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Inside 'Bachelorette' Alum Mike Johnson's Painful Past: Sexual Assault & Depression

'Bachelorette' Alum Mike Johnson Was Sexually Assualted As A Child
Source: ABC

Oct. 2 2020, Updated 7:24 p.m. ET

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In Mike Johnson's new book, Making the Love You Want — which was released on Friday, October 2he revealed he's previously struggled with depression and was sexually assaulted when he was younger.

In the introduction, the 32-year-old described being sexually assaulted by his babysitter when he was five years old. "My memories of fighting her off me and exploding out the front door to get away are still vivid," he wrote. "Although I knew that what happened to me should never happen to any child, I couldn't help but think something was wrong with me."

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The Bachelor Nation favorite said he ignored the pain he felt from that tragic experience, but ultimately, that didn't help him in the long run. "You can't just bury things that hurt you, because it will come up at some point in time," the Air Force veteran explained. "You have to go through it, because if not, it will come up to haunt you."

The season 15 Bachelorette contestant didn't tell his parents about the incident  — which took place while the family lived in Germany — until recently. "I knew my mom would feel as if she was wrong, and I don't want her to ever feel that way because there's nothing she could have done," he said. "I wanted to protect her."

However, he was able to confide in his friends while in the military. "When you talk about it, you gain strength," he shared. "It was comforting … after those deep, vulnerable conversations, you'd be surprised how much your bond grows."

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Johnson finally found the courage to tell his parents when he began writing his book last year. "It was hard for me to write as I was writing it. I had to take deep breaths," Johnson recalled. "It was absolutely emotional homework for me, but it's so therapeutic once you get it out there."

While speaking to Entertainment Tonight about his depression in October, the reality star described feeling "incredibly fragile."

"I felt like porcelain. I felt like glass," he shared. "I didn't know how to love myself. The things I teach in my book, I didn't know at the time." Johnson said. "If you are genuine when you make somebody smile, if you are genuine in giving positivity, it literally makes you feel better as a human being."

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He explained: "That's the biggest thing I can say when someone is depressed — to just try and make someone else happy and be genuine with it. Don't do it for selfish reasons, just try and not be in that hole and try to make someone else happy."

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According to PEOPLE, he decided to share his painful past in order to help those who may be dealing with similar issues. "My book teaches people how to stand up in their power, and for me to help others, I practice what I preach and be authentic and let people know what I've been through," the Bachelor in Paradise alum said. "When you can connect with the author of one of your favorite books, it can make you feel so much better."

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Johnson wrote the part memoir, part self-help roadmap last year. He would write down notes in the middle of the night or after a glass of wine when he "was able to be more vulnerable because if I thought the world was asleep, no one would hear my thoughts."

While noting he is "much more" than someone who just went on a dating show, Johnson hopes to connect with more of his fans over time. "I lived a life before and after the show, and I hope this book will give a great insight into who I am," he concluded.

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