Country star Naomi Judd, 70, has a new memoir out called River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope, in which she reveals that she was so depressed she couldn’t leave her house for weeks, was so physically weakened she couldn’t walk up stairs, was hospitalized and seriously contemplated suicide. Judd discussed this in a recent appearance on Good Morning America which you can watch here. It got me choked up because she was so vulnerable and honest about everything she’s been through, including molestation by a great uncle at the age of three and a half. Naomi was very sensitive about her appearance and opened her interview with Robin Roberts explaining that she looks different because her face is swollen from the medication, which also makes her hands shake. She looked lovely to me. Here’s more of what she said:
On trying to keep it together for her fans
They think, because they see me in rhinestones, you know, with glitter in my hair, that really is who I am… But then I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks and not get outta my pajamas, not practice normal hygiene,” she added. “It was really bad.
Why she’s going public with her depression
“Because what I’ve been through is extreme. Because it was so deep and so completely debilitating and life-threatening and because I have processed and worked so hard for these last four years.
“If I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive.”
Naomi said that her youngest daughter, Ashley, lives a mile away and she’ll walk out to her house every day to visit. She’s somewhat estranged from daughter Wynona though, and explained that she had Wynona when she was just a teenager (she was 18) and that they had to do a lot of growing up together. Naomi’s husband for 27 years, Larry Strickland, was there too and he sounded supportive of her saying that people whose loved ones suffer from depression should “Get ready to walk that path with them.” Naomi’s treatment includes what she calls “radical self acceptance,” daily exercise and medication.
Naomi also has a new interview with People Magazine promoting her book. I found it poetic the way she explained depression, as if all the bad things which have ever happened to you were all on the same day. She said “Think of your very worst day of your whole life – someone passed away, you lost your job, you found out you were being betrayed, that your child had a rare disease – you can take all of those at once and put them together and that’s what depression feels like.”
I have mild to moderate depression which honestly had me somewhat despondent last week. At times I was sitting and staring into space. I try to distract myself by keeping busy, exercising somewhat obsessively, making to-do lists and playing mindless games like candy crush. (I know this sounds dumb but Demi Lovato has said this helps her too.) In no way is what I go through comparable to Naomi’s struggle and my heart goes out to her, I just have had a taste of something similar. It’s like the whole world is moving and you’re sitting there, wondering if anything you do makes any kind of difference.
My mom actually helped me a lot by coming over when I couldn’t get out of bed and listening. It’s sad that Naomi and Wynona are estranged but at least Ashley is nearby and can provide support, along with Naomi’s husband.
Photos of Wynona and Naomi are from October, 2015. Naomi is shown with her husband in October of this year. Photos credit: WENN, FameFlynet and GMA/Screenshots