Bachelor Opens Up About Body Dysmorphia & Other Psychological Disorders

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Getty The male form.

Considering the high level of attractiveness of most Bachelor Nation participants, the idea that someone would suffer from body dysmorphia seems unlikely. However, it may be more common than some people think.  One Bachelor, the highly controversial, Clay Echard, opened up to his hometown newspaper, The Virginia Pilot, about his experiences with body dysmorphia and other mental health issues

What is Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia, aka body dysmorphic disorder, is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a mental health condition in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.”

Echard began suffering from this disorder in the seventh grade. According to the Virginia Pilot, “he became hyperfocused on his body, pinching his stomach every time he passed by a mirror because he didn’t like the way it looked.”

For years, Echard had no idea what was wrong with him. Since he learned that what he was suffering from was real, he has been working to fight against it, and to help others do the same, the outlet reports.

Related Mental Health Issues

Playing the starring role in season 26 of “The Bachelor” was a bold move for the 29-year old, considering his past struggles with mental health. Unfortunately, things did not turn out the way he’d hoped. He feels he was edited to be a villain, and the outpouring of negativity toward him from viewers sent him spiraling into depression and anxiety. He called it a “train wreck…of a season” according to the outlet.

Once his season was over, the former NFL football player moved in with his brother in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Virginia Pilot explains, “Knowing that people, even strangers, were talking poorly about him made him nervous about going out in public. He would never go out unless it was to the gym.”

Since then, he has started to regain his confidence. He went to therapy and he has been enjoying developing his relationship with Susie Evans, the bachelorette he eventually chose. The couple began cohabitating in May and they now reside in Virginia Beach.

As the Virginia Pilot explains, Echard is now “rebranding himself as a mental health advocate. This, he believes, was the only path forward after the filming ended and he sank into depression.”  Echard has been posting links to resources online, and providing tips about how to maintain a healthy mind and body. He also launched a speaking tour in Ohio on July 8, according to the outlet.

Echard had become more confident in his body and looks by the time he agreed to star on “The Bachelor.”  His main concern was coming across positively on TV.  Image has always been very important to Echard, which is likely why it hit him so hard when he became viewed by the public as a villain.

The Thrashing on ‘The Bachelorette’ Premiere

Considering how important his image is to Echard, some fans are wondering how he took the berating that occurred on the premiere night of “The Bachelorette” on Monday, July 11, which stars two of the final three women he dated on “The Bachelor.” Contestant after contestant bashed Echard relentlessly, which was even starting to annoy the bachelorettes, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. There was even a song about him, performed by a mini-choir, called “Clayton Sucks.”

One Reddit user posted, “Watching those intros that revolved around Clayton were painful. I just feel like the first exposure to a relationship shouldn’t center around someones last relationship, let alone one that ended the way it did and aired on national television. They have very clearly moved on and your introduction being “at least I’m not him” is just a bad foot to start on.”

A concerned fan posted on Echard’s Instagram, “Clayton! Just wanted to leave a comment letting you know I was thinking of you after tonight’s episode. You don’t deserve to be treated like that especially after all the hardships you went through on and after the show. I wish more people understood how much of a mental toll it must take😞 Sending you all the good vibes and hope you’re okay💛 we love you!!”

A similar post read, “I hope you’re doing well, Clayton. What ABC aired last night was unnecessary and hurtful. How you handled things with Gabby and Rachael was wrong, but you have apologized and learned from your mistakes. ABC needs to understand that 2 wrongs do not make a right. Please don’t let what was shown on the bachelorette premiere last night hinder you and your mental health. Stay strong and stay positive! ❤️”

Echard appears to be taking it all in stride. He tweeted to blogger Reality Steve the next day, “It’s not personal, it’s business.”

READ NEXT: ‘Bachelor’ Star Colton Underwood Exposes His ‘Thorns’

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