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Maurice Benard Explains His Time Off From 'General Hospital'

Maurice Benard Explains His Time Off From ‘General Hospital’

Normally, General Hospital star Maurice Benard (Sonny) uses his State of Mind YouTube series to interview guests and bring awareness to mental health issues. However, his most recent episode focused on his own struggles with mental health.

Benard shared, “About a month ago, anxiety came knocking. I couldn’t identify the triggers, partly because I wasn’t attending therapy as I should. Plus, I was portraying a bipolar character on GH who was off his medication. I won’t say that was the main reason, but it may have contributed. The primary reason was that I began feeling anxious, and then my wife and son went to Europe.”

With his wife Paula and son Joshua on vacation, Benard was left to grapple with his issues alone. Thankfully, his daughters Cassidy and Cailey, along with friends, offered support. Yet, despite seeing various doctors, none could prescribe effective medication, and Benard began to worry about making it through the day.
Benard needed a break from the drama. ABC

“I knew I had to go to work, but I knew I couldn’t,” admitted Benard. He praised GH executive producer Frank Valentini for his understanding and support. “I took two weeks off work, and Frank was nothing but incredible every time we talked. If I had needed to stay away longer, they would have had to recast my role.

“And if I had to be recast, I’d have been in really bad shape,” he continued. “That could have meant someone better or as good as me stepping in, and I might never have come back. So, thank you, Frank, and GH, for your support.”

When his family returned from Europe, Benard opened up about his struggles and expressed a desire to enter a facility. However, after just one day there, he chose to return home and get back to work. The pressure kept building until he finally broke down.

“I went home, and Paula and Joshua were right beside me,” he remembered. “Paula asked, ‘What’s going on? Talk to me.’ I started ranting, crying, and yelling, saying, ‘I’m not a good father! I’m not a good husband! I feel like a failure. I hate that I have to put you guys through this all the time.’ At the end of my rant, Joshua looked at me and said, ‘Dad, that was a great monologue.’ That was the beginning of my recovery. Listen, people, don’t hold things in. If you need to cry or yell, let it out. That is a beast. Let that out.”

We’re glad Benard is feeling better because the thought of anyone else playing Sonny Corinthos is just unimaginable.

Source: Soaps In Depth