General Hospital’s Kirsten Storms Shares Her Mental-Health Struggle: ‘I Felt Alone in My Feelings for So Long’
“I am on a good medication regimen for the last few years.” But getting there was a harrowing journey.
During the April 3 edition of Maurice Benard’s State of Mind, General Hospital castmate Kirsten Storms spoke with admirable candidness. “I’ve experienced a lot of mental-health issues,” she said. “It was a really dark and bad time for me for a year and a half.”
Before being diagnosed with Bipolar I, the actress was prescribed a booster to enhance the effect of her antidepressant. “It turns out,” she explained, “that the the booster you are not supposed to give people with Bipolar I.”
The more Maxie’s portrayer read about bipolar disorder, the surer she became that that was what she had, not depression. Prior to finally being tested for it, “I felt alone in my feelings for so long,” she reflected.
Well-intentioned people would suggest that she try yoga or meditate… And “I do encourage people to try those things… [but] I knew deep down, it was in my brain to not allow myself to feel at peace.”
‘That Couldn’t Have Happened at a Worse Time’
Making a hard time even harder was that during this period, Storms developed cysts “on my face, on my body… ” she shared. “It’s still something I deal with. [But] it doesn’t surprise me [that it happened], because I was so upset in life that of course, it was gonna come through in my body also.
“That’s how severe my feelings were,” she added.
‘The Bipolar Diagnosis Flipped the Switch With Me’
Once Storms was diagnosed with Bipolar I, everything changed. First, “they cut me cold turkey. I threw up for a week,” she said. “They were probably worried about my state of mind.”
But it was likely one of the best things that ever happened to her. “Getting off what I was being prescribed and being put on this new medication, I felt like a normal person” again in two weeks, she marveled. “It’s weird to wake up and wanna make your bed in the morning and wanna take a shower and start your day.”
Having gone through what she has, “I do really think I could kick anything’s ass,” she said. “I have always been the type of person that operates well out of spite, and I felt the need to prove what was being said about me was not true and to find out why I was going through what I was…
“Now it’s known,” she added. And she hopes that by speaking out, perhaps she can help others.
Relive highlights of Maxie’s life in Port Charles via the below photo gallery.
Video: YouTube/State of Mind
<p>As soon as Frisco and Felicia Jones’ firstborn daughter hit adolescence, adolescence hit back — hard. Maxie (then Robyn Richards) got canned from her waitressing job at Kelly’s, was busted with booze, threw herself at boys in hopes of attaining popularity and nearly got Lulu killed while babysitting Luke and Laura Spencer’s little girl. (Somehow, Lulu then grew up so fast that she and Maxie became BFFs. But that’s a whole <em>other</em> story.) In retrospect, it was probably for the best that the trouble magnet eventually decided to lay low for a while and just advise kid sister Georgie on her relationship with Dillon Quartermaine. Wait, no — what could <em>possibly</em> be worse than Maxie doling out romantic guidance?</p>
<p>After being away from Port Charles for a spell, Maxie (now Kirsten Storms) returned and fell right into the arms of cop Jesse Beaudry. When he was killed in a Mob shootout — must’ve been a Tuesday — she leaned on his partner/her old crush, Lucky Spencer, and before long had convinced herself that Elizabeth Webber’s then-husband was in love with her. Mind you, what he <em>really</em> saw when he looked at Maxie wasn’t a soulmate but someone who could raid General Hospital’s medicine cabinet for pain pills to help him cope with his back injury.</p>
<p>For a while there, if there was a choice to be made, we could rely on Maxie to make the wrong one. For instance, following the Metro Court crisis, she didn’t enter therapy to deal with PTSD, she entered into a relationship with one of Jerry Jacks’ hired guns. As if that weren’t a dubious enough move, she then risked that romance by promising to sleep with his buddy — Scotty Baldwin’s first surprise son, Logan Hayes — if he seduced and then dumped then-nemesis Lulu (who obviously was no longer in need of a babysitter but not yet Maxie’s ride-or-die).</p>
