Former The Bachelor star Clayton Echard has admitted to being sad and depressed now that he's no longer the center of attention and a "hot commodity."

Clayton, whose The Bachelor season wrapped up on ABC in March, took to Instagram on Thursday, December 29 and opened up about "something pressing" that has been on his mind lately.


"I want to be vulnerable and share with you all to bring a sense of awareness to this matter that I feel isn't spoken about, as many people in a position similar to me feel guilty for doing so," The Bachelor Season 26 star began in a slideshow of text.

"It's this withdrawal or comedown effect that often occurs post-fame or post-success."

Clayton said he's spoken with "various individuals" who have been in the spotlight and then suddenly come out of focus and aren't as popular as they used to be.

"And when they are removed from it, depression can often follow suit. We just aren't as enthusiastic about life as we were in the moments where we were experiencing a more exciting lifestyle," Clayton explained.

"But why is this? Why can't we just go back to what we knew once before? In my experience, it has to do with dopamine releases (something we as humans don't typically consciously control), known as the 'feel good' hormone, occurring in the brain and a sharp drop in them as we acclimate back to post-success life."

Clayton said a person no longer feels those "natural highs" where dopamine levels are "constantly elevated."

"It's [quite] the opposite... as normal life no longer excites us," Clayton noted. "A low or depressed dopamine level is directly correlated with sadness and a lack of motivation, and since we are no longer experiencing the natural highs, we can fall victim to this state of addiction."

Clayton explained how people in this situation tend to crave "chasing the high," trying to get back what they once had because they just "want to 'feel good' again."

Clayton wrote how people are "creatures of comparison to a fault," which can be "dangerous."

Speaking to his own experiences in 2022, Clayton shared, "I've landed a helicopter on a yacht, traveled the world, dune buggied on the black sand beaches of Iceland, went inside a volcano, rented out an entire palace for a dinner date, stayed in a penthouse suite at one of the nicest hotels in the city of Toronto, had VIP access at multiple events and clubs all around America, and so much more."
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Clayton went on to admit, "And then it was all gone."

"I was no longer the 'hot commodity' and even though I said I was perfectly fine with that, I couldn't help feeling sad," Clayton confessed.

"I want to go back to normal, but normal is tough to go back to when you've experienced the unbelievable."


Clayton insisted he didn't share this message for sympathy but rather for awareness.

"Because I feel many others in similar positions go through this withdrawal effect," Clayton wrote.

"They want to be happy, but the sharp drop in dopamine levels can be similar to overcoming an addiction and makes it challenging to acclimate back to a sense of normalcy. And what's worse is people make them feel guilty for expressing their struggles and either knowingly or [unknowingly] invalidate their feelings."

Clayton said many people will tell these individuals things like, "You should be happy. Look at everything you've experienced. You've done more than most people, so you don't have a legitimate reason to be upset."

Or a former reality TV star or celebrity may hear, "Oh, boo hoo. You have to get a normal job again like the rest of us. I feel SOO bad for you."

Clayton firmly stated how these comments "don't help" the former star's mental state or health.

"[These comments] are insensitive and often come from a place of ignorance and/or envy," Clayton explained.

"Trust me, many of us want to return to normal and are taking action in order to find happiness in more sustainable areas. But, our bodies and minds must first return to normal as well, physiologically, and that is something that is mostly out of our control and requires a significant amount of effort to combat."

Clayton repeated how he doesn't want anyone's sympathy and how most people in his shoes don't wany any sympathy either.

"We just want to feel seen, heard, and understood. That's all anyone really wants... Thank you for your time," concluded the former football player and medical sales representative from Eureka, MO.

Clayton captioned his post, "The more willing we are to listen to others' perspectives; the more likely we are to understand them. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to listen to mine."

Season 20 The Bachelor star Ben Higgins, who previously admitted to a similar struggle of having to find himself and his place in the world after starring on the franchise, left a comment.

"Thanks for sharing dude, spot on, it's hard to explain and it takes a person of character to open up about it. You aren't alone, I'm there with you," Ben commented.

