Actor Réal Andrews has had a successful career, with daytime roles that included Danny Guerra on Santa Barbara, Marcus Taggert on General Hospital, Hal Michaels on Days of our Lives, Walker Daniels on As the World Turns, and Agent Trumball on All My Children. Fans who watched the talented performer in his various roles likely had no idea that, behind the scenes, he was struggling with some very serious issues.
Andrews recently revealed to Soaps In Depth that, following three hip surgeries that caused him chronic pain, he became addicted to opioids and alcohol. And while the dark time was a nightmare, going through the recovery process and becoming sober helped him realize the underlying cause for his grief and addiction: a mental health disorder.
"I was having crazy, dark thoughts. Then it hit me one day that for the first time in my life, I'm not masking it with drugs, alcohol or anything like that. It was right there in my face!" he shares, adding that's when he decided to see a physician and "got officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder."
Now that he's receiving treatment, Andrews reports that he feels like a new man, and he wants to encourage others who are suffering with dark thoughts and mood swings to seek help.
"I want to be able to tell you that you're not alone," he says. "There's a big difference between being depressed, sad or having a bad day and suffering from this sickness. When you don't know where [those feelings] come from, you don't know how to stop them."
Andrews' journey of going public with his bipolar disorder diagnosis follows that of his former General Hospital costar Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos), who has also shared his struggles with bipolar and will be releasing a memoir detailing his health journey this spring.
For more from Andrews on his battles with addiction and bipolar disorder, check out his full Soaps In Depth interview here.
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