Demi Burnett came out as bisexual on TV.  When the cameras stopped moving, a life-changing diagnosis helped her heal

Demi Burnett came out as bisexual on TV. When the cameras stopped moving, a life-changing diagnosis helped her heal

Relaxation is Yahoo Life’s wellness series in which experts, influences and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental healthfrom self-serving rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

In the 20 years since The bachelor which premiered, there have been hundreds of singles who participated in the show in search of love. But few have marked enough, such as Demi Burnett, the sparkling Texan who fought for the heart of Colton Underwood in the 23rd season before starring. Bachelor in Paradise 6 in 2019. It was during the last series in an island series that Burnett revealed that he was dating a woman, Christian Hagerty, who ended up in the series. Although they have since divorced, the two women made history as Bachelor Nation’s first same-sex relationship aired and they got engaged during the series finale.

While Burnett – who returned to Degree in Paradise last year – she is proud of her sexuality and the barriers she has broken, she tells Yahoo Life that “appearing on national television” has also affected her mental health. “All this shame was in the back of my mind during filming,” the 27-year-old said of the “disgusting” response her family predicted to be bisexual.

“[I was] so paranoid about what my family thinks “, he recalls the shooting experience. “I think of my grandfather and grandfather seeing me go out with a girl and he thinking of shooting me for it. Like, I’m so anxious and so scared and so ashamed, guilty and righteous [having] so many emotions “.

The drink helped Burnett sober to “mask” these feelings, but her relationship suffered, she says, because the stress and shame she felt made her “constantly irritated” and uncomfortable showing affection to her partner. As soon as she left the show, her fears of her family’s denial proved to be justified.

“I go out and everyone approaches me like, ‘My God, you’re so brave. How did you do it; This is so amazing! “He says, adding,” I wish my family could see it. I wish they celebrated me. They still don’t do it … People are like “Demi rocks. We love Demi”. And, like, my own family still does not. “

Demi Burnett for autism, it comes out and the pressures of reality.  (Photo: Getty, designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Demi Burnett for autism, it comes out and the pressures of reality. (Photo: Getty, designed by Quinn Lemmers)

In February, Burnett announced on Instagram that she had undergone a psychiatric evaluation which she found to be autistic. More specifically, it defines as “100% PDA”, or pathological avoidance of demand, a profile of the autism spectrum disorder characterized by resistance to the demands and expectations of others. Burnett, who has self-diagnosed, says she has difficulty realizing the lack of autonomy or control in a situation.

“Autonomy, for me, is not [that] I want it; of [that] “My nervous system is activated if I do not have it,” he explains. “I go to battle or flee if I do not have it. So it seems that I’re just that person who always has to win the controversy, who always has to say something, who just can’t let it go or anything. “This is because my nervous system will not let me stop until I win – until I feel we are balanced.”

Learning about the PDA has helped bring some clarity to her long-term mental health struggles dating back to her adolescence. Being up The bachelor put these fights on the “back burner” and made her forget “how confused I was and how bad I felt because [was] “She started consuming herself with alcohol, using alcohol to numb any feelings of anxiety or discomfort around others. But even when she was sober, she felt that a piece of the puzzle was missing for help,” he says. .

Increasingly concerned about social situations, Burnett spent the beginning of the year largely isolated from the world at large. Desperate for answers, she turned to Google, where she came across a research on autism in women. For Burnett, the information he discovered reinforced something he had long suspected.

“In college I suspected I was autistic and I told the people in my life – because I was always asking for mental health, I was always asking for treatment, I was asking for help and no one was helping me. “She says.” And so I said, “I got it. I think I’m autistic.” And everyone was like, “My God, no, no, no, no.” And they made me feel ashamed and silly that I thought about it and that I discovered this for myself – they should have praised me for realizing it. And so he ended up closing me down. I doubt myself, I hated myself and I drank, I drank and I drank. “

Its revelation, almost a decade later, “changes lives” and “heals”. Burnett has found a community of women who can relate to her feelings and experiences. Now she feels less alone and says that she no longer wonders “what is wrong with me?” has helped her stress levels.

While much has been done about women diagnosing themselves with autism thanks to TikTok, Burnett stresses the importance of thorough research and sources of control. “If you look at something, do not take it for granted,” she says, noting that she turned to experts and reviewed several tasks before resetting her own self-diagnosis.

These days, Burnett focuses on self-love – something she describes as treating herself as kindly as anyone else would – and leans on her more authentic self. The latter is earned particularly hard after her long stay in reality, an industry in which a lack of mental health support and a relentless treatment can create “a toxic relationship with yourself,” he says.

“I would say that the stars of reality have it very hard, and anyone who is not a star of reality will laugh at it, but it is because of what is happening,” Burnett said. “You take people who are not in the industry, who have no idea what the industry is like, who have imagined and glorified the industry in their minds. It’s like Disneyland to me, baby. And you take me and you use this innocence. Use it. the curiosity and this enthusiasm and all that to get the good TV out of me … And you will just show it to millions of people and you will never, ever, ever care how any of this will affect me “.

While Burnett considers herself to have “escaped” in terms of her own interpretation, she says that reality TV producers usually “throw us into the wolves” by falsifying situations or “manipulating” cast members.

“It’s just unhealthy,” he says. And in the meantime you have people telling you how grateful you should be and how no one feels bad about you because you had the opportunity to appear on TV. “You signed up for it.” And it’s like, . And I did not sign for all this betrayal. “

—Production video Jacquie Cosgrove.

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