Bryony Gordon admits she was surprised Prince Harry chose to speak about his mental health struggles on her podcast because she’s ‘a bit chaotic’ with a history of OCD and alcoholism
- Mental health advocate Bryony, 40, spoke with Harry on her podcast in 2017
- Suffered with OCD since she was teen and battled alcohol and drug addiction
- Says it was ‘crucial’ the duke spoke despite ‘stuff upper lip mentality’ of royals
Bryony Gordon admitted she was surprised that Prince Harry chose to speak with her about mental health, despite her history of OCD and drug and alcohol addiction.
The journalist and author, 40, has battled with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) since she was a teen. She is a recovering alcoholic and former cocaine user, giving up booze for good almost four years ago.
In 1997, Bryony sought help for her OCD, and has since become an award-winning mental health advocate, and the Duke of Sussex chose her for his first interivew about his mental health struggles for her Mad World podcast in 2017.
Appearing on Lorraine today, Bryony told how surreal it was to arrive at Kensington Palace, and that she was surprised he had chosen to speak to someone as ‘chaotic’ as she felt she was.
Prince Harry, pictured last year in his California home, spoke with Bryony Gordon about his mental health for the first time for her Mad World podcast in 2017
The journalist and author, 40, appeared on Lorraine today where she admitted she was surprised that Harry chose to speak with her despite her history of OCD and drug and alcohol addiction
‘I still remember so clearly sitting down on the sofa with him in Kensington palace, and I was like “You’ve chosen to talk to me?”.
‘I’m a bit chaotic, I have this history of alcoholism, drug addiction, OCD. I was always the chaotic one, but I guess that’s why he chose to talk to me.’
She said it was ‘crucial’ that a member of the British establishment, which ‘epitomises the stuff upper lip’ spoke about mental health, with the prince admitting that he battled panic attacks as a result of his mother Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
‘It was such an honour to be part of that moment,’ she said. ‘I think people have forgotten how crucial that is. I still get people saying four years on saying how much it made a difference.
The Duke of Sussex is pictured hugging the journalist as he attended the first annual Royal Foundation Forum in London 2018
‘To have a member of an institution that epitomises the stuff upper lip mentality say “Actually, no I was not okay when my mother died, I tried to do the stiff upper lip thing, ignore it and bury my head in the sand and all that caused was chaos in his life, panic attacks” – it was a really important moment and I’m thankful for him to coming on the podcast to talk about it.’
Bryony recently released new book, No Such Thing as Normal, which sees the author give advice on issues such as depression, anxiety and personality disorders after years of battling her own mental illness.
She confessed that she was surprised at how well she’s coped throughout the pandemic, and wanted to share techniques that she has picked up throughout her life.
Bryony told host Lorraine Kelly (left) how surreal it was to arrive at Kensington Palace, and that she was surprised he had chosen to speak to someone as ‘chaotic’ as she felt she was
Bryony recently released new book, No Such Thing as Normal, which sees the author give advice on mental health throughout the pandemic
She explained that when she was 11 she’d been housebound for months at a time because she was scared to leave the house in case she caught an illness.
‘It was really interesting that this time last year, as the first lockdown approached, I assumed that when something like this happened, as someone with a history of mental illness, that I would be in a really bad place,’ Bryony said.
‘But what I discovered is that I was okay, and all the things I had historically seen as flaws and failures in myself where really more like strengths.
‘And people were coming to me for advice which was a very strange experience indeed, and I wanted to put down all the things I had learned about mental wellness, that I could only have learned through experiencing mental illness.’
What is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive compulsive disorder, usually known as OCD, is a common mental health condition which makes people obsess over thoughts and develop behaviour they struggle to control.
It can affect anyone at any age but normally develops during young adulthood.
It can cause people to have repetitive unwanted or unpleasant thoughts.
People may also develop compulsive behaviour – a physical action or something mental – which they do over and over to try to relieve the obsessive thoughts.
The condition can be controlled and treatment usually involves psychological therapy or medication.
It is not known why OCD occurs but risk factors include a family history of the condition, certain differences in brain chemicals, or big life events like childbirth or bereavement.
People who are naturally tidy, methodical or anxious are also more likely to develop it.
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