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Still, Benard admits that he crossed the line during a climactic scene in the GH plotline. "By the end of it—and I've told people this—literally, as I was in the scene, my mom and dad were on the set. I felt I was hearing my mom and dad speak as the actors were speaking.

"So now, I've taken it too far," he says, reflecting on the moment. "Then I had an anxiety attack at the end of it. I thought I was having my fourth breakdown. So that was like 'Oh no, what have I done?'"

Benard was asked regularly, either by his wife, Paula Smith, or by Guza, whether he wanted to stop, whether the performance was stressing him out. "And I was like, ‘No let's go—I want to do it all.' But sometimes, you should just relax and not take it to an extreme."

Benard has been married for 17 years to Paula, with whom he has two daughters and a son. What really taxes his mental health is something that you don't need to have bipolar to understand. Just be a parent.

"Let me tell you something," he says. "There's a lot of stress to acting and it's very high here on a soap. You only get one take, etc., but I've been doing it for a while and it doesn't stress me out. But I had to stay up all night Saturday with my child because he was very sick and that … that's almost too stressful for me. It's weird, you know, I can do a four-page monologue in one take and as quickly as you want. But for me to be with my kid [who is] sick and [have] that kind of stress? My nerves … my wife is the opposite—she can do it every night. I do it one night, and I start to get a little frazzled."
FROM: Exclusive: Did Bipolar Disorder Drive a Mother to Kill Her Child?
Published on January 01, 2006

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