He was admitted into intensive care after contracting a serious blood infection while filming for 2004 rom-com Along Came Polly.
And Bryan Brown has now revealed his new film Palm Beach was inspired by his ongoing battle with ‘crippling anxiety’ – initially sparked by the troubling diagnosis he received 15 years ago.
The actor, 72, explained to Stellar magazine that he saw the opportunity to create a film targeting the older generation and their ‘struggles’ with mental health, thanks to his own personal experience.
Inspired: Bryan Brown says his new film Palm Beach was inspired by his ongoing battle with ‘crippling anxiety’ that was initially sparked by him contracting a blood infection 15 years ago
During a Christmas spent overseas with a group of friends, Bryan realised that he wasn’t alone and that most of his male pals were all ‘dealing with something’.
He said: ‘You know with friends you’re always laughing and joking and you talk a bit about what’s going on… I came away knowing that everyone was dealing with something.’
In his case, it was his battle with anxiety that was initially brought on by his hospital dash several years ago.
Upcoming release: Palm Beach, directed by Bryan’s wife Rachel Ward, essentially follows a group of lifelong friends who head away for a reunion, but all doesn’t go to plan when secrets are eventually revealed
Bryan explained he became anxious over the same situation happening again and would constantly worry about not being near a hospital when he was travelling.
Candid: The actor, 72, opens up about his mental health in the new issue of Stellar
‘Once you start to build up anxiety, other things can trigger it that you get worried about… something was happening to me,’ he recalled.
While doctors were initially unable to diagnose the Thorn Birds star, he sought out the help of a psychologist, with encouragement from his daughter Matilda.
But, Bryan pointed out his anxiety didn’t just go away following his diagnosis and he has had to learn how to tackle it head on, in order to overcome it.
That, and being spurred on by his male friends and their own concerns, led to Brown creating upcoming movie Palm Beach – also starring Richard E. Grant and Heather Mitchell.
He realised that there was an opportunity to create a film highlighting the personal struggles older generations face while they are travelling.
Bryan also wanted to debunk myths the older generation always find it ‘easy’ when they travel.
The movie essentially follows a group of lifelong friends who head to Palm Beach for a reunion, but all doesn’t go to plan when secrets are eventually revealed.
Palm Beach is directed by Bryan’s wife Rachel Ward and is scheduled for release next month on 8 August.
Creative: During a Christmas spent overseas with a group of friends, Bryan realised he wasn’t alone in his personal struggles and that most of his male pals were all ‘dealing with something’ – essentially forming the idea for Palm Beach