Prince Harry spoke candidly about normalising mental health struggles — including his own unprocessed grief after the loss of his mother — with the Telegraph‘s Bryony Gordon in the first episode of her new podcast Mad World.
“I’ve spent most of my life saying ‘I’m fine’ … and most of us aren’t up for going that deep. So today I’m OK. I’m a little bit nervous. I’m a little bit tight in the chest but otherwise fine,” Harry, 32, revealed during their half-hour conversation, which also discussed his mental health charity, Heads Together, with Prince William and Princess Kate.
Harry also said that losing his mom Princess Diana in 1997 on the “public platform” affected his personal and public life, and consequently his mental health.
“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12 and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had quite a serious effect on not only my personal life but also my work as well.”
He continued, “My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum because why would that help?”
After years not thinking about it and being “a problem” through a lot of his 20s, he says he experienced two years of “total chaos.” So with the “huge support” of his brother when he was 28, he began seeking professional help, telling Gordon he saw a therapist “more than a couple of times.” He also credited boxing as a coping mechanism.
“I was on the verge of punching someone,” he revealed.
Now, the prince says he is in a “good place” — and already a godfather, he admitted he would love to have kids. (He is getting serious with American girlfriend Meghan Markle, after all.)
“Because of the process that I’ve been through over the last 2½-3 years, I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, be able to take my private life seriously as well, and be able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference," he said.
Royal or not, “No matter who you are, the conversation has to be the beginning,” Harry said.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com