James Middleton shares photos taken 10 days after he was diagnosed with depression when he couldn’t feel ‘joy, excitement or anticipation’ and says nature – including icy mountains and bee keeping – helped ‘press the mute button’ on everything worrying him

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  • James Middleton shared pictures taken shortly after depression diagnosis 
  • Duchess of Cambridge’s brother, 34, said he travelled to the Lake District ‘swam in an icy lake’ and ‘ took solitary walks on snow-capped mountains’ in 2017
  • Said that walking in nature and beekeeping has helped his mental health and helped him ‘press the mute button’ on everything

James Middleton has shared pictures taken shortly after he was diagnosed with clinical depression as he opened up about his mental health in a lengthy Instagram post. 

The brother of Duchess of Cambridge, 34, took to social media to share how he ‘drove to the Lake District’ and  ‘swam in an icy lake’ and ‘ took solitary walks on snow-capped mountains and stayed alone in a remote cottage’ as he learnt about mental health following his diagnosis  three and half years ago.

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The entrepreneur, who founded raw dog food brand Ella & Co and is engaged to French finance Alizée Thevenet shared two pictures of himself in the mountains with his four dogs spaniels Ella, Inca, Luna and golden retriever Mabel.

He shared that being in the mountains, walking in nature and beekeeping has helped his mental health and helped him ‘press the mute button’ on everything worrying him.

‘It has been exactly 1255 days since I got diagnosed with clinical depression  -but that day was the first day I learnt about mental health and how it is integral to the way we live our lives,’ he wrote.     

‘Ten days later I disappeared, I packed my dogs into my car and, telling no one where I was going, drove to a wild and remote part of the Lake District. 

‘There I swam in an icy lake, took solitary walks on snow-capped mountains and stayed alone in a remote cottage, trying to still the tumult in my mind. 

‘Why did I do this? I wanted to be in Nature.

‘Nature is central to our psychological and emotional health and as @mentalhealthfoundation says “Nature is our great untapped resource for a mentally healthy future” – this I whole heartedly support. 

‘One of my best strategies for coping with my own mental health today is taking my dogs for a walk each time to inhale the powerful benefits nature has to offer.

Another strategy is beekeeping, when I’m with my bees it’s as if someone’s pressed the mute button on everything that’s worrying me. 

‘I have endless tales of how nature has helped me over the last few years and I couldn’t not recommend an ongoing prescription to nature as a fantastic support for your mental health and wellbeing.

‘(PS/ the photo of me on the mountain was exactly ten days after being diagnosed- I couldn’t feel joy, excitement or anticipation – only heart-thudding anxiety which propelled me through the day… but this moment with the dogs onto of that mountain I will never forget..

‘I shouted at the top of my lungs (like they do in films) I cried and I absorbed everything that nature could give me giving me the strength to tackle the upcoming battle to overcome my depression.

‘Fast forward three years and each time I climb that mountain always say thank you for playing an unknowing part of my recovery.’

Last year, James said he ‘owes his dogs his life’ as he spoke about living with depression. 

The entrepreneur has five dogs – Golden Retriever Mabel and four black Spaniels called Ella, Zulu, Inka and Luna – who he has often credited with helping him through difficult times. 

In a clip shared on his Instagram page in August, James, who work with charity Pets For Therapy, explained: ‘For me, during troubled times and good times, they’re my consistent….I would go so far as to say that I owe Ella my life, and she doesn’t know that.’ 

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