J.K. Rowling on Writing and Depression

J.K. RowlingA catastrophic marriage

Depression hit Rowling when her first marriage to a television journalist broke down after just two years.

She had moved to Portugal to teach English and gave birth to her first daughter Jessica.

She said: “I’d had a short and quite catastrophic marriage. I had to get my baby back to Britain and re-build us a life and adrenaline kept me going.

“It was only when I came to rest it hit me what a complete mess I had made of my life. That hit me quite hard. We were as skint as you can be without being homeless and at that point I was definitely clinically depressed.

“That was characterized by a numbness, a coldness and an inability to believe you will feel happy again. All the color drained out of life.”

Afraid for her daughter

Rowling hit an all-time low when she convinced herself something awful was destined to happen to her two-year-old daughter. She said: “I loved Jessica very very much and was terrified something was going to happen to her.

“I’d gone into that very depressive mind set where everything has gone wrong so this one good thing in my life will now go wrong as well.

“It was almost a surprise to me every morning that she was still alive. I kept expecting her to die. It was a bad bad time.”

Revisiting the scene film crews took Rowling back to the flat a few miles from Edinburgh where she overcame depression by writing first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Where the healing began

Tears began to flow as she walked into the small lounge room where she first put pen to paper.

She said: “This is really where I turned my life around completely. My life changed so much in this flat. I feel I really became myself here. Everything was stripped away. I’d made such a mess of things.

“I just thought I want to write so I wrote the book. What was the worst that could happen? It could get turned down by every publisher in Britain. Big deal.”

From article: J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and Depression.

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Nurturing mental health : writing

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9 comments

  1. Wow, I felt the same, single parent, afraid my daughter would die…because everything in my life had gone wrong up to that point and I was a failure. I also thought I was brain damaged! Long term depression is so harsh! I was like “Is this really my life?” I am just coming back to writing because it is the only thing I can think of I could ever feel accomplished about, my only chance for redemption. Its the thing that has always been with me even when I haven’t sought it out. So I made the commitment to write every day, write my stories, join a writing group. Rowling is an inspiration to me. I am reading all the Harry Potter books to my daughter. After each book we watch the movie. We are just about to finish The Order of the Phoenix. And I am going to be Snape for Halloween! I had been wanting to be a man this year, and I have really begun to like Snape 🙂 My mother is going as Voldemort and my daughter as Hermione!

  2. What?s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & assist other users like its aided me. Great job.

  3. I can totally appreciate what Ms. Rowling said. I used to be a creative writer and was not bad, especially pertaining to school projects that involved writing. I have just started writing again, after many years with no writing whatsoever. This is therapeutic writing, to help me get through depression. It is too soon to tell if it will help, but I am relieved to hear that Ms. Rowling found writing to be helpful. I hope that will be the same for me too. Thank you again for giving me some hope.

  4. Sorry to hear how depressed Miss Rowling was.
    Especially with regard to her daughter.
    Depression is not nice, it’s awful.
    I’m a writer, I’m not clinically depressed although I was when my Mother died.
    I had gone quite soon from leaving an abusive husband to caring for my Mother full-time as the only care giver. I did it for twelve years until her death. During that time I didn’t date or anything–hence the depression as I had careved out no life for myself.
    I did however turn once again to writing seriously. Went to workshops, worked, and met my second husband. And am happily married.
    The funny thing is now, hard at work on a crime novel–I go from feeling terrific about it (after a full day of writing) to finding myself very near to feeling depressed.
    It’s painful and awful. It’s not depression but it’s close.
    Enough about me–just want to comment about Miss Rowling, you are not only a gifted writer, you have been so brave and so honest in sharing this painful episode in your life and I can’t tell you how very much I admire you for that.
    Hats off to you, what an example you set!

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