The Bachelor's Victoria Paul Reflects on Mental Health Struggles: 'I Did Not Want to Live'
Former Bachelor contestant Victoria Paul is getting candid about her mental health journey.
During an appearance on Wednesday's episode of the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, Paul — an initial cast member of the current season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise — said her mental health reached "an all-time low" after appearing on Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor, which aired in 2020.
"Being thrown into the space where people are questioning your character and coming at you — and online, people aren't kind. I'm from a small town where I've never really had to deal with a lot of that," Paul, 28, told host Becca Kufrin and guest host Tia Booth. "I really struggled on the show and off the show. There was a point where I really had to lean on the people in my life to help me get through it, and I had to see someone in regards to my mental health because I did not want to live anymore."
Paul said while that period in her life was "really hard to go through," she has since taken the time to work on herself.
"I've since gotten therapy, and I have this toolbox," she said. "And I have the ability to work through things I had no idea how to work through before."
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Paul was able to apply what she learned in therapy during her short-lived journey on Bachelor in Paradise.
During Monday's episode, Paul abruptly left the show after being confronted with allegations of a secret relationship back home. She was forming a connection with James Bonsall when Tammy Ly and Kelsey Weier told him about Paul's alleged intentions.
"I already was feeling like maybe I wasn't ready [for Bachelor in Paradise]. I think at that point, I was like, my life is so great back at home. And I knew that [Bachelor in Paradise] wasn't the place for me to be anymore," she said Happy Hour. "I am proud of the way that I handled things [on the show] because before therapy, like I said, I completely shut down. The people that saw Peter's season saw it. Like, I just cried and didn't address anything."
On Bachelor in Paradise, Paul said she "was able to communicate and handle conflict with grace." Though she admitted the situation wasn't handled "perfectly," she said it "felt good" to be able to stand up for herself in the moment.
As for the allegations themselves, Paul denied joining the show while in a relationship but did confirm that she was briefly seeing someone before filming began.
"I think that probably the weight of whether Paradise is going to be a thing or not weighed heavy on our relationship," she said. "He didn't ask me to stay and was just like, 'You should do what [you want], you should go and I encourage you to follow your heart,' or whatever. Like, 'We haven't been dating long.'"
"And I think that he probably was trying to give me some [sort of] blessing," she added. "But to me, it was like he wouldn't fully commit."
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.