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Stranger Things Star David Harbour Opens Up About His Bipolar Condition

It’s not a topic that a lot of celebrities like to talk about, but one that is definitely on a lot of people’s minds. Stranger Things star David Harbour has said “being mentally ill is a natural condition of poverty”, while reflecting on his struggle with mental illness. The actor is best known for his portrayal of Jim Hopper in the Netflix science fiction drama series Stranger Things. Here’s what he has to say.

Speaking to the Big Issue magazine about his experience of living with bipolar disorder, Harbour said: “My particular big issue is what society would call mental illness. I was diagnosed at 26 as bipolar after an episode that landed me in an institution. I started to really get into talk therapy around the particular trauma, and I find that narrative and stories, dealing intellectually and emotionally with personal trauma, has been far more liberating to me than hospitals and drugs.”

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Stranger Things Star David Harbour Opens Up About His Bipolar Condition

He added: “I have definitely been in and out of the system. And there were times in my life where very easily I could have ended up on the streets, but I luckily had a family who could support me through those lean and very trying times.”

Prior to landing the role of Hopper in Stranger Things, Harbour had many acting roles but none that ever found him fame. He said: “I hit the age of 35 and in my mind, I’d been fairly successful. I could pay the rent on an apartment, have food on the table and I was very happy about that. The dream of being on a talk show was always the marker for me and I gave that up at 35.”

He continued, “And then it hit very hard a month after I hit 40. I remember going in and I was very upset because I still was in this place where I didn’t have any money, I was worrying about how I was going to pay my rent. I thought it was one of these situations, which you get a lot when you’re a journeyman actor where they’ve offered the role to a star. They’re just looking for a backup. I loved the script but I didn’t really invest very much in it.”

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