"That day was the first day I learnt about mental health," James, 34, posted on Instagram

By Phil Boucher
May 12, 2021 04:44 PM
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James Middleton
James Middleton
| Credit: James Middleton/Instagram

Kate Middleton's younger brother, James Middleton, is honoring an emotional anniversary: "exactly 1,255 days" since he was diagnosed with clinical depression.

"That day was the first day I learnt about mental health and how it is integral to the way we live our lives," James, 34, posted on Instagram on Wednesday.

"Ten days later I disappeared," he continued. "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 (in northwest England). 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."

James has continued to draw upon the healing powers of mother nature ever since, regularly Instagramming images of his mind-clearing adventures in the British countryside with fiancée Alizee Thevenet, their dogs — including long-term companion, black cocker spaniel Ella — and, more recently, an adopted lamb named Captain

James Middleton
James Middleton in the Lake District, England
| Credit: James Middleton/Instagram

He has also previously spoken at length about the crucial role that nature and wildlife play in protecting his mental health, crediting a Christmas vacation to the Scottish Highlands three years ago as a "turning point" in his battle against depression.

"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 🌳," James added.

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James Middleton Instagram

He also has big sisters Kate and Pippa Middleton to thank for another of his coping strategies. In June 2020, James revealed that his family gifted him a beehive for his 24th birthday and that it has gone on to play a major role in helping him to unwind from the stresses of daily life.

"When I'm with my bees it's as if someone's pressed the mute button on everything that's worrying me 🐝," James added Wednesday.

Yet it is the wild expanses of the British countryside that have had the biggest influence on James, who runs Ella & Co, a freeze-dried raw dog food company in the U.K.

"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," he continued, while also drawing attention to its recommendation by the Mental Health Foundation.  

James Middleton
James Middleton and Alizee Thevenet
| Credit: James Middleton/Instagram

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Movingly, that includes the moments captured in the pictures James posted alongside his words, which show the entrepreneur resting on a snowy mountain summit with four of his dogs. It was taken just ten days after his diagnosis and holds a deep, personal meaning him.  

"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," James posted in a heartfelt postscript to his message.

"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🏔"