World Health Day – Writers with Depression

It’s World Health Day today (Friday April 7th) and this year’s theme is Depression.

Depression is the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. –

Key facts

  • Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
  • More women are affected by depression than men.
  • At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
  • There are effective treatments for depression.

While doing research for this post I noticed there seems to be a conception that authors are prone to depression. I have no idea if this is true or not but if you’re interested in reading more on the subject here is an article from Everyday Health .

Depression is a very serious condition that not a lot of people understand and are often surprised when they discover someone suffers from it. Here is a list of authors that have reportedly endured this condition.

Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath

If you’ve read anything by Plath it was probably evident that she suffered from depression. It was a major element of her writing and believed to have led to her death.

“I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems

J.K. Rowling J.K. Rowling

It may be surprising to some that Rowling has suffered from depression. Prior to her Harry Potter success things were not going well for Rowling. She created the dementors in Harry Potter to show how depression feels.

“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced…It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.” – J.K. Rowling

Marian Keyes Marian Keyes

Another one that may be surprising to some (since her books are so joyful). During her depression Keyes contemplated suicide saying (in an interview with the independent) that she resented her family because their support prevented her from doing so.

“I was shocked by it, I really was. Because you have this image of a depressed person as sitting beside a window, quietly, looking out at the rain, as a little tear trickles down their face and that’s not what it was.

“It wasn’t like that for me; I was crazed with fear,” – Marian Keyes

F. Scott Fitzgerald F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald suffered from alcoholism which is believed to have led to his depressive state.

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Stephen King Stephen King

King suffered from alcohol and drug abuse. Apparently attempting to self-medicate for his depression.

“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
Stephen King

Anne Rice Anne Rice

Rice endured a deep depression after the loss of her young daughter to leukaemia. Luckily for Rice, she found solace in her writing leading to her very successful Vampire Chronicles series.

“You do have a story inside you; it lies articulate and waiting to be written — behind your silence and your suffering.”
Anne Rice

For more information on depression please visit World Health Organisation.


Everyday Health





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