Clayton, who starred on Season 26 of The Bachelor earlier this year and was heavily scrutinized and criticized for how he had treated his bachelorettes during filming, took to Instagram on Tuesday with a very personal post.
Clayton wrote alongside a photo of him looking out a window in a darkened room, "Suse took this picture of me 1 day before After the Final Rose," referring to his The Bachelor winner and current girlfriend Susie Evans.
"In this moment, I was at rock bottom," he confessed.
"I knew what was coming and realized my reality was much further from what I had ever expected. As I looked out the window, I questioned who I was? What had I become? Where did everything go wrong? Why me?"
Clayton admitted his initial expectations for starring as the Bachelor were drastically different from reality and how things ended up.
"[Six] months prior, I was standing outside as the first limo pulled up and kept thinking to myself how I was so lucky to be in this position as The Bachelor. 6 months later, I was staring out this window wondering how much worse things could get," Clayton wrote.
Heading into the The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special, Clayton faced backlash for telling all of his Final 3 women that he loved them and for sleeping with both Gabby and Rachel before his last Fantasy Suite date with the girl he was supposedly the "most in love" with, Susie.
The former medical sales representative and college football player also received hate for keeping The Bachelorvillain Shanae Ankney around so long when most of the women had warned him multiple times about her disrespectful and shocking actions.
And on After the Final Rose that aired in March, Clayton was accused of pitting the women against each other. Gabby also scolded Clayton for betraying her and not being forthcoming with all information, and Rachel also said she felt misled and used.
Rachel even questioned Clayton if he had just said "I love you" during Fantasy Suites in order to sleep with her -- which he firmly denied.
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"But as I've reflected back on it all now since being out of the spotlight," Clayton continued in his Instagram post, "I've had the ability to see what I couldn't see before. I was too busy trying to defend my actions and my character, instead of accepting full responsibility for not only what I had done, but for who all I hurt."
"Often, we are so concerned with explaining ourselves that we don't realize the explanations sometimes hurt more than the actions. Because they appear as excuses and nothing more," he added.
Once Clayton introduced Gabby and Rachel to his family in Iceland during the final week of the show, he realized Susie was a "once-in-a-lifetime woman" with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. He therefore dumped Gabby and Rachel together and at the same time.
Susie -- who quit The Bachelor during her Fantasy Suite date -- ultimately returned to the show and made an appearance at the Final Rose Ceremony, but she dumped the Bachelor instead of accepting his final rose. Susie said at the time that Clayton wasn't her person and they didn't seem meant to be.
However, Susie reached out to Clayton post-filming seeking some answers, and the pair reconciled and are now dating and in love in the real world.
"But I feel that I finally have learned my lesson. I hurt people. Sure, I didn't have any intention of doing so and 'did what I thought was best by following my heart', but I still hurt people. Perception is reality and regardless of intention, the results of our actions hold the most weight," Clayton wrote.
"So, through therapy and other means of self-reflection, I have been able to finally see the reality of what all I had done. I never forget to give myself grace, as we all should do for ourselves. But I am a work in progress and always will be."
Clayton noted although "perfection is impossible to obtain," it's important for people to be better than they were the day before.
"So that's what I'll continue to strive to do," Clayton insisted.
"Thank you to those that have been in my corner throughout this entire experience. Without you all and your support and constructive criticism, I would still be focused on defending my character, instead of building upon it."
He went on to confess, "I would still be coming up with explanations that fit my narrative, instead of working to understand 'the other side'.
"And I would still be looking out that window, wondering who I really am. But I now know...and for that, I am finally at peace. #mentalhealth," he concluded.
Clayton recently told Us Weekly that he was confused while filming The Bachelor because he really changed and adapted to The Bachelor environment, which allowed him to progress multiple relationships so quickly and meaningfully.
"It was unchartered territory and I did make a major, major mistake of assuming, 'Okay, this is how things have operated from what I've heard. I'm sure the women are aware of how things work here, so maybe it's a little different from the outside world,'" Clayton previously told the magazine.
"But what I came to realize is some of the women still had the mindset -- and rightfully so -- like, 'This is the way I date. I'm dating one person.' These women were dating one person and I was dating 30, so that's where I think there was a contrast."