Maurice Benard, Joshua James Benard

Image: Jill Johnson/JPI

The Emmy winner says that there have been “great lessons to be learned” from being cooped up with his family.

In his latest State of Mind video, General Hospital star Maurice Benard (Sonny) is joined by son Joshua to reveal how they’ve changed over the months that they, like so many of us, have been more or less holed up with their nearest and dearest. Before, says the actor, “I tried to keep [my anxiety] away from my children… [Then] we all had to be in the same house.

“So it was the first time that I was never able to hide, to run,” he continues, “so you had to see me go through the worst anxiety I’ve ever gone through.”

At first, Benard continued to attempt to shield Joshua and his sisters. “I was like hiding in the bedroom, and I’d come out, and we’d all act like no one’s seeing that I’m this shell of myself,” he recalls. “And it’s not healthy for you guys or for me.”

When finally Joshua did get a glimpse of his dad’s suffering, he was deeply moved. “I really wanted to talk to him, to help,” he says. “I don’t have anxiety, but I kind of related to it.”

Over time, the father/son team became closer than ever; Joshua even got as good as his mother at reaching Benard. He “became my second Paula,” says the dimpled don’s portrayer. “He was the one I could go to, and he would try to talk me down from the ledge [metaphorically].

“I’m very proud of what he did,” he adds. “And you grow from that.”

Now, Benard’s whole perspective has changed. “I want to show my son that it’s all right to cry,” he explains. “The more we try to not show it,” the worse it gets. So in the end, the moral of the story is: “Let people who love you see you in agony and pain because it’s only helping them and you.”

To watch the full video chat, in which Joshua shares what it’s been like growing up with a dad who’s bipolar and suffers from depression and anxiety, press PLAY on the video above. Then, if you’re looking for a little more inspiration, perhaps you’ll find it in the below photo gallery, which recounts some of the challenges Benard has overcome as Sonny.