David Harbour is speaking candidly about his mental health. The Stranger Things star revealed in a new interview that he was once committed to a mental asylum after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 25.
“I really had, like, a bit of a break where I thought I was in connection to some sort of God that I wasn’t really in connection to. It was like I had all the answers suddenly,” Harbour, 43, recalled on the podcast WTF With Marc Maron on Monday, June 4. “The interesting thing about it was that I realized I don’t really need [drugs]. I have a capacity to see ‘the elves’ in the corners of the room if I really allow myself to go there. And so, I was actually — by my parents — taken into a mental asylum.”
The actor said he believes that people shouldn’t romanticize asylums. “[It’s] really not as fun as you think it is,” he said. “You do have a romantic idea of it … and it just ends up being sad and smells like s–t. … Crazy people are convinced they’re sane. It’s incredible.”
Harbour said he began taking medication after his diagnosis. “That’s actually when the drugs came in,” he explained. “I’ve been medicated bipolar for a long time. And I’ve had problems going on and off. I’ve had a struggle, going on and off the medications.”
Since then, the Emmy nominee has learned how to manage his disorder. “Generally, people are like, ‘I need to meditate more’ or ‘I need to get into yoga.’ And I need to, like, eat a cheeseburger and just, like, smoke cigarettes and hang out,” he said. “So if I write the self-help book, it’s going to be like, ‘Sit on the couch and play some video games.’”
Harbour, who plays police chief Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, recently finished filming the title role in the 2019 movie reboot of Hellboy.
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