Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette has always been known as one of the best. Why? The star’s signature in-your-face honesty. From the get-go, Kaitlyn made it clear that she was going to be 100% herself, and she’s now sharing more on how she came to be so confident in who she is. The Canadian star has talked about following an ex to Germany and suffering from heartbreak before. But she’s now getting into more detail on the downward spiral that followed, ending with a Valium addiction that left her numb and not eating, weighing in at only 93 pounds. By the time she won us over on The Bachelorette, Kaitlyn had a new outlook on life — and knew she’d never be left that rocked by a breakup again.
Kaitlyn is launching a new YouTube series Nine to Wine, and her kickoff episode is all about her struggle with addiction, and how she came out of it. After following a boyfriend to Germany, she found herself totally lost and felt her emotions spiraling out of control.
“When I say I lost myself, that is an understatement. I think I had out-of-body experiences in Germany,” she says. “Where I was a child and I was screaming and kicking on the floor, bawling my eyes out. It was like I was looking down at myself, going, ‘Why are you behaving this way? This is not who you are, get up off the floor.’ And I couldn’t.”
“I was just a shell of myself,” she adds. “We had looked at rings, I thought he was the one.”
When the breakup came, it was “abrupt,” she says: “He actually called my mom and said, ‘we need to figure something out for Kaitlyn. She can’t be here any more.'” So, Kaitlyn moved back in with her mother and step-father at age 27.
“Anyone that has felt severe heartbreak knows that you’re also going through a grieving process of losing somebody and it is heavy, dark times,” she says of that next period. “So I went to the doctor and I’ll never forget filling out paperwork on how depressed I was. I remember on a scale of 1-10, being suicida.l I remember filling everything out and just feeling like I had nothing and that life was over for me, that I’d given up all my hopes and dreams, and that the love of my life was now gone.”
Her doctor prescribed her an antidepressant along with Valium. Kaitlyn was grateful for the antidepressant: “I’m a big believer in medication…so I was open to being on it,” she says. Valium, however: “Valium I had never really known what that was or what it would do to me.”
Valium, a benzodiazepine, is an anti-anxiety medication with high potential for abuse. Kaitlyn quickly found out what it did to her: “I didn’t feel anything. I got to sleep, I got to not feel my feelings, and that felt great to me.”
View this post on Instagram
I was about as raw and real as I could be on today’s episode of my @9towineshow . I didn’t plan on sharing so much but I just know someone will relate and it’s part of where I am now. I talk about Antidepressants, Valium, severe weight loss, heartbreak, my bachelor audition clip, and more. I cried watching this episode back because I am so proud of myself for always following my heart. Please let me know if this resonates with you. This is why I did this digital series. I love this supportive community. To anyone struggling right now, I’m sending you a virtual hug. #9towineshow also, digital series hack. Screen mirror it onto your smart tv or Apple TV and boom. It’s a tv show. Link in bio!
Kaitlyn remembers hazy memories of those times, of her mother coming in at night to play her soothing videos while she slept.
“I had become addicted to Valium, and I was about 93 pounds,” Bristowe continued. “And that was when somebody had to shake me and say, ‘You can’t live like this. This is not you.'”
Slowly, with the support of her family, Kaitlyn was able to wean herself off the medication and re-engage with her life. She moved back to Vancouver, started working in a restaurant, and eventually found her way onto The Bachelor.
“I always think if I could go back to my 27-year-old self and talk to her, I would say, ‘You can’t let anyone be responsible for your own happiness. That is up to you,'” Kaitlyn muses now. Maybe that’s why she seemed so fearless on The Bachelorette: No matter what happened, Kaitlyn knew she would be okay.