Addiction, Mental Illness And More: 'Stranger Things' Star David Harbour Speaks About His Personal Challenges


June 8, 2018 15:00 By Fabiosa

Stranger Things actor David Harbour is a fan favorite, both on and off the show. When he’s not playing Chief Hopper, the ever friendly Harbour finds ways to put smiles on the faces of his fans. And most of the time, it takes only so much effort.


READ ALSO: David Harbour Agrees To Officiate A Fan's Wedding. However, There Are Some Conditions

Last October, one fan of the star shared a tweet asking, "How many retweets for you take my senior photos with me." His answer, "25k." The fan was a Damaris Fregoso, student from a California high school. And as luck would have it, she got the 25k likes and more.

As promised, Harbour showed up for the photoshoot and posed with Fregeso wearing a hoodie from the school team, complete with trombone. Fregeso was absolutely thrilled that he showed up and is sure to remember that picture for years to come.


A post shared by David Harbour (@dkharbour) on

Nevertheless, while he seems pretty put together in public, Harbour has had his own troubles in life. During a recent interview with comedian Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, Harbour revealed that he once spent some time at a mental institution and went through treatment for bipolar disorder.

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.

Harbour also faced the problem of drug addiction while dealing with the bipolar diagnosis.

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


A post shared by David Harbour (@dkharbour) on

READ ALSO: Depression And Bipolar Disorder: 5 Key Differences Between The Two Conditions

Harbor has a history of drug abuse and drinking. He says growing up was rough, and the challenges he faced as a teenager included battling self-esteem issues and insecurities.

[It] led me to a couple different outlets, one of which was drinking and then there was also this other outlet, where I would see people behave in certain ways and I wouldn't believe them. Like, they would say certain things, and I felt like they would mean something different. I just started to see subtext.


A post shared by David Harbour (@dkharbour) on

Eventually, he found solace in acting, and it remained his escape for all the years he has been active.

People were like, 'Haha, we're friends, we're friends! I love you!' And you'd just feel like you hate that person. And then, the question becomes, 'Why are you lying? Why do you have to lie?' ... I was so fascinated by why they make the choices that they do, why they lock themselves into situations that they seem to not like, why don't people live the way they want to, what it is that they're doing? That led me to acting.


Thankfully, Harbour has found a balance in his life now and his career was never better.

Signs to watch out for that suggest bipolar disorder

Approximately 2.6% of Americans are living with bipolar disorder. Many are unaware of their condition and continue to seek alternative means to alleviate signs and symptoms. In some cases, sufferers of the condition have trouble sleeping and may experience bizarre variations in their temperaments.

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Random bouts of depression are also a key sign that a person is bipolar. Also, some people confess that they feel detached from activity around them or cannot account for things they did or said in short or long periods of time.

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Severe cases see individuals nursing thoughts of suicide or death coupled with a lack of desire to engage in any kind of physical activity. It is advisable that individuals who show any of these symptoms seek medical attention as a matter of urgency.

READ ALSO: Bipolar Disorder: 16 Typical Symptoms To Look Out For