In honor of World Mental Health Day, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined the podcast “Teenager Therapy” to discuss social media, vulnerability, and the strategies they use to focus on their mental health. During the 30-minute conversation, Markle also opened up about what she learned from being the “most-trolled” person on the planet last year.
“I’m told in 2019 I was the most-trolled person in the entire world, male or female,” Markle revealed in the podcast’s latest episode, which was released on October 10. “And eight months of that I was invisible, I was on maternity leave with a baby, but, what was able to just be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable. That’s so big you can’t even think of what that feels like, because I don’t care if you’re 15 or 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging.”
Markle and her husband found common ground with the podcast’s hosts, who are all in high school, noting that bullying and exclusion can have as much of an impact on a student’s mental health as the constant public pressure did on the royal couple’s lives. “We all know what it feels like to have our feelings hurt we all know what it feels like to be isolated or other,” Markle added.
As for how she copes, Markle mentioned that journaling is “a really powerful thing it allows me to reflect on where I’ve come from, and with that comes a lot of perspective.” For his part, Harry does daily meditations. The royal couple stressed the importance of talking to a doctor, friend, family member, or even stranger with honesty and openness, both to destigmatize mental health concerns and to “lighten the load” of any bad feelings.
Naturally, the group reflected on Meghan Markle’s particularly vulnerable moment from last year, when a reporter asked Markle how she was dealing with the stress and scrutiny of marriage, motherhood, and royal duties. “It’s really, it’s a lot. So if you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed, it’s um…. Yeah, well, I guess, and also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m okay. But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.” Markle also confirmed to the reporter that she was ”not really okay” at the time.
It’s been almost exactly one year since the highly publicized moment and the Duchess just revealed what was going through her mind when it happened. “On the last day of the tour, man I was tired, I was just about to give Archie a bath,” she said before her husband jumped in to mention that she was also breastfeeding their son, Archie, at the time. “People don’t realize [breastfeeding is] like running a marathon, so between every official engagement, I was running back to make sure our son was fed. It was a lot but at the very end the journalist asked me, ‘are you okay,’ and I didn’t realize that my answer would receive such an interest from around the world.”
“I didn’t think about that answer because I was in a moment of vulnerability because I was tired, because there was no presentation,” Markle explained. “It was just, here is where I am, I’m a mom who is with a 4-and-a-half-month-old baby, but I think it speaks to the fact that the reason it resonated with people is because everyone wants to be asked if they’re okay.”
Harry, too, spoke about not brushing off “are you okay” with a one-line text message. He makes a point of checking in with his friends on a deeper level and said that sharing can lead to a “domino effect,” whereby one person’s vulnerability can lead to everyone opening up—and the podcast is just further proof of that.
You can listen to the full, candid conversation here: