Most of us will never know what it’s like to have our lives, let alone love lives, aired for millions to see on television.
The impact of this on a person’s mental health can be monumental.
Joining Dr. Fedrick on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected is Clayton Echard, from ABC’s most recent season of “The Bachelor.”
Key Takeaways from Liz’s chat with Clayton:
• Hear how Clayton would describe himself, outside of The Bachelor
• Learn how the whole process of The Bachelor effected Clayton’s mental health
• Find out how Clayton came to the conclusion that he wanted to be open about his mental health journey
• Discover when Clayton started noticing that he was struggling with mental health issues
• Hear about Clayton’s future plans!
All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.
Follow Clayton on Instagram: @claytonechard
Connect with Clayton on Twitter: @claytonechard
For more information on Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick, visit her website: evolvecounselingaz.com
Connect with Dr. Fedrick on Instagram: @drelizabethfedrick
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DISCLAIMER: THE CONSULTATIONS OR INTERACTIONS OFFERED ARE NOT MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY. THE CONSULTATION IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND NOT STRUCTURED IN A WAY TO PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING/PSYCHOTHERAPY/THERAPY/ DIAGNOSING OF ANY KIND. YOU UNDERSTAND THAT CALM COOL AND CONNECTED IS NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION AS YOUR TREATING MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR, PHYSICIAN, ATTORNEY, LEGAL COUNSEL, EMPLOYER, MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. We offer no guarantees or promise of results from event nor assume liability for any information provided.
Dr. Liz: [00:00:00] Now more than ever. We have an opportunity to be a positive force in the world to help heal the divide, to treat each other and ourselves with respect. Well, there's so many tools out there from meditation to physical training, proper nutrition therapy, and so many others. We all need a little help navigating all the options.
Join us as we share in-depth information, insights and thought provoking discussions that will help answer your questions about how to stay calm, cool, and connected. During these times. Welcome to calm, cooling, connected your guidebook to peace of mind.
Hello and welcome to calm. Colin connected. I'm your host, Dr.
Elizabeth Bedrick. Many of us will never know what it's like to have our lives. Let alone our loved ones. Aired on national television. And there's no way to imagine what it would be like to have millions of people watch some of our most intimate, vulnerable moments. And then furthermore have an opinion on these moments.
And well, yes, this is done for entertainment purposes. This does not take away from the really true overwhelming emotions and the [00:01:00] genuine impact that this type of experience is going to have on someone's mental. Joining us today is Clayton Ecker, ABC his most recent bachelor. And Clinton's here to chat with us about his experience on the bachelor, the toll that took on his mental health, as well as his plans for the future.
I later welcome.
Yes. Thank you so much for joining us. I know. So excited to talk about something maybe outside of the bachelor was just certainly what we're going to spend some time. Before we jump in, tell us a little bit about who is Clayton. So not as the bachelor or not as you know, the face of ABC, but who is Clayton?
Clayton: Yeah. My friends would say I'm just a goofy dude that just likes to have fun and, and do that through really I love being active, so I love to hike by. I anything I can do outdoors. That's that's right up my alley. Usually in bed at an early enough time, somewhat of an early riser but always just pushing myself to be better every day.
So [00:02:00] that's, that's kind of in a nutshell, if I had to, to put some words,
Dr. Liz: I liked that. So obviously going into the bachelor, you had to know that there was going to be emotion somewhat of an emotional toll in this process, but could you have anticipated really the impact that it has? I mean, as I mentioned in the intro, a lot of people look at it as entertainment, but I mean, it was, there are real emotions and real impact to your mental health.
Was any of that anticipated going into it?
Clayton: You know what it's interesting because you think that you kind of have an idea how it might be. And I had been on the other side of it as a contestant quote, unquote, but then it flipped over to being the lead and it's just completely different it's night and day.
And I was really just kind of realizing these things as I went with every interaction that I had and. Yeah, I became [00:03:00] very overwhelmed throughout the process and then realized towards the end. And even afterwards that it took a substantial, emotional and physical toll on me. One that I've had to take and many, a few different measures in order to protect my, my mental health the ends and the people around me as well that I impact.
Dr. Liz: Well, absolutely. And you've been really open about that on your social media and for me as a mental health professional, I'm so appreciative of people who have a platform really bringing awareness and working to de-stigmatize the mental health fields. It's so important. And so for you, what led to you starting to be so open on social media, how did you, was that a hard thing for you to do?
Or how did you decide, like, Hey, I need to start to put this out.
Clayton: Yeah. You know, you know what? I have an incredible support system around me. And I think that is a Testament to somebody is who they surround themselves with. And so I've always been a big talker. It gets me in trouble from time [00:04:00] to time because I talk too much.
