Maurice Benard finds purpose in sharing his ‘state of mind’

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Maurice Benard is doing well. Over his 30-plus years, he has been at the forefront of ABC’s “General Hospital” as Sonny his Corinthos. his family is good. His daughter Kaley is pregnant, and his son Joshua’s acting career is well on its way. The daytime Emmy-winning actor recently shared his YouTube series “State of The Heart of Maurice Benard” has exceeded 100,000 followers.

But Benard’s current outlook is particularly noteworthy as things took a dark turn early in the pandemic. The actor has written about his struggles with anxiety and bipolar disorder. lockdown was difficult And not having an anxiety-inducing, going-to-work routine made him depressed. He admits that he considered taking his own life, but he sees that “terrifying time” as a turning point.

“I looked in the mirror and said, ‘This is never going to happen again.’ “

Benard says he has the tools to catch himself when dark thoughts creep in, and the strategies to pull himself out. He has some days that are more difficult than others, but overall he is more Zen and social with others.Before, he was too anxious to even go to the supermarket. “I literally didn’t talk to anyone and had my head down. I was nervous. Now I’m like, ‘Hey! What are you doing? How are you doing? I used to watch him talk to him a lot and I was like, ‘I don’t know how you do that.

By helping others, he finds himself helping too. “My psychiatrist said ‘State of Mind’ is like therapy for you,” and it’s true. it has

Benard posted a new “State of Mind” episode on Sunday featuring one-on-one conversations with actors, doctors, and more, using honesty, humility, and even humor to explore personal struggles and coping mechanisms. work on.

He says he approaches the interview like a “first date” and records it in his room at home. ‘General Hospital’ fans will appreciate he’s taping episodes the current and past A cast member, but he also speaks to other daytime stars Eric Braeden and Melissa Claire Egan ‘The Young and the Restless’ film actor Frank Grillo, producer Todd Fisher, Eddie Fisher’s son, Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher’s brother.

Former co-star Sarah Joy Brown, who played Carly in “General Hospital,” said Benard “is the happiest person I’ve ever met.”

Brown recently appeared on “State of Mind” and admits she was nervous beforehand because she and Benard hadn’t seen each other in years. “Saying this out loud and sharing my pain and experience with Maurice has allowed others to see me in perhaps my most vulnerable moments.” Brown has since received “hundreds” of messages from people sharing their own stories of loss, which have healed. Today is better than before.”

Another former co-star, Tyler Christopher, was also stunned by how cathartic the experience was.

“I’ve never been so candid and sincere about my struggles,” Christopher said. I have no regrets either…he treated me with respect and never passed judgment, for which I am infinitely grateful.”

Viewers Sharon Bagozzi of Virginia Beach, Virginia appreciates the episode with the actor Taj Bellow ADHD, who talked about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Bagozzi recognized the similarities to herself and called her doctor.

“It’s amazing what he does. He has touched on many topics that have impacted my life.

Benard has been outspoken about mental illness for decades.Before Selena Gomez, Naomi Osaka again Simone Biles Benard appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004 to talk about his struggles.

“When I did ‘Oprah,’ I thought it was going to be that time, but it wasn’t,” Benard said. ) are everywhere. We still need to grow, but we are much better since the pandemic. I only watch commercials on TV. They are all over and I have them all. I have bipolar I, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, it’s all. It’s a joke that I always say, “Oh, that’s me, that’s me.”

He also published a memoir, Nothing Common About It: How Love (And Lithium) Saved General Hospital On And Off, in 2020, which became a New York Times bestseller. became.

Benard, who promotes and edits the show himself, enlists his wife Paula, a talent manager and agent, to help with the booking. He wants to talk to athletes, hire people to help with productions, and do street style interviews outdoors with everyday people.

He spends much of his spare time producing and promoting State of Mind, engaging with his fans on social media and posting silly videos to entertain them.

“My family sat me down like an intervention. No joke. They asked, ‘Do you think you’re addicted to social media?’ And I said, ‘I’m obsessed. I’m not really sure if it’s an addiction. I overdo it, and my son said, ‘Can you do it for a week?

Benard hasn’t worked on that issue yet, but he’s working on it.