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Review: Maurice Benard shares his ways of coping with anxiety and depression

Actor Maurice Benard shared his ways of coping with anxiety and depression.

Maurice Benard on 'General Hospital'
Maurice Benard on 'General Hospital.' Photo Credit: ABC, Craig Sjodin
Maurice Benard on 'General Hospital.' Photo Credit: ABC, Craig Sjodin

Actor Maurice Benard shared his ways of coping with anxiety and depression.

Known for his acting work on the ABC daytime drama “General Hospital,” Benard is a mental health advocate, and he hosts his MB “State of Mind” weekly podcast on mental health.

Benard has been battling bi-polar disorder for a big part of his life, and he is the author of the memoir “Nothing General About It,” where he discusses his struggles with mental illness.

Normally, Benard features actor or celebrity guests each week on his podcast, but this time, it was him solo walking his audience through that challenging time in his life during the shutdown.

Life for Maurice Benard during the pandemic

In his latest “State of Mind” episode, he recalled his time during the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when his anxiety and depression left him crippled. “If you don’t know what anxiety, depression, or a manic episode is, you can’t really understand it,” he said.

“It’s a feeling of being so uncomfortable in your own body, where your mind and thoughts are taking you over, and you can’t stop it,” he explained.

His ways to cope with anxiety and depression

Some things that have helped him including talking to people over the phone, as well as going to YouTube each morning and listening to Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, both of which helped him “get through.”

“If you feel like running away getting betting out of bed, stay in that uncomfortable feeling, and it will become comfortable. I know it’s really difficult but you need to accept that you are feeling and not run away or deny it. Live in it, and be a champion,” he said.

Other things that have helped him cope include such distractions as spending time in nature, walking, being around family (his wife, children, and grandkids). “It truly does help me out and so does nature, as well as watching animals,” he said.

The importance of having distractions

“When you are going through anxiety or depression, it helps to have distractions… you have to stop thinking about the terror. That may be very difficult to do (to stop thinking about the terror because your mind keeps going through the worst), but nature fills me up,” Benard elaborated.

“I also did yoga, meditation, working out, and watching ball games… those are the solutions,” he added, prior to noting that people can also seek psychiatric and medical help (to help them through mental health issues).

He acknowledged that watching a baseball game helped him focus on the actual game and not focus on the fear that he had. “That made me feel a little better,” he said.

This entire informed conversation may be heard below.

Even in his darkest times during the pandemic, when he didn’t think he was going to get through it, he was able to overcome the terror inside of him with the help of his family and with professional help.

Sending a message of hope

“I want you to know that you can get through it,” Benard underscored, as the positive message that he has for fans and viewers that are battling anxiety and depression.

When he had suicidal ideation, he would pray a lot, and he would remind people that “we have more strength than we know.”

“Let me tell you something, nobody is more fragile than I am, in that state of mind… I am still standing and I got through it. Eventually, I went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed medication, which basically saved my life,” he said.

“Did I think, at that time, that my life was going to do this? Never. No matter how difficult your life is right now, no matter what you are going through, please know that it will pass and you will get through it, and you will be rewarded,” he said, prior to including the phone number (988), which is the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline number.

Over time though, he noticed that by getting the right help (and having adequate support from family and friends), his panic attacks weren’t as severe, and they were more manageable. “

“I did what I needed to do and I got through it really fast,” he said about a panic attack that he recently had a few weeks ago. “I’ve fought Freddy Krueger six times now, and I’ve won,” he said with a sweet laugh.

“Now, I am more confident that if it happens again, I can get through it,” he added.

The silver lining for Benard during the pandemic

In fact, one of the silver linings during the COVID-19 pandemic for Benard was the genesis of his “State of Mind” podcast, which has been making a positive impact on many viewers lives, especially anyone battling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.

He has been using his platform consistently as a vehicle to raise awareness on mental health.

“After the shutdown, I went back to work on ‘General Hospital,’ and my life has changed because you get rewarded for the suffering. If you can imagine what my life has gone through the last two years, it’s unreal. I won two more Emmy Awards, I started my podcast, and I had a New York Times-bestselling book, and all of that is after the pandemic happened,” he remarked.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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