But, but with that I've always in the last, I'd say probably five or six years. I've been very open with my feelings and thoughts with those that are around me. And I've got a pretty positive reception. It's never, never been had someone close off to me or tell me this is too much. I don't want to be a part of this.
I've always kind of been thanked for being open and honest. And because of that, I realized that it was almost therapeutic to me. For me to open up. And it was a really great way for me to handle my emotions and thoughts. And so just by expressing them outwardly and I found over time that I wasn't alone in how I thought and that even provided me some more supports.
And it just really, I realized that it was important to have those conversations because often people don't and that leads to them doing some drastic things at times.
Dr. Liz: Absolutely. And you know, something I really respected was during the show, you talked about mental health, even on the show, when you guys at one of the, you guys were [00:05:00] sitting around in the circle and you were talking about even some of the body image struggles and how that's impacted you.
So what has mental health been a part of your life prior? Like had you, have you worked with a mental health professional even like prior to where you're at right now or. Was this experience kind of the catalyst for that?
Clayton: Yeah, I would say this experience was the catalyst as far as for seeking professional help.
I now have a therapist and it was interesting because when I first. Once you talk with one, I thought, well, I don't necessarily need this, but I just want to explore it and have the experience. But what I realized very quickly was I, I do need it as I started to open up and, and started talking and unraveling a lot of the the trauma that I kind of didn't realize I had suppressed.
But this smile experience of mental health started back when I was in seventh grade and curly. That's when my body dysmorphia, I started to notice that I, that I had a a different image of what I saw versus what others saw. And, and [00:06:00] from that point forward, it really just came down to me, trying to find fixes on my own.
I never wanted to, I didn't talk about it when I was that age. I, I kept it. And because of that, I was extremely upset and depressed at points more so than I've ever been in my life. And so, as I started to open up, I started, I was able to kind of release some of that stress, that depression and not feel alone.
And that's how I started to quell a lot of that. And then I realized that, okay, the best thing I can do is continue to open up. And I am now confident in who I am. So I don't feel that I'm less of a, a man. Less of a human being because I struggle because everybody does just, not everyone talks about it.
Dr. Liz: Absolutely. I mean, beautiful point. That's so true. That's I mean, the statistics there's millions of Americans struggling every day and because of how it's so stigmatized you're right. A lot of people don't talk about that. I think that was a big part of when I'm hearing you do this, you know, on national television.
That's a really [00:07:00] big deal, especially for a man. It's not as common to even talk about some of those body image issues. And so for you to be able to do that, the body image issues are common in men, very common in men, but the willingness to talk about it as a, as a whole different story, what was that like for you to be so vulnerable?
W w when did you have an awareness of like, okay, this is airing to national TV, or was it really just being vulnerable in that moment?
Clayton: Oh, well, yeah, I absolutely knew it was going to be aired because there was six cameras within 10 feet. So, you know, you know, what's going on, on, you know, online and all over the airwaves.
But but you know, you know, but beyond that, I just saw myself in that environment as we. Almost in a round table setting in that circle setting. And we were all just talking and I felt for me, I thought the best way to open up and to really get everyone else to feel comfortable opening up as well.
And, and for us, yeah, because at that point it was about getting to know the women. I just, I took it upon myself to just be as [00:08:00] vulnerable as I could, because again, I realized at the end of the day, these are the issues that I have internally. But it's good to put them out there externally because whoever I ended up.
It needs to know that this is what's going on in my head. So that they're aware of it so that they can do what's best for us as a couple, but also just they know that there's where the pressure points may be and where they might lie. So I knew I had to open up so that there were no surprises.
Dr. Liz: Absolutely. And that's a big part of the work that I do as a relationship therapist is talking about. You know, triggers that each individual has and how they bring that into the relationship. And so, I mean, that's a great point that in order for your partner to really know you and for you guys to grow together, those intimate moments and that vulnerability has to be exposed.
So were you part of, I know part of your future plans is to go into fitness and mental health. Were you in fitness prior to your role in the.
Clayton: No, I wasn't. I was actually a medical sales rep. And so I say, I wasn't, [00:09:00] I mean, indirectly I've always been big into fitness as far as I've helped out some of my friends I've written up workout plans for them.
I've taken them to the gym with me and we've worked at done some workout sessions. So I've always had the interest in. Plus with the 10 plus years playing the football in college, even at a high level I I've learned from some of the best of the best as far as weightlifting coaches and just different techniques.
So I, and my own personal research. So I've always had an interest. It's always my true passion. But prior to the show, no, I, I worked mainly in medical.
