“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour is opening up about his struggles with mental health.
Speaking candidly on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast, Harbour talks about dealing with anxiety, self-hatred, mania, fear, and sobriety, revealing he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 25 after being committed to a psychiatric clinic.
The 43-year-old actor says his early mental health issues were related to his preoccupation with spirituality.
“Here’s the interesting thing, which I’ve actually never truly spoken about publicly. I actually was in this Catholicism thing … and I was sober for like a year and a half, I was 25, and I actually did have a manic episode and I was diagnosed as bipolar,” he says.
Harbour says his spiritual “connection” was actually a mental breakdown.
“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,” he explains, adding that he didn’t need drugs to see “the elves in the corner of the room.”
It was then his parents brought him to a psychiatric facility.
“I have one thing to say about the mental asylum,” Harbour continues. “I’ve romanticized two things in my life and both have fallen short. One is being in a mental asylum. Really, really not as fun as you think it is. You do have a romantic idea of it … and it just ends up being sad and smells like s***. And the other thing was boating. I recently went out on a ship in open water, and I’d read Moby Dick a million times, and it really is not sexy. It’s very similar to the mental asylum experience.
“The only thing that defines a ‘crazy’ person and a ‘normal’ person — because you can seem very normal as a crazy person — is they’re convinced they’re sane. Crazy people are convinced they’re sane. It’s incredible.”
Harbour says he’s been medicated for his bipolar disorder for “a long time” and struggles with going on and off medications. Now, Harbour has discovered what works for him after a bipolar episode: “Eat a cheeseburger and just, like, smoke cigarettes and hang out.”
The actor encouraged his fellow bipolar sufferers who feel ashamed of their diagnosis or parents of a bipolar child to listen to his conversation with Maron.