Twenty years ago, "General Hospital" star Maurice Benard revealed he was bipolar. In a new memoir, he's opening up about one particular episode in which he was convinced that Michael Jackson was singing to him and that his friend's wife was the "devil."
In "Nothing General About It: How Love (and Lithium) Saved Me On and Off General Hospital," the soap star writes he was only a few weeks into playing Sonny Corinthos on "General Hospital" when he "began hearing voices when no one was in the room with me. I heard them on set, in the car, and at home."
At the time, Maurice had stopped taking his medication.
"I walked around the house and played Michael Jackson's song 'Man in the Mirror' over and over," he wrote. "I thought I had a unique connection to Michael Jackson because, off my meds, my mind convinced me that Michael Jackson was singing about me."
His wife, Paula, sensed something was wrong and called the doctor, who prescribed a tranquilizer. However, before she could get the actor to take it, he ran over to a neighbor's house. "Devil, get out!," he began shouting at the friend's wife.
"General Hospital" was sympathetic and gave him two weeks to recover. After that, he went back on his meds (lithium) and attended therapy.
Going back to work "was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life," he wrote. In fact, Maurice was so emotional on set that he said he wanted to quit the long-running show.
"They were the most gracious and kind producers in the world and that is something for which I will always be grateful," he said.
Maurice went on to win two Emmys and he hasn't had a breakdown like that since that day 27 years ago. He and Paula now share four children.
"I do wake up some mornings with that knot in my stomach, that dread for no apparent reason engulfing me, and I still fight the anxiety demon that I will most likely fight the rest of my life," he wrote. "It's a pain in my ass, but I've accepted that's just the way it is."