WATCH: GH star Maurice Benard shares intimate details about his battle with bipolar disorder; "It feels like being in a nightmare and not being able to wake up."

Posted Friday, February 26, 2016 12:29:30 PM
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WATCH: GH star Maurice Benard shares intimate details about his battle with bipolar disorder

GH's Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) shares how bipolar disorder has led him to nervous breakdowns, fits of crying, breaking out of a mental health facility, and threatening to kill both his loved ones and himself.

If you think the experiences General Hospital's Sonny faces on a daily basis in Port Charles are dramatic, wait until you hear about the emotional real-life experiences Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos has faced as a person living with bipolar disorder.

The longtime GH actor, who first went public with his mental health issues on Oprah back in the 90s and is now playing a GH storyline that centers on the disorder, paid a special visit to The Dr. Oz Show to give fans an even more detailed look at how bipolar disorder has affected his everyday life. And it's not just the personal issues Benard opens up about that make the episode special: the actor braved his intense and debilitating fear of flying and boarded a plane for the second time in over ten years to make it to the interview with the show's host, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

After a personal video journal of the actor's emotional and anxiety-filled journey to New York aired, Benard took the stage for the interview and delved deep into his topsy-turvy past, revealing that his mental health issues caused him to become frighteningly violent with his own mother, landed him in a mental institution (from which he later secretly escaped), and led him to threaten to kill loved ones.

"The reason I didn't talk about it was because... a few people told me that if I tell people I'm bipolar, I'm not going to get hired as an actor, so I didn't speak about it for a while," Benard shares of going public with the personal problem. "And then I ended up doing a little article in a magazine, and I got a letter from a boy whose brother had taken a gun and killed himself, and he said that by reading what he read about me, it helped him get through his brother's death. So I decided that's more important than any directors hiring me. People need to know about these things, because people do die."

Benard himself has struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past, along with other frightening thoughts and actions he shares during the interview -- including becoming physically violent with his own mother, escaping a mental institution, and experiencing multiple nervous breakdowns and crying fits -- that eventually lead to his diagnosis.

As for what his nervous breakdowns feel like, the actor admits, "It feels like being in a nightmare and not being able to wake up. I see it as God and the devil fighting, and most of the time God wins, but sometimes the devil wins... and that's what it feels like, and you can't get out of the nightmare."

For Benard's entire interview, check out the video clips posted on The Dr. Oz Show's official website .

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