Ben Tells Tayshia How He Overcame Depression During Powerful Talk on 'The Bachelorette'
Tayshia Adams was hoping she and Ben Smith could dig deeper into their relationship on Tuesday night’s episode of "The Bachelorette."
The pair were able to do just that during a powerful conversation that took place toward the end of their one-on-one date, during which Ben bravely revealed how he overcame crippling depression and survived two suicide attempts in recent years.
"I have actually said this about you since day one. I feel like you’re almost too perfect. You say the right things. You move the right way. I feel like you want to display this perfect image of yourself," Tayshia told the U.S. Army veteran and personal trainer over dinner, later adding, "I know you’re holding back and I feel just like there’s hurt there."
This caused Ben to open up a bit more, explaining to Tayshia that his upbringing in Southern California certainly impacted who he is as an adult. "I was raised in a house where being perfect was expected or being a certain way was expected. You have to look the part, you have to do all the things a certain way," he said. "I had everything I needed materially, but I think, often, I was left wanting emotionally."
Later in their conversation, when Tayshia asked Ben to describe his family dynamic in greater detail, he expressed that his sister helped him through his darkest days.
"2018 was a rough year for me. I had left a career that I thought I was going to be in forever. The army didn’t end up working out for me for a number of reasons, but I ended up breaking my back pretty bad. And I’m 26 years old and I can barely walk up the steps. I was living in a city that was too expensive for me and I was completely lost," Ben shared. "My life was very dark and I didn’t know how to say that I needed things."
He continued, "The only person I confided in was my sister. I’m trying to give you the whole picture, but, you know, I guess we can go deep. I had two failed suicide attempts in 2018 and 2019. I don’t mean to throw that on you. It’s a weird thing to do here."
Tayshia’s empathetic reaction helped Ben uncover even more of himself. "I didn’t want to be here anymore and for the same reason I don’t like to share, [it’s] because I don’t want to burden anybody with my problems. And I thought that the easiest way was to just not be around," he said. "Luckily, it didn’t work and the only thing that got me through that was [my sister]. And she has no idea. She saved my life and so I owe her everything."
Ben went on to say that he has found more healing through a "very intentional and aggressive" approach to therapy. "The person that you see before you today isn’t that person," he told Tayshia, assuring her that he is now in a better place.
Tayshia — clearly touched by Ben’s vulnerability — handed him her rose at the end of their discussion, advancing him to next week’s Hometown Dates episode.
"I see you and I hear you. And that’s all I’ve been wanting. I’ve been wanting you to open up to me and I’ve been wanting to get to know you. You’re an amazing person," she told him, to which he responded, "I don’t want to cry, but thank you, I really appreciate that. You just being here, it literally means the world to me."
As she reflected on their revelatory date — which concluded with a private performance by singer-songwriter Adam Hambrick — Tayshia revealed in a confessional, "I truly love Ben."
"This is a huge step in our relationship. It makes me feel like he trusts me and I feel like it’s the breakthrough that we needed to have to really take that next step in our relationship," she said. "I’m really excited to meet his family."
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, 24/7 help is available. Take action for yourself and others. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.