Cape Town – Although he's spoken about his battle with depression before – calling it "a cancer of the mind" – in a recent interview, James Middleton said he's in a healthier, happier place now, and the support of his family made all the difference.
Speaking to The Telegraph in an article posted on Saturday, James revealed he had undergone almost a year of cognitive behavioural therapy, and his family, including the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, joined him in his sessions.
"That was actually, a very, very big thing," he said. "All of them [attended]. Not necessarily at the same time, but either individually and [sometimes] together. And that was so important because that helped them understand me and how my mind was working. And 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."
"Despite all of it, I'm very pleased that I went through it, because of who I am on the other side," James said. "It's like a rebirth. I can't remember feeling like it [ever]. This is who I am now. I am conscious that I have not got rid of it, it's still there. But I'm on top of it, and I'm aware that if I don't work hard at maintaining control of it, then it has the ability to come back."
James didn't come alone to his interview. He brought Ella – his cocker spaniel – with him.
According to E! News, James works as an ambassador for the Pets as Therapy – an organisation that helps people with mental health cope by surrounding themselves with animals. Ella is James's emotional support dog.
"I have such confidence when I am with her," he said. "If I was to have come on this shoot today without her, I probably wouldn't have said that much. If you want me in the room, the dogs need to be in the room."
Funny enough, it was Ella who introduced James to Alizee Thevenet – his fiancé and the reason he "couldn't be happier" now.
According to The Telegraph, the couple first met at the South Kensington Club when Ella wondered off and right into the arms of Alizee.
And the rest, as they say, is history.