5 Times J.K. Rowling Got Real About Depression

J.K. Rowling is best known for her beloved Harry Potter series, but there’s a side to her that some Muggles might not know about. Rowling, then in her 20s, wrote the first book in the series while caring for her newborn daughter and dealing with the aftermath of her recent divorce. She also dealt with depression during this time and experienced suicidal thoughts. It was difficult for Rowling to adjust to her worldwide attention, but she’s since told The Guardian that she’s now disengaged from the pressure.

Rowling has been vocal about her mental illness. In May, the author responded to a tweet from a fan about failure. “This may get lost in the noise…” the fan’s tweet read. “But what wold you say to someone who has failed to find meaning and wants to finally give up?” Rowling first responded with a few photos:

Then Rowling really opened up, writing: “And I’d say, the world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.”

We’re always grateful when people in the spotlight don’t shy away from discussing difficult issues. Below are four other times Rowling was candid about her depression. We hope, if anything, her words can help someone struggling realize they are not alone.

1. “It’s so difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of felling — that really hollowed-out feeling.” — J.K. Rowling

png (1)

2. “Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced… Sad hurts, but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.” — J.K. Rowling


3. “[My depression] was characterized by a numbness, a coldness and an inability to believe you will feel happy again. All the color drained out of life.” — J.K. Rowling


4. “I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. What’s there to be ashamed of? I went through a really tough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that.” — J.K. Rowling


If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.



Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

man in suit smiling

I Thought I Was Too Much of a 'Man' to Ask for Help

I didn’t ask for help. I couldn’t. An independent man doesn’t need help. A real man doesn’t call for or accept help. I couldn’t believe there was anything in my life I couldn’t do alone. Mistakes were equally unacceptable and I demanded perfection of myself. Too heavy to lift? Watch me. I didn’t need anybody [...]

To the Parents and Step Parents With a Mental Illness

Parenting is perhaps the most difficult journey most of us will ever embark upon. Step-parenting adds a degree of difficulty often under-appreciated and certainly overlooked in the annals of modern parenting. Step-parenting with a mental illness is akin to herding cats blindfolded in a rain storm amid an avalanche of catnip infused yarn balls during [...]

To the Husband With the Wife Who Has Depression

Dear Husband, I love you dearly, more than anything in this whole world. I think you already know this. I know you love me too, I just forget sometimes. Depression clouds my mind and fills me with horrid thoughts about how unlovable and worthless I am. Sometimes I believe you, sometimes I believe depression. I know you [...]
girl's eyes looking up

My Chronic Illness Just Happens to Be in My Head

I have a mental illness. Saying that makes me cringe. It’s such an ugly phrase, “mental illness.” And “mentally ill” is even worse. Those terms conjure up unwanted imagery, none of which applies to me. At all. I’m not crazy. I’m not violent, scary or a threat to others. I’m not drugged out and loopy on [...]