. “It is an illness, a cancer of the mind,” he explained. And now, nine months later, James shares how well he is doing, being equipped with the skills and support to fight his mental illness.

“I speak out about my depression in the hope it resonates with someone who might be struggling,” he writes on Instagram, sharing his latest interview. “Just remember we all have mental health and it’s ok to talk about it. In fact talking about it was the first step towards my recovery.” (He also shared a picture of his dog Ella, who helped him “get through the insufferable darkness.”)

“How lucky I am,” he told The Telegraph. “The way I was a couple of years ago was about as far the other end of the scale as it could be.” And now, things are looking up for James—he recently announced his engagement to Alizee Thevenet. Had it not been for the way he addressed his mental illness, he wondered: “Would I be in this place now? To have fallen in love with her, and for her now to be my fiancée in essentially the space of a year and a month? Probably not.”

Next, learn how the secret to happiness could be concentrating on your relationships.