James Middleton, 31, doesn’t come under quite the same scrutiny as his sister does. He is keen to keep it that way, yet isn’t averse to the idea of his personal achievements attracting public attention. In an interview with Tatler this month, the Duchess of Cambridge’s brother said: “I lead a separate life to them. If there’s interest in me, great. If there’s interest in me because of them, that’s different.” With the spotlight fixed firmly on his sister, it took many readers by surprise when he shared his personal struggle with ADHD and depression in an interview earlier this year.
After his doctor gave him a book to read on ADHD, he was struck with the realisation that he had been living with the condition: “It was probably the first book I read cover to cover because it was like reading my own life story.”
ADHD is a neurological disorder that disrupts the body’s normal behavioural processes. Hyperactivity and impulsiveness are common signifiers of ADHD. According to the NHS, the main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness include:
Being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundingsConstantly fidgetingBeing unable to concentrate on tasksExcessive physical movementExcessive talkingBeing unable to wait their turnActing without thinkingInterrupting conversationsLittle or no sense of dange
Children are more commonly diagnosed with the condition, but it can pass undetected into adulthood. A GP may refer you for an assessment if you show certain signs such as symptoms that cannot be explained by another mental condition and if the symptoms significant affect your day-to-day life, said the NHS.
ADHD can also trigger depression and anxiety, a link Kate Middleton’s brother identified.
Speaking to Tatler, he said:“[The depression was] crippling. It’s what keeps you in bed, while anxiety makes you feel guilty for being there.
“I thought ‘What do I have to be depressed about?’ I’ve been so lucky with my upbringing, I had all the things I wanted. It’s not that I wanted more, but there was something that wasn’t always there… And the more I ignored it, the more it was taking over.”
Persistent sadness and guilt is a major warning sign of depression, said the NHS. It could also cause a spiralling loss of self-esteem.
While depression is mostly associated with the mind, it can also manifest itself physically. Common symptoms include:
Moving or speaking more slowly than usualChanges in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)ConstipationUnexplained aches and painsLack of energyLow sex drive (loss of libido)Changes to your menstrual cycleDisturbed sleep – for example, finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morningThe condition can also encourage people to retreat from social situations.
There are a wide-range of treatment available for depression. Exercise recommended for milder forms of the condition, while antidepressants can be an effective relief for more moderate to severe cases, explained the NHS.
Middleton is in a much better place now, as he explained to Tatler, “I am happy. I feel like James Middleton again. I feel like I was when I was 13, excited about life. I feel like myself again and I couldn’t ask for more.”
The full interview can be seen in the August issue of TATLER, available on Newsstands and digital download on Thursday 27th June 2019.