<p>Fashionista Maxie was elated when she was hired as personal assistant to fancypants <em>Crimson</em> editor Kate Howard… until she found out that she’d be sharing the title with Lulu. (What with having a split personality and all, the erstwhile Connie Falconeri needed a <em>lot</em> of assisting.) Still, the future gal pals wouldn’t stop and ponder, “Why can’t we be friends?” In fact, Maxie went so far to stick it to Lulu that she made a…</p>
<p>When Mob moll Claudia Zacchara needed a femme fatale to entice away from Lulu her brother/son Johnny — “It’s complicated” doesn’t even <em>begin</em> to cover it! — Maxie fit the part as perfectly as her feet ever did in a pair of Louboutins. There was just one problem. As attracted as Maxie was to Johnny (played by Storms’ future ex-husband, Brandon Barash, now Jake on <em>Days of Our Lives</em>), she was also drawn to late sister Georgie’s last crush…</p>
<p>In the wake of Georgie’s murder at the hand of the Text-Message Killer — sad-face emoji! — Maxie had grown close to Damian Spinelli — heart emoji! And while neither of them were looking, their friendship blossomed into something much more. She feared that she wasn’t smart enough for him. He worried that he wasn’t handsome enough for her. But let’s be real: They were adorable together. And they might be married today, had he not overheard his fiancée admitting that she was only tying the knot because he wanted to and, in the sweetest way possible, called the whole thing off.</p>
<p>Though Maxie and Spinelli tried to keep their relationship going as non-husband and non-wife… eesh. The road was so bumpy, it might not even have qualified as a road. First, she cheated on him with artist Franco, at the time a psycho and not yet a Baldwin. Then, she tried to cheer Spinelli up after his bro Jason Morgan got himself thrown in the pokey by… Wait, <em>what</em>? Maxie tried to chase away Spinelli’s blues by making him see green over her flirtation with Matt Hunter (played by Storms’ former <em>Days of Our Lives</em> leading man, Jason Cook). Instead of perk up Spinelli, though, Maxie’s scheme only landed her in a dead-end relationship with the cute doc.</p>
<p>After Spinelli rejected Maxie’s next attempt at a reunion in order to stand by new love Ellie Trout, she threw herself into her role as a surrogate for Lulu — now a friend, not a foe — and her husband, Dante Falconeri. It did <em>not</em> go well. In the wake of a miscarriage that she kept to herself, Maxie became pregnant by a momentarily single Spinelli… who subsequently reconciled with Ellie. So Maxie decided to let Lulu and Dante go on believing that she was carrying their baby. When finally the truth came out, there were harsh words, a custody battle and, in the end, tearful goodbyes as Spinelli was awarded sole custody of the newborn that he renamed Georgie.</p>
<p>Following an <em>Eat Pray Love</em> kinda getaway, Maxie returned to Port Charles with a new boyfriend who turned out to be as deadly as he was annoying. He was just an obstacle, though, as it was obvious even before she left that sparks were flying between her and Nathan West, the PCPD detective to whom she sublet her apartment in her absence.</p>
<p>Maxie and Nathan had only just begun their life together when the honeymoon ended for the parents-to-be. Shortly after he learned that his biological father was none other than evil genius Cesar Faison, he was fatally shot by that same evil genius. So instead of baby James being welcomed into the world by his upstanding daddy, Maxie was helped through labor by his surprise half brother, Peter August. Their unexpected romance could’ve been a fresh start for the widow, were it not for the fact that he was…</p>
<p>Oh, Peter put on a good show for Maxie. Heck, for everyone. But the demon spawn of Faison and Alex Devane was a real chip off the ol’ block, leaving in his wake a path of death and destruction. (RIP, Franco.) Once Maxie’s eyes were <em>finally</em> opened to her fiancé’s true nature, she became so desperate to keep from him the baby she was carrying that she took pains to pull off…</p>
<p>Rather than let Peter get anywhere near daughter Louise, Maxie lied that the newborn had been abducted by his accomplice. In reality, however, Maxie had Brook Lynn Quartermaine pass off the tot as the child with whom she’d been pretending to be pregnant (for reasons altogether her own). It was a situation that was destined to blow up in spectacular fashion. The only question was when and… OMG, did Josslyn Jacks just overhear all that?!?</p>
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