Prince Harry has said his return from the war in Afghanistan triggered trauma resulting in an “unraveling.”
Speaking in his “Heart of Invictus” documentary released on Wednesday, the Duke of Sussex said the biggest struggle he faced after his tour was that “no one around me could really help.”
He had served in the British armed forces as a helicopter pilot, flying Apaches in Afghanistan, but said the loss of his mother Diana when he was 12 also played a role in his trauma.
“I can only speak from my personal experience, my tour of Afghanistan in 2012 flying Apaches. Somewhere after that there was an unraveling, and the trigger for me was actually returning from Afghanistan,” he added.
“But the stuff that was coming up was from 1997, from the age of 12, losing my mum at such a young age. The trauma that I had I was never really aware of, it was never discussed.
“I didn’t really talk about it, and I suppressed it like most youngsters would’ve done, but when it all came fizzing out, I was bouncing off the walls, I was like, ‘What’s going on here? I’m now feeling everything as opposed to being numb’.”
Prince Harry said during the period he first joined the military, the subject of mental illness was taboo.
Though the trend has shifted, he said he still wants to cure the “stigma” in society, adding: “I didn’t have that support structure, that network or that expert advice to identify actually what was going on with me.
“Unfortunately, like most of us, the first time you really consider therapy is when you’re lying on the floor in the foetal position probably wishing you’d dealt with some of this stuff previously.”
The five-part documentary follows competitors in the Invictus Games, which was founded by Prince Harry to support veterans.
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