Lately, Prince Harry has been in the news a lot. He’s coming out about his issues with mental health struggles, having grown up in the British Royal Family. He and Oprah Winfrey have produced a new series for Apple TV+ called The Me You Can’t See.
Historically, I’ve never been that much of an Oprah fan. It’s not because I don’t like her work. It’s more that I was never exposed to it when she was up and coming. In the 1980s, when she had a daytime talk show, I was busy with my horse. I didn’t really watch day TV until I got a lot older. By then, she had her own network (The Oprah Winfrey Network OWN), which I never really watched… I guess there were just too many channels to choose from. I’ve always been partial to reruns, anyway.
Anyway, I have noticed a lot of buzz about this latest show, which airs exclusively on Apple TV+. I started watching it a couple of days ago. I must admit, it’s pretty compelling. The series isn’t just about Prince Harry and his struggles. It’s also about other people– celebrities and non celebrities– who have struggled with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. I have had my own travails with depression and anxiety. That doesn’t make me “special”.
The Me You Don’t See really drives home the reality that depression and anxiety are extremely common conditions that affect so many people. And yet, being depressed and anxious can make a person feel very alone. When those feelings are especially profound, some people may start thinking of suicide, or they may start doing things to self-medicate. Harry has mentioned that he tried to erase his thoughts of his mother’s, Princess Diana’s, horrible death by drinking alcohol. He was also willing to experiment with drugs, all in a bid to blot out the pain of losing his mom.
I’ve seen a lot of derisive and, frankly, kind of mean spirited comments about Harry’s decision to speak about these issues. I want to go on record to say that I think Harry has as much right to be heard as anyone does. I know he was born wealthy and has had privileges that the vast majority of people will never be able to fathom. But with that fame came difficulties that regular people don’t have to face.
The whole world watched as Harry and his brother, William, mourned their mother, who was the most photographed woman in the world. Princess Diana was iconic. Many people worshiped her from afar. To be honest, I found her fascinating and beautiful, but I never put her on the same pedestal that many of my friends did. She was human and fallible, and she had faults. She also made some huge mistakes. Unfortunately, her worst mistakes were made on the day she died, when she rode in a car with a driver who was very drunk and failed to wear a seatbelt.
Still, Princess Diana was a remarkable person… and when she died, she had been in a relationship with someone who wasn’t white and European– Dodi Fayed. Harry mentioned that he has that in common with his mom. Meghan Markle is biracial. He has very real fears that he could lose her the way he lost his mother, either to being hunted down by the paparazzi as Diana was, or to suicide, as Meghan reportedly suffered so much in Britain that she considered taking her own life. Harry also said that his father once told him that he had suffered growing up, and that Harry would also suffer. Harry quite correctly commented that parents shouldn’t try to visit pain on their children, just because they went through pain when they were growing up.
I think a lot of people look at Harry and Meghan and have very little sympathy for them. They’re relatively young, beautiful, and wealthy, and they don’t have the problems that more ordinary people have. However, they are still human beings, and I don’t think it’s right to discount their problems just because we can’t relate to them. In fact, of all of the British Royals, I’ve always thought of Harry as one of the most relatable. To me, he seems like the kind of person who would want to be like everyone else.
I’m about halfway through the series, I think… and I’ve enjoyed the way it presents the global issues surrounding mental health. Oprah Winfrey also talks about what it was like for her, growing up extremely poor and discriminated against in Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Tennessee. Oprah is famous and wealthy beyond most people’s wildest dreams, and she’s managed to achieve that success in spite of being a Black woman. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t struggled or suffered… and like me, she is a human being.
I respect Harry for striking out on his own. I think that took a lot of courage. I’m glad he’s sharing his story about his mental health struggles, too. Maybe by sharing his story, he will help some people find their own way out of their mental health issues. I know he’s rich and famous, but he didn’t choose to be born royal, and he had nothing to do with the fact that he lost his mother at such a young age and never got any help dealing with that pain.
Other people who have been on The Me You Don’t See include Glenn Close, Zachary “Zak” Williams (Robin’s son), and Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta). Both Lady Gaga and Glenn Close– famous women– have had some significant challenges that they’ve had to overcome. I appreciate hearing their stories, which really drive home the realization that everyone has a struggle to deal with and a load to carry. I am also glad Zak Williams spoke. He and I have something in common; we both had dads who had Lewy Body Dementia. While I know that not everyone thinks Harry has a right to complain about anything, I, for one, am glad he’s sharing his story.
Frankly, I’ve just about had it with people who have no empathy for others. I think those who don’t care about the royals should just keep scrolling and keep their cruel comments to themselves. Some of us are interested in hearing Harry’s story, as well as the stories of others who are being profiled on The Me You Can’t See. I think I’ll watch more of the series right now.
2 thoughts on “Been watching Prince Harry’s mental health documentary series with Oprah Winfrey…”
Bravo Jenny! I have been so disgusted by the reaction to Meghan & Harry. I 100% agree that being royal, rich, famous, beautiful or young does not exempt people from loss, pain and depression. At the end of the day we are all human, so many of us forget that fact. I am ashamed to admit that in my younger days I was judgemental towards my peers. If they were skinny and beautiful, I was intimidated in their presence. I would assume they had it all and was jealous. The older and I hope wiser me knows different. I know now that you never really know what someone is going through behind their smiles. ALL of us have burdens to bare that no amount of beauty and/or fame can solve. If we all respected each other and listened a little more so much that is wrong with the world we are living in could be better.
I think it is brave of Harry and all the people who are sharing their stories. Perhaps it is even slightly braver of celebrities to admit they are not perfect. We put celebrities on a pedestal expecting nothing but perfection. I for one think that is where we as society fail. Celebrities are only human just like the rest of us.
I guess my point is, he’s a person. If people don’t like what he has to say, they don’t have to listen to him. Just like people who don’t like my blog, don’t have to read it. I don’t like it when people feel compelled to censor other people.
I used to think Elizabeth Smart was a hypocrite for demanding privacy as she was constantly in the news. But then I realized that she’s helped a lot of people with her work. Granted, she wouldn’t be doing that work if she hadn’t been abducted and raped by a religious freak… but at least she’s been able to make something good come out of what happened to her.
I really enjoyed Harry’s series. It’s not just about him. He and Oprah gave a voice to a lot of people who have stories to share. At least he’s trying to work, right?
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