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J.K. Rowling gets many, many messages from fans. But a particularly personal one got her attention on March 19.

"Dragging myself through another bout of severe depression and re-reading the 'Harry Potter' series to strengthen my Patronus," the fan wrote on Twitter, referencing the mystical, protective force that plays a key role in the series. "A million thanks to J.K. Rowling for the magical escape that's always there when it's needed."

Rowling, who often enjoys engaging readers online, was moved to reply.

Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images.


"Those stories saved their author, too," Rowling wrote. "Nothing makes me happier than to think that they went out into the world to do the same for other people. Keep that Patronus powerful."

A few minutes later, the author responded to another fan asking what other books Rowling has turned to when times get tough. "To tell you the truth," Rowling answered. "When I'm really stressed or overwhelmed I turn to biographies of people who've led turbulent lives. I find it soothing and inspiring to read about people who've endured and overcome."

Since living in the public eye, Rowling's been candid about her own struggles with mental illness.

In the years leading up to her "Harry Potter" success, a recently divorced Rowling was on the verge of homelessness, desperately trying to make ends meet for her and her young daughter. She felt like a failure.

"It’s difficult to describe to someone who’s never been there because [depression is] not sadness," Rowling once explained to Oprah Winfrey. "Sadness is not a bad thing — to cry and to feel. Depression is that really hollowed out feeling. And it was because of my daughter that I got help."

Rowling said her experiences with depression inspired the idea of Dementors in the "Harry Potter" series — dark, soul-sucking beings that drain their victims of all hope.

J.K. Rowling at a book signing in 1999. Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images.

Finding personalized ways to combat depression is key for many people living with the mental illness.

Self care is critical. And whether it's reading "Harry Potter" or biographies — or any other method to help you prioritize your own mental health — it matters.  

You deserve to keep your own Patronus powerful, too.

"I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed — never," Rowling once told a student journalist. "What’s there to be ashamed of?"

If you need help, don't suffer in silence. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or visit their website for more information.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.