‘Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling: ‘I Considered Suicide’
by Kevin Caruso
J.K. Rowling, 42, author of the spectacularly successful “Harry Potter” books, said she suffered from severe depression and contemplated suicide when she was a single mother and a struggling writer in her 20s.
Rowling admitted that after separating from her first husband she became suicidal, but the thought of her daughter, Jessica, spurred her to get help. “The thing that made me go for help was probably my daughter,” she said. “She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, This isn't right; this can't be right. She cannot grow up with me in this state.”
But Rowling said she was “dismissed” when she did go for help – dismissed by a doctor who was temporarily replacing her regular doctor. Unbelievably, the stand-in doctor sent her away even though Rowling admitted to being suicidal. “If you ever feel a bit low, come back and speak to the practice nurse,” he told her.
The author was appalled: “We're talking suicidal thoughts here; we're not talking ‘I'm a bit miserable.’”
Fortunately, when her regular doctor returned, appropriate action was taken.
“Two weeks later, I had a call from my regular GP who looked back over the notes. She called me back in. She saved me,” Rowling said.
Acting on her doctor’s advice, Rowling started cognitive behavioral therapy; and after nine months she overcame her suicidal thoughts and depression.
Rowling is speaking out because she wants to fight the stigma associated with mental illness
– she believes that people should not be ashamed because of such illnesses. “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,” she said.
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