The unresolved pain is transmitted, said Prince Harry. Someone once told him that, and it stuck with him. In Apple’s The Me You Can’t See, Harry bet his soul on Oprah Winfrey by getting the help he needed most. The documentary series, which is about mental health, is their way of paying for it up front.
Harry discusses the event which convinced him to take steps to fix the problems – to cast a demon on his wife, Meghan Markle, and his family’s refusal to provide them with help. He returns to the memories of his late mother, Princess Diana, and the trauma of her death that left her. He emphasizes, over and over again, that he fears that history will repeat; that the press would cut his wife at will by his will for a living.
In the first episode of the show, directors Dawn Porter and Oscar winner Asif Kapadia, focused on Harry and Oprah, who work as major producers. Records of the early history of Harry and William, accompanied by Diana while avoiding the media, play with her painful memories of her youth. The environment in which he grew up was very stressful, he says, his ten years in the military was the happiest he had ever felt.
Trauma takes root in different ways in different people. The inner man of the Black City and the real prince have something to look forward to in the face of opposition to the social sphere – but that unites a shared sense of shame. Some were told to turn to God, others were told to suck, but few were encouraged to seek help. Some – especially men – turned to drugs. But addiction, as the doctor pointed out in the exhibition, cannot be considered a moral failure; it is a natural disaster, often inherited.
Oprah remembers contacting a class full of schoolgirls who could not cope with the safe environment he had given them, because their minds were accustomed to pain. In a recent episode, a Syrian child who fled his country after watching his brother die in a bomb blast was asked to rate his grief at a rate of one to 10 percent.
There are two ways you can respond to this exchange. You may be hit with inadequacy, as you consider the legitimacy of your emotions compared to this refugee child. Or you may be wondering why he made the decision on 7/10. Would it mean that the child knows that this is not the lowest he can hear; that the depth at which his pain may penetrate remains unresolved?
The poster The Me You Can’t See.
But Syrian refugee Fawzi gets help; there is comfort in knowing that. Like Ginny the boxer, Rashad the chef, and of course, the Prince Harry. He says he started treatment four or five years ago, and in one case invites a camera to see one of his times.
The show will never replace the real thing, but I suspect that for audiences affected by feelings of vulnerability, it could be a treatment in its own small way. It will reassure them that exposing weakness is not something you should be ashamed of. This may sound like an unfamiliar concept, especially in cultures like ours – Asian cultures where external self-esteem is given undue prominence – but conversations like these cultivate change.
Only a transformed society can have discussions about mental health; one who is not obsessed with money or who is worried about getting some kind of social status. It is important to hear the stories of people who have a perceived right, because it fixes these feelings, and it is common to hear these feelings.
PTSD does not matter if you have 12 Grammy Awards, or if you run away from home with problems of abandonment. Lady Gaga’s struggle is as valid as that of Alex, the young woman Oprah took under her wing a few years ago. He breaks down in one place after making a video call with her, making sure no one, not even Oprah, understands what he is dealing with. It hurts the heart. Most people will not believe you, but what you need some times for someone to believe you.