Alan Ritchson Recalls Overcoming Past Suicide Attempt and How His Bipolar Disorder 'Wreaked Havoc on My Life'

“My wife and kids were concerned, and I could see confusion in their eyes. Nobody knew what was wrong,” the ‘Reacher’ star, 41, recalled

<p>Peru Williams/Variety via Getty</p> Alan Ritchson

Peru Williams/Variety via Getty

Alan Ritchson

Alan Ritchson is reflecting on the mental health breakdown he had a few years ago, referring to it as his “existential crisis.”

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Reacher star, 41, opened up about getting back on his feet after a suicide attempt in 2019. The actor said that he found himself in a dark place around the time he was in postproduction on Dark Web: Cicada 3301, which he co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in. His mental health declined so much that he ended up being “stuck in bed for weeks.”

“My wife and kids were concerned, and I could see confusion in their eyes. Nobody knew what was wrong,” he told the outlet, revealing that it got so bad that he went into his attic to end his life. “I hung myself. It all happened so fast, and I was dangling there.”

What saved his life was a vision of his sons — who are now 11, 10 and 8 years old — from the future in their mid-30s. In the vision, Ritchson said his boys “calmly asked me not to do it, and told me that they wanted me to be here, alive and part of their lives.”

At that point, Ritchson said he was able to pull himself up before he blacked out. He called a doctor immediately.

“I was diagnosed as bipolar right after,” he said, receiving the diagnosis at age 36. The actor was also later diagnosed with ADHD at age 40. “Deep down, I was comforted to know, ‘OK, there’s a name for this.’”

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<p>Julia Johnson</p> Alan Ritchson for The Hollywood Reporter

Julia Johnson

Alan Ritchson for The Hollywood Reporter

Related: Reacher's Alan Ritchson on How His Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Make Him 'Almost Obsessive' About His Work

Ritchson told THR that after a few dark months, his friend encouraged him to try MDMA, the designer drug popularly known as Ecstasy.

“I had never done drugs but I was truly, like, ‘Well, I might kill myself tomorrow, what do I have to lose?’ So, I did it. I swear to God, the biggest light bulb went off, and it rewired my brain in the best way,” he said. “MDMA is a proven therapy to treat PTSD in veterans, and it’s something that can work in cognitive therapy settings.”

“I loved it and wanted to do it every day,” he continued. “But, for me, for a year or two, it became like therapy. It allowed me to write and be productive. Thankfully, I was able to move past it.”

Ritchson said he was luckily able to stop taking the drug and find better ways to help his mental health, finding his purpose in life.

“I came out of that whole thing asking myself, ‘OK, if I am going to choose to be alive here — a decision we all make, some to a greater degree than others — what am I doing? Why am I here?’” he recalled. “What I kept falling back on was the meaning and purpose of life as someone who believes that there is a creator and we are created beings, our purpose in life is, without qualification, to make the world a better place and serve others. That is what life is all about.”

“Being bipolar has wreaked havoc on my life many, many times. I would wish it away if I could, but it’s so much a part of who I am now that I should celebrate it a little or, at least, accept it,” Ritchson told the outlet.

“Mental health is an everyday conversation for me,” he added.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to

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