David Harbour has learnt to manage his bipolar disorder. Picture: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
David Harbour has learnt to manage his bipolar disorder. Picture: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

'Stranger Things' star says acting helps him manage his bipolar

By Bang Showbiz Time of article published Oct 15, 2019

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David Harbour says acting is his "lifeline" when it comes to managing his bipolar disorder.

The "Stranger Things" star - who has spent time in a mental asylum - has admitted he relies heavily on his creative work to keep him from ascending into "madness".

Speaking on the "Blank Podcast", he said: “First of all, the interesting thing about my own particular brand of it is that I never have an episode when I’m working.

“So, in some way I’ve generally been able to see a link between my own creative energies when they are channelled into some kind of work form and that when they are not channelled that it goes off into some kind of madness.

“In that way, it has made working even more vital to me. It’s kind of a lifeline.”

The 44-year-old star also benefits from regular therapy sessions. He added: “There are also these intangibles, things that actually keep us alive.

“To me, talk therapy is really important, and acting.

"It’s important for me to be an artist, and I think if I wasn’t an artist I’d be a lot worse off and has made work more vital.”

David's parents sent him to a psychiatric hospital when he became convinced that he was connected to "some sort of God" in his mid-20s.

Speaking last year, he said: "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. And I have to say one thing about the mental asylum...really, really not as fun as you think it is. You do have a romantic idea... and it just ends up being sad and smells like s**t. 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's really not sexy, it's horrible. It's very similar to the mental asylum experience.

"Have you ever been to a mental asylum? The only thing that defines a 'crazy' person and a 'normal' person... is they're convinced they're sane. Crazy people are convinced they're sane, like, 'I'm the only one that gets it.' It's incredible."

The "Hellboy" star has admitted his mental health plummeted when he beat his alcohol addiction but, although he turned to booze, he's never been interested in trying drugs.

He explained: "I realised that I don't really need them (drugs), that I have a capacity to see the elves in the corners of my room if I really allow myself to go there."

After he spent some time in the asylum, doctors diagnosed him with bipolar and he's since been on multiple medications to try and balance out the chemicals.

He said: "That's actually when the drugs came in. I've had a struggle, going on and off the medications.”

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