Kaitlyn Bristowe went through a dark period just before her split from her ex-fiancé, Shawn Booth. ET's Lauren Zima spoke to the 34-year-old former Bachelorette and she opened up about how her Valium addiction "definitely could have" returned during that challenging time. Bristowe and Booth got engaged at the end of her season of The Bachelorettein 2015, before calling it quits in 2018.
"It probably wasn't something that [was at] the front of my brain, thinking that way, because I like to think I'm stronger than that now, but at the same time it definitely could have," she says of her former struggle with Valium, which she first opened up about on her new digital show, 9 to Wine With Kaitlyn Bristowe.
"When you're that depressed, or that low, I feel like anything that makes you numb could be appealing," she says. "I can't even remember what I was feeling in that moment, but I think that's always a fear, to just go back into the darkest place of your life that you've ever been. I don't think I would've let myself get there again, but I obviously have no idea."
Another aspect of that dark place was Bristowe's struggle with self-esteem and her inability to push herself forward after heartbreak.
"I actually felt that I was on that path at the end of my last relationship and I saw myself going down that spiral again of just being completely insecure and not feeling safe and loved and happy with where I was at," she says. "And [I was] feeling like I couldn't move forward. There was something holding me back."
As for why she's open about her emotional past, Bristowe said it's because she sees "the importance about talking about mental health and just struggles and coming out of it the other side."
"I think it can empower or inspire somebody else out there that's listening," she says. "I'm very grateful and lucky to have a platform to do that."
Bristowe's story is certainly inspirational because, after a big breakup in her 20s, she was able to recognize her negative feelings and "do what I needed to do to move past it," so that her split from Booth wasn't as traumatizing.
"I think I now have better tools and understandings of myself and what I need in life to be happy and deal with the times that I'm not," she says. "I'm putting myself first, essentially, and that just feels like the right thing to do."
"I've just become a little more in tune with who I am and how strong I am. I've worked so hard for everything that I have. I'm doing things I'm passionate about and I'd like to think I'm succeeding in those things that I'm passionate about," Bristowe adds. "So, I just knew I'd be OK, and I knew that I was OK where I was in life -- emotionally, financially, and every way -- that I felt secure enough to move forward."
When she recognized her strength, Bristowe said that "all these things started happening."
"Now the universe has my back. I am back on track. I am on the path and I can feel that," she says. "Once you rid yourself of certain things that are causing you those moments of sadness... your life starts going on the right path. Once you surround yourself with things that make you happy, things just kind of fall into place."
Some of the things that have fallen into place for Bristowe over the last two years include starting a scrunchie line and a wine label, developing and hosting a popular podcast and taking her first step toward having a music career. In fact, Bristowe released her first song, "If I'm Being Honest," earlier this month and it topped the charts in Canada and came in at second in the U.S.
"I feel like I have been waiting for this moment since I was five years old. It feels like the last three years I've really been waiting for this moment," she says of her new musical success. "So I'm overwhelmed today in the best way possible. I just feel a relief, but so happy. It's been a lot of positive feedback and that's a bit of a shocker for me."
Though the song was written prior to her breakup with Booth and recorded on the day that their split went public, Bristowe has found a new meaning for the song amid her quarantine due to the coronavirus.
"We're all kinda going through something hard together, we're being so vulnerable with each other and how we're feeling," she says. "I was listening to the lyrics and I'm like, 'Wow, this actually applies to so many people and how we're all feeling right now... Why not release it?'"