Stranger Things' David Harbour Has Opened Up About Being Admitted To A "Mental Asylum"

7 June 2018, 12:12

Stranger Things
Stranger Things. Picture: Jerod Harris/Getty Images // Netlfix

By Sam Prance

The award-winning actor discusses his experiences with bipolar disorder and alcohol addiction for the first time.

David Harbour may be best known for his critically acclaimed role as Chief Jim Hopper in Stranger Things but the beloved star has been acting for the past thirty years. The road to success hasn't been easy though. In a new interview with Marc Maron on the WTF podcast, the 43 year old opened up about his experiences with mental illness and alcoholism.

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Chatting to Marc about his life experiences and career to date, David revealed that he has been addicted to alcohol since he was in high school. Not only that but he has also been in a 12 step programme to combat it since his early twenties.

He also spoke about his mental illness. "Here's the interesting thing - something I've never truly spoken about publicly [...] I was 25, and I actually did have a manic episode. I was diagnosed as bipolar.” David's parents actually admitted him to a "mental asylum". Discussing his experience there, David said: "it just ends up being sad and smells like shit."

Since then the Brokeback Mountain actor has found ways to cope with his illness. "The weird thing about me is everybody thinks, generally, ‘I need to meditate more,’ ‘I need to like get into yoga,’ but it’s like, I need to eat a cheeseburger and just [...] hang out." He then added: "So if I write the self-help book it’s going to be like, ‘Sit on the couch and play some video games.'"

Of course the best coping mechanisms and treatments for mental illness vary for everyone. Just as meditation may not work for David, it's really effective for many others. Regardless, it's refreshing to see David be so candid about his experiences.

Taking to Twitter, the David shared the podcast with the caption: "With a lot of laughter and acknowledgment of how pedestrian it is to be a part of the tribe nowadays. If someone you love still suffers shame about a diagnosis, or a fellow parent worries that their bipolar kid won’t be able to make it, our [WTF Podcast] could soothe. Last 30mins".

What a man. We cannot wait to see him on Season 3 of Stranger Things later this year.