My name is Maurice Bernard. I'm an actor on General Hospital and I have bipolar disorder. I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 21.
I just got into acting. It took a long time, but initially, they thought that it was alcohol, drugs, my brain. I spent about three days in the County Hospital
which is really rough because they had to strap me down, my wrist, my waste and my ankles because I was taking the IV out.
All I want to do is escape, but I got out of that hospital three days after I was in there. It was horrible in there. And then, they took me to a mental institution.
You know, I was Jack Nicholson from One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
because I was the normal one and everybody else was crazy. But still, there was something wrong with me. You know, I spent two and a half weeks in that institution
and it was rough. I had my 22nd birthday there and I ended up escaping that hospital. They let me out for my first walk and basically, I never looked back.
They called the cops to look for me and finally my buddy has picked me up, brought me home.
And my own dad took me to a psychiatrist who basically saved my life. I told him my story and he looked at me and he said, You're manic depressive.
So, wow great! Help, fix me. Before I started General Hospital, I never talked about it. I never let it out that I was bipolar.
What happened is I got this character named Sonny Corinthos, who is a mobster. "Give me a hug."
When I started this character, he was very dark and I was taught as a method actor to become somebody else.
Well, I couldn't tell the difference between Sonny and myself, so I'd be talking to my wife and she would say, Why'd you say that?
That's what we were rehearsing last night, I said. What, really? I don't know.
And then, I had a breakdown. I mean, it was very difficult, a very difficult one, so I quit. I quit GH. I quit acting completely.
I don't want to act, because I felt like acting was why I was going through this, but eventually everybody involved felt it would be better for me to go back to work.
So, I went back to work. Man, and I'm telling you. It was so difficult to act after having you know a manic episode.
I couldn't cover. I couldn't cover.
So, the hardest part for me being bipolar working here has been during the storyline where the character was having a breakdown,
because Sonny the character that I played eventually became bipolar.
From the moment I began playing this character Sonny, I made a choice to play him bipolar because he was so bad that I needed the audience to see where the pain came from.
And I knew that if they could tap into what Sonny was going through and what my real life is, it would be an incredible character eventually and they tapped into it.
Sonny, what are you doing?
I'm sorry. Are you okay?
Huh? I didn't -- I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
As the show went -- you know as years went on, you saw more and more of Sonny's bipolar. But now, he was verbalizing it as opposed to underneath playing it.
He's gone through a psychiatrist. So, it's -- you know the fact that we're able to do this, it's a beautiful thing I mean, no matter how you look at it.