James Middleton Goes for Bike Ride with Dogs After Revealing They 'Kept Him Going' Amid Depression
As proven by his animal-heavy Instagram page, James Middleton rarely goes anywhere without some of his furry friends
Kate Middleton‘s younger brother was spotted cycling around London on Wednesday in a special bike with two dogs in tow. As he peddled along wearing jeans, a vest and a hat, his two dogs enjoyed the ride from a carriage in the front. They were shielded from the light rain with a top, but the black and brown pets were happy to feel the wind by sticking their heads out the front opening.
In a recent op-ed for the Daily Mail, James opened up about his battle with depression, recounting his darkest moments before seeking treatment a little over a year ago. He also credited his dogs with providing emotional support.
“I recognize, too, the role my dogs — Ella, Inca, Luna, Zulu and Mabel — have played in my recovery,” he wrote.
“Ella, particularly, has been my constant companion for ten years and she’s been with me to all my therapy sessions. In her own particular way, she has kept me going,” he continued. “As a result, Ella and I now volunteer with the Pets As Therapy charity and Ella is a fully-fledged therapy dog for PAT.”
James recalled how he would struggle to get through the day during the worst of his depression.
“During the day I’d drag myself up and go to work, then just stare with glazed eyes at my computer screen, willing the hours to tick by so I could drive home again,” he wrote. “Debilitating inertia gripped me. I couldn’t respond to the simplest message so I didn’t open my emails.”
“I couldn’t communicate, even with those I loved best: my family and close friends,” James continued. “I know I’m richly blessed and live a privileged life. But it did not make me immune to depression. It is tricky to describe the condition. It is not merely sadness. It is an illness, a cancer of the mind.”
James went on to explain that he felt completely alone in his feelings and even contemplated suicide.
However, after months of suffering, James decided to do something. “I packed my dogs into my car and, telling no one where I was going, drove to a wild part of the Lake District I’ve loved since I was a child.”
In the Lake District, in North West England, James was able to calm his mind with “solitary walks on snow-capped mountains.”
“In the days before, I’d finally confronted the fact that I couldn’t cope any longer, that I wasn’t all right; that I desperately needed help,” he said. “And this recognition led to a sort of calm: I knew if I accepted help there would be hope. It was a tiny spark of light in the darkness.”
James later revealed his reason for speaking out on his experience is to help change the stigma associated with mental illness.
“They believe we can only tackle the stigma associated with mental illness if we have the courage to change the national conversation, to expel its negative associations.”
James, 31, recently returned from a sunny vacation in St. Barts. The tropical getaway was a family affair, with sister Pippa, 35, and her husband James Matthews, who recently welcomed their son Arthur Michael William, as well as Spencer Matthews and his wife and son joining in on the fun. James also brought along his new girlfriend, French financial analyst Alizee Thevenet.