Dr. Liz: Okay. So what are your plans? What are you hoping to do in the fitness world as you continue to evolve out of this role as the
Clayton: bachelor? Yeah. You know, I put some feelers out there recently on my social media just to see what would be, how I'd be able to impact the most people.
And I want to try to reach out and positively impact as many people as I can. But I, I want to make sure I do it the right way. So I'm actually creating website right now. It's going to. Some free [00:10:00] educational resources for how to perform movements correctly. And then there will be a portion as well that people can sign up for that will give workout plans that provide those workout plans.
So and there's a forum and all that on there to build a community. So I just know that's, what's so important is having group accountability. Not feeling like you're going at it alone. And that's what I love about not only fitness, but then the mental wellness aspect, as well as again it's so important that individuals feel that they aren't alone, but that they have a community of people around them.
And so that's what I'm hoping to build through my website. And then however else I can get involved in the community partner up with fitness companies. I also have plans to speak on mental health around the country to. Really anybody, but I think high schoolers and college kids, those are where the minds of very moldable.
So I want to share my experiences with them and show them that you can, you can be a man, a real man and talk about your emotions. It doesn't need to have the stigma around it.
Dr. Liz: Absolutely. And do you plan to tie that [00:11:00] into, so with the website that you're doing with the fitness, do you plan to tie in the mental health component?
Into that website,
Clayton: you know, I want to, yes, ultimately, but truthfully, just one van right now, I've just building this. Website's been an experience in itself because I have no technical background in it. So I've had fun with it, but it's all new to me. So I just starting with the fitness element and then as I start to get that kind of.
The ground then. Absolutely. I do want to add in a mental wellness piece to it. Whether I bring in people to put educational videos on the website, motivational messages, whatever it is, I would love to build a build that out.
Dr. Liz: Sure. And so let's talk a little bit further about the mental health advocacy.
So you're hoping to go speak to high schoolers or to college, to. What do you feel that the messages that you're really wanting to send, are you hoping to keep it geared around the body image or more around general mental health with anxiety and depression? What are you [00:12:00] to use your platform to really promote for the mental health?
Clayton: You know what I, for me, and it's a great question. Again, I, I talked about targeting that age group, but I really feel like it's a mess. You know, that it can be tailored towards anyone. And again, I've, as I fought it through, I realized that depending on who I'm speaking to, I want to be able to tailor that message.
So as I went through high school, I think back to what was it back in high school that really gave me that high anxiety or, or I was depressed about. And it was, you know, not being popular. It was not, you know, not being able to have, you know, have a girl or be able to win her over and get her to date me things that I read it like one that don't matter to my life anymore.
Those things I thought it was the end of the world back then. Had those dark thoughts of, well, this girl doesn't want to date me then, and I'm not in the popular crowd then. Take my life. And I know that again, the kids at that point in their life, they're so young, they're moldable, but like they don't realize that that it's temporary, the pain's temporary will pass and there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
And so being able to talk about my high school experiences and then stand in front of them today and say, listen, [00:13:00] I have an incredibly beautiful girlfriend. I'm doing really well. I'm successful, I'm happy. And so all the things that I thought were important back then, They're just not, they don't dictate how your life is going to be five, 10 years from now, even a year later after that point.
So just know you're not alone. Just know that the best thing you can do is talk to other people. And that's the message that I really want to send. No matter what age range I'm speaking to is just have a conversation. Don't suppress it. Don't because if you do, that's when you start to get the dark thoughts and feel well, there's no other way, but yeah.
And that's not the case. And so I want that message to resonate with people, to just talk and find people you trust and confide in them. And you'll realize that your issues there's a, there's a, there are others out there, many others out there like you that are battling with it. And together, I think everybody can grow beyond it.
If they just find that committee.
Dr. Liz: Yeah. And I think it's so important, especially with that population, that it is normalized, but then it's also validated. Right? it does feel so real to them in that moment. [00:14:00] So we can tell them, you know, it's temporary and it's not going to matter in a year and we can tell them all those things.
But as you're describing, you know, your high school experience was so real for you. And so overwhelming, even, you know, years later, you're in a totally different position. And so I love what you're saying that normalizing it, but that validating, these are such real experiences and so impactful. And so by finding someone to talk to finding some resources is really what's most beneficial.
Clayton: The thousand percent because yeah, you have to keep in mind that you never want to minimize somebody's problems because they, they're not, they they're the ones that feel that it's a max maximize. They feel it's a big issue. And it is because again, what I've realized in life is perception is reality. So if somebody feels like this is something that's magnanimous to them, it certainly is.
But what you can do is say, Hey, listen, You were like, I don't want to minimize what's your, what you're going through at all, but let's just talk, let's talk through this and see if we can find a way to make this so that they [00:15:00] can, we can set your mind at ease and, and finding resources the best way to do it.