Love Is Blind alum Nick Thompson could also relate and wrote, "Great share, Clayton. As a fellow reality TV survivor, I can relate to so much of what you're sharing. There is no guidebook on how to live your life post 'fame.' Keep advocating for yourself and others."

And The Bachelorette alum Blake Horstmann also applauded Clayton's message and added, "Well said."


During a December 14 appearance on the "Bachelor Happy Hour" podcast, Clayton recalled how he felt once his whirlwind stint on The Bachelor ended on television in March.

"I had lost all stability and structure. I was like, 'What am I doing? I left my job. I guess I'm going to be an influencer now,'" Clayton told the podcast's co-hosts Becca Kufrin and Michelle Young.

"I was trying to make the influencer stuff work, but it wasn't working like I thought. Influencing is hard! I hate that people say it's 'so easy' -- it is not easy! It is a full-time job and I'm not good at it, really."

He added, "I was overwhelmed and I was like, 'What am I going to do next?!' And I was like, 'I'm going back to corporate America. I'm going back. I'm going back to medical sales, what's safe.'"

But Clayton revealed that his ex-girlfriend Susie Evans "stopped" him from making that decision.

Clayton said he decided to pursue his passions after Susie gave him good advice.

"She was like, 'Clayton, I see how happy you are on the days when you make an impact on people. I don't think you should give this up yet. I just think that you have more in you. I think you're not done. You've tried, but have you exhausted all options?'" Clayton shared.

Clayton and Susie didn't work out on The Bachelor, but they reunited in the real world once filming ended and got back together.

The couple fell in love and tried to make things work, but they announced their split in late September.

Clayton told Becca and Michelle that he's been living with his brother in Scottsdale, AZ, but plans to buy a house in early 2023.

"My life is good; I'm doing what I want, I'm making an impact, and good things are happening," Clayton said on the "Bachelor Happy Hour" podcast.

"I learned so much and I have zero regrets. I love everything that's happened in my life, because I am the person that I am because of the good and the bad. And I found good through all the bad."

Susie recently created a blog titled "Susie Was Like," and in a blog post earlier this month, Susie revealed that she and Clayton had split, in part, due to the fact they're not compatible.

"I see comments still, like, 'Well, what happened?' And I'm like, 'Well, nothing happened! He didn't do anything; I didn't do anything. We just weren't really compatible,'" Susie reasoned.

"I think it was ultimately, like, expectations of what do you want in a partner? What do you want from yourself? And all of those kinds of things. And we just weren't really aligned on those things."

The Bachelor fans began to suspect there was trouble in paradise between Clayton and Susie in August, when Clayton revealed on an episode of Amanda Hirsch's "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast that the couple had decided to stop living together and planned to move to different states.

Clayton headed to Scottsdale and Susie considered relocating to Los Angeles.

Although Susie never officially made the move, she will be settling down in L.A. in January 2023.

Clayton and Susie said they broke up because neither person felt stable or fully emotionally supported in the relationship due to their insecurities and outside pressure from Bachelor Nation to be a perfect couple.

Clayton shared how it felt nearly impossible to pour into his relationship with Susie when he didn't even know what he wanted out of life and where his future was headed.

The couple also confirmed how dealing with backlash from Bachelor Nation -- including death threats sent to Clayton -- was a big factor in why they had issues and ultimately parted ways.

"I was trying to figure out what my next step was [and] I started questioning who I was because of all the negativity," Clayton said.

"I started to believe some of what was being said about me," he continued. "And I now look back at it and realize, like, I couldn't be that stable, secure man that I needed to be to really be able to give my all in a relationship."

Clayton said he felt the need to rehab his image and please others, all the while trying to get over death threats and handle problems in his relationship, such as wrongly being accused of cheating on Susie.

The pair recently became friends again, with Clayton asking Susie to read and edit a draft of his new book.

Clayton teased last month there's a possibility he and Susie may get back together down the road, but Susie said earlier this month she's ready to date again and already has a crush on someone new.

Clayton also concluded that Susie just isn't his "person" and he's beginning to accept that notion.


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.