Savannah Chrisley Calls Brutal Boot Camp a ‘Gift’ That Gave Her ‘Time to Process’ Family Trauma (Exclusive)

Savannah Chrisley learned her limit on Monday’s episode of Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test.

“I didn’t realize how tough emotionally it would be,” the Chrisley Knows Best alum, 26, tells PEOPLE of her decision to withdraw from the boot camp-style competition. “The whole thing was tough, and just being away from the kids was the toughest thing.”

Chrisley took custody of her brother Grayson and her niece Chloe after her parents Todd and Julie reported to federal prison where they were originally sentenced to a combined 19 years for tax evasion and fraud. Their sentences have since been reduced.

“We have experienced so much loss in the last year, and not having mom and dad home, we’ve created our own little safe place and we are what each other turns to,” Chrisley says. “When I was there, I got to a point where I wasn’t prepared for being away from them.”

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Chrisley dropped out ahead of the evening challenge, which included trust falling from an elevated platform into a lake. “I’m not doing this,” she said to one of the directing staff members on Monday’s episode. “I’m not going to put myself in a situation where I know I’m not mentally there. And I just don’t want to be wet again.”

The reality star told PEOPLE she doesn’t “do well being cold.”

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Earlier in the season, another challenge made her physically sick, and Chrisley quips to PEOPLE: “Throwing up on national television, I was like, ‘Dear God, you did not pay me enough for that.'”

Despite leaving on the third day of competition, Chrisley says she learned a lot by participating in Special Forces.

“I think this experience came along at the perfect time because I had been just being mom, dad, sister, friend for like 24/7, and I had not gotten a break for myself,” she says. “And going into it, I was like, ‘All right, so I finally get five minutes to myself.’ That was such a gift because it gave me time to process some things that I had been holding off on because I had been so focused on the kids.”

Savannah Chrisley/ Instagram

Special Forces showed Chrisley something else about herself too.

“I’ve always been such a perfectionist and this whole experience taught me that it’s OK to fail at certain things,” she says. “As long as you show up, sometimes that’s enough. You don’t have to be perfect.”

Chrisley would’ve liked to push through and continue on Special Forces “because I am so competitive,” she says. “But at the same time I was like, ‘OK, I am ready to get home to the kids. I miss them so much.’ I was so worried about them, and I was just ready to get home.”

At the start of Monday’s episode, actor Brian Austin Green and former NBA star Robert Corry also voluntarily withdrew.

“Brian Austin Green, we cut up so much,” Chrisley says. “The cast was amazing and for that, I’m grateful. I left with relationships. We still text. We check in. If they’re here, I’m there. We’ll grab lunch or dinner, whatever it may be. That made it all worth it.”

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Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

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