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Stranger Things Actor Talks About Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

Stranger Things Actor Talks About Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

“Mornings are for coffee and contemplation” has become a cult mantra for Hopper lovers, the character Jim Hopper regularly quips to his secretary on the runaway hit show Stranger Things. On the show, Hopper is revealed to have a painful past and struggles with it in the present. Off screen, actor David Harbour who brings Hopper to life, knows the struggle of mental illness personally.

At the age of 25, Harbour had been sober for a year and a half. Talking to the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, Harbour explains he had a manic episode during a religious time in his life. “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,” he described. “It was like I had all the answers, suddenly.” Worried about his mental health, Harbour’s parents took him to a mental asylum for a period of time. There, Harbour was officially given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Harbour explained a difficulty experience by many individuals who receive prescription medication treatments for bipolar disorder: staying on medication. “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.”

Mania is different for each individual who lives with bipolar. How one person experiences mania may be completely unique compared to another. For Harbour, mania is associated with spiritual inquisition. “…the minute I get close to that—what I consider a flame—of, like, ‘the answers’ and the mysticism, and I’m completely ‘present,’ it’s like I’m out of my mind.”

Though symptoms of mental illness are shared, for example mania being part of bipolar, the details of mental illness vary for each person. Likewise, recovery from mental illness will not be the same from one person to the next. Some may find solace and guidance in spirituality while others, like Harbour, need to distance themselves from certain spiritual explorations which can trigger mania. Bipolar disorder is frequently co-occurring with addiction or alcoholism, making it important for some to stay away from drugs and alcohol as well.

The Center for Professional Recovery offers the Professional Treatment Program, designed specifically to address the unique needs of professionals, like first-responders. Our programs are designed to treat co-occurring disorders which might arise and restore first-responders in a way which allows them to return to work and continue taking care of their mental health. For information on our full continuum of care for professionals, call us today: (855) 422-4129


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