James Middleton Opens Up About Revealing His 'Darkest Thoughts' to His Dogs: 'They Won't Tell Anyone Else'

"To put your emotions into words to your dog is a release," says Kate Middleton's younger brother

Ella & Co Instagram
James Middleton. Photo: Ella & Co Instagram

James Middleton is sharing his personal tips for prioritizing mental health.

"I'm a great believer in being outdoors, whether in the city or the countryside," Kate Middleton's younger brother tells a special mental health issue of Hello magazine.

"Putting yourself first to take a moment is sometimes hard but so important," he adds. "To get outside and away from the stagnant air inside is uplifting."

James, 35, is also a firm believer in the benefits of being around pets — particularly, dogs. In May 2020, he was diagnosed with clinical depression and responded by escaping to the Lake District in Northern England with his dogs to roam the wild hills and clear his mind.

He has credited his dogs with providing emotional support ever since and frequently Instagrams images of his mind-clearing adventures in the British countryside with wife Alizee and their dogs — including his long-term companion, black cocker spaniel Ella — and, more recently, an adopted lamb named Captain.

James Middleton
James Middleton. James Middleton/Instagram

"I also enjoy taking my six dogs for walks," James tells Hello about his pups Ella, Inca, Luna, Zulu, Mabel, and Nala. "It's lovely when people are interested in my dogs. They stop and say, 'Please can we say hi to them?' Before we know it, we're chatting."

Dogs also provide an unquestioning source of comfort and support, says James.

"You can tell a dog your darkest thoughts and trust them because they won't tell anyone else," he said. "To put your emotions into words to your dog is a release."

James Middleton
James Middleton and Alizee Thevenet. James Middleton/Instagram

James first opened up about his mental health struggles in 2019, telling the Daily Mail how the combination of severe dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) left him living in a "monotone" world of "heart-thudding anxiety" where he couldn't feel "joy, excitement or anticipation."

"I feel compelled to talk about it openly because this is precisely what my brother-in-law Prince William, my sister Catherine and Prince Harry are advocating through their mental health charity Heads Together," he added.

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James 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.

"Beekeeping to me is a meditation 🧘‍♂️ it's a chance to escape my mind and be so consumed by something that hours can pass by without knowing it," James Instagrammed in August 2019.

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.

"Ella, particularly, has been my constant companion for ten years and she's been with me to all my therapy sessions," he told the Daily Mail in 2019. "In her own particular way, she has kept me going."

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