Like a number of other artists. J.K. Rowling has experienced depression. She wrote her first “Harry Potter” book to help overcome that depression.
In his article for Inc. magazine, Jeff Haden notes:
“Before she ‘became’ J.K. Rowling, Joanne Rowling was an unemployed single mother. She applied for welfare benefits to help take care of her 1-year-old daughter.
“She was clinically depressed and occasionally contemplated suicide.
“In her own words, she considered herself to be ‘poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.’
“Rowling later looked back on that time in her life and said she was ‘the biggest failure I knew.’
“During that same time frame, though, she finally finished her first novel. She submitted it to publishers.
“Twelve rejected it. The thirteenth publisher took a chance on her.”
He adds, “What decision did she make that changed her life? According to Rowling:
“I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me.
“Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged.
“I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea.
“And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
See more quotes by Rowling from her Commencement Address at Harvard University in article Failure and personal growth and achievement.
- Another article includes more about her life and overcoming self-doubt:
A 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” published by HBC Health solutions – ‘science-based solutions to emotional health, depression, and aging concerns’
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