I don't have, there's so many people out there. I think with you, you included that had, that are actual professionals that can sit here and. And be able to have these conversations and help these people get beyond these hurdles. I just want to open up the, I understand that there are resources and here's what I went through, but my story is different from anybody else's, but just understand that I went and saw went after it and looked for therapy.
I had conversations with individuals and that's what the conversation truthfully is, is just go look for those resources they're out there and they certainly have.
Dr. Liz: Right. And, and you're right. Your experience everyone's experiences are so unique. I think what makes you so relatable is that, as I mentioned in the intro, a lot of people look at the experience of being on a television show like this as entertainment, And so it's so easy for them to minimize that, right?
Like he chose this, he signed up for this. And so they, it is easy to minimize it, but I think the [00:16:00] parallel and exactly what you're saying, that whether it's these high school experiences or your experiences in the public eye, As easy as it is to dismiss, or it really is true experiences and they are big to you.
And I think that that's where you become really relatable. Too much of the population that you can say, yeah, you can dismiss this, but for me it was so.
Clayton: Yeah. And again, I've, I've heard a lot of people say, well, he knows he knew what he signed up for, and that is very dismissive and it diminishes the pain and experience that, that, that I went through.
And again, that I cause pain as well to other individuals. So it's not fair to them either because the entire experience was real. It, I understand it was a show, but. They were very real relationships and very real emotions and a lot of pain resulted from that. And I know I heard a lot of individuals and again, it wasn't even just the people that were there directly in front of me.
I heard viewers, people that watched it, that triggered past emotions. [00:17:00] So I know again, it's like, I, it hurt me to know that I had a big impact in that regard, and I certainly didn't want it to go that way, but but that was the nature of, of the environment and of the actions that I took.
Unfortunately, but yeah, I it's, it's important because it did hurt me as well. When people started saying, you know, what you signed up for? I don't feel bad for them diminishing that made me feel that I was, then I had that struggle mentally of, well, am I overthinking this? Is this my own issue? Like, am I alone?
Because it doesn't seem like many people are in my corner. So it's so important to provide people with support as opposed to telling them you know, this is just what you signed up for.
Dr. Liz: Sure. And in your case, and in many other people, you did the best you could with what you knew and what you had, and that's all we can do.
That's all any of us can do is just the best we know in that moment. What would you suggest for people who maybe are looking for resources? How did you even, did you use websites or how did you find a mental health therapist when you decided to look for.
Clayton: Yeah. So I was able to be [00:18:00] connected with them.
With some people that I, that I knew that I'm close to and, and trust. And so but I also, again, I still did my due diligence and went online and Googled them and made sure that they, again, it's like ratings. This is first of all, it starts what they are checking to make sure they're credible because that's so important for everything is to make sure that whatever, whatever resource you're you're pulling from, you want to make sure it's credible because anybody can type anything out and put on a website.
And then beyond that, just having that. Okay. That first conversation with a therapist and making sure that this is somebody that I feel can help me in my journey. And so just taking those, those steps, because if it's not right for you, if it doesn't feel right then, then certainly it's not something that I think that somebody should just jump into for the sake of jumping into it.
It has to make sense. You have to be able to be relaxed, comfortable with that person and opening up. So there's, sometimes it doesn't, it takes a week or two or longer to find, but when you, yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Liz: No. And that's a great point. I tell so many people that just because it's the first person you sit down with.
I mean, it is, it's like dating as well. Right? You got to [00:19:00] feel it out. You got to make sure it's a good fit. You're comfortable. There's good rapport. So you're absolutely right. Just because it's who you find in, sit down with. Doesn't mean it's who you're stuck with. So look around and find the right person.
I love that feedback. That's great. Thought. Where can our viewers find you? So I know the website isn't quite.
but in the meantime, where can everyone find you?
Clayton: Yeah, so I had him active on most social media is I'm on Instagram, Twitter, Tik TOK is my first and last name. And it's pretty easy to find for that reason. I try to keep it simple on myself as well. So I post a lot on my Instagram.
That's my main. Source where I connect with people around me and that's where also my web a website will end up being posted in my bio. So so yeah, those three spots and any which anywhere else I can find where I can make a difference, I will certainly try to do so from there as well.
Dr. Liz: Perfect.
Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Clayton and I really appreciate you being here.
Clayton: Thank you for having me.
Dr. Liz: Absolutely. And thank you all for tuning into this episode of calm, cooling, [00:20:00]connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcast so that others can discover our content as well.
Thank you again for joining us in this episode of calm, cooling, connected. .