General Hospital’s Maurice Benard has left devoted Sonny Corinthos fans in tears as he opens up over a traumatic time he had whilst in a mental health ward in hospital.
WARNING: Content of a disturbing nature ahead
Iconic actress Dedee Pfeiffer well-known for her popular role as Cybill’s daughter, Rachel, on the sitcom Cybill, has recently sat down with Maurice Benard. She joined the soap legend on his mental health-centric podcast, State of Mind. The actress currently plays Denise Brisbane on the hit ABC show, Big Sky, a role that she admits to Benard, “saved her life.”
Let’s take a look inside Benard and Pfeiffer’s recent discussion. They talked about ghosts, reincarnation, family, doing the upmost to afford acting classes, and most importantly, mental health…
Maurice Benard fans in tears as he opens up over time in hospital
Benard recently shared an Instagram promoting State Of Mind with a snippet of his episode with Dedee.
The General Hospital actor explained in the caption that: “This story took place at a time when bipolar was called manic depression.”
He continued: “I put my family through a lot, they didn’t know which way to turn. If we had the knowledge that we have now, it would’ve been a different story.”
When Maurice was 21 he was pretty much “tricked” into seeking help by his parents and brother as he was put into a mental institution. The actor recalls being tied down by his ankle, waist, and wrists in a “room with four walls” the actor then acknowledged that “they don’t tie you up like that anymore.”
Maurice Benard reveals he was trying to get out of the hospital room when he spotted a latch on the wall and held it to his wrist. However, he suddenly began praying, and he took the latch, snapped it, and made it into a cross to keep by his bed.
At that moment, he knew that whilst he was in so much pain, there was a reason that this was happening, he concludes “sure enough here we are today.”
Dedee then remarks she was worried the story was going to involve Benard wanting to use the latch as a way to self-harm. She warmly gestures to Benard that she is “glad you are here today, I’m glad you made it because it makes me really sad when I hear people going to light too soon…”
Inside Maurice Benard’s ‘unbearable’ mental health battle
Benard is a mental health advocate and often relies upon his own past struggles to help others. The soap star was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 22 and since his diagnosis, he has managed it with lithium, calling the prescription drug his personal “savior.”
Benard has been institutionalized twice for his conditions. He notes the pain he has faced is “unbearable”.
“Bipolar, anxiety, depression, whatever it is, it’s the unbearable pain that comes. That’s why you see people who commit suicide, or whatever it is because they don’t want to go through another day of it,” Benard told ABC.
Maurice also admitted it took him a while to come to terms with his diagnosis. The actor said he was even encouraged to keep it a secret from the public.
Maurice previously explained: “It took me four months, everything that I’ve done with mental health, four months to see a psychiatrist. And every day I had thoughts of not being here anymore. So it’s too — it’s too long. A day is too long.”
Thankfully, Benard no longer hides his mental illness.
He actually advocates for mental health not only through State Of Mind but on General Hospital too. To raise even more awareness for bipolar, Benard collaborated with General Hospital writers to incorporate his diagnosis into Sonny’s storyline.
Fans send their support
After hearing Maurice Benard open up over the difficult hospital experience, fans took to the comment section.
Many sent wishful blessings to the soap star for opening up continuously in a bid to help others.
One fan wrote: “Thank you, and God bless you for sharing your stories and doing this work. ❤️”
A second added: “So honest continued blessings ♥️🙏”
A third then penned: “Thank you for your openness and honesty, always helping with mental health awareness. You’re a blessing to all.”
Others admitted it was “heartbreaking” and one confessed it ‘made them cry’. There were many fans who, although didn’t have words to choose how to send support, simply sent hearts, prayer hands and crying emojis in response.
Dedee Pfeiffer opens up about alcoholism
Pfeiffer understands the mental health aspect of the podcast extremely well, this is something she and Benard visibly connected over. Interestingly, Dedee took a break from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood to focus on her higher education. During her ten-year hiatus, she earned her Master of Social Work Degree from UCLA.
The soap veteran is now using her platform to advocate for mental illness and homelessness.
Dedee spoke openly about her struggles with alcoholism and talks about being four years sober, which Benard found very inspiring. She also tells the stories of women she has worked with and the battles that addiction she has heard. These included losing custody of children because of undiagnosed issues.
Pfeiffer revealed that, sadly, these stories are no longer as rare. She then opened up over how many people she has tragically lost to addiction.
If you are affected by any issues raised in the article or would like someone to speak to, please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. You can also email them at [email protected] or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch in the UK. In the US, please visit Samaritans USA for more information.
You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Or text 741741 to get in touch with the Crisis Text Line. Americans can now call or text 988 to reach out and speak to a counselor.
You can also contact American Addiction Centers on (877) 686-7688. Or Talk To Frank on 0300 123 6600 in the UK.