Naomi Judd’s battle with depression: it feels like your worst days put together

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.”

[From Good Morning America]

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.

Pet Hero Awards In NYC

Wynonna and Naomi Judd arrive at The Venetian


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

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

27 Responses to “Naomi Judd’s battle with depression: it feels like your worst days put together”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. JudyK says:

    Her husband is SO handsome. WTH has she done to her face!!!

    • Wilma says:

      Ugh, that’s what you chose to say after reading this article?

    • keyyoh says:

      It’s her medication. Next time, please read the article instead of just looking at the photos.

    • Grant says:

      She said it was swollen from her medications.

    • Karen says:

      Didn’t you read right at the top that she said her face was swollen from the medication? Antidepressants help with the drepression but mess with your body and physical appearance. I was on antidepressants and they made me gain 20 pounds. Weight gain is one of the side effects. So are swelling of the face, eyes and throat.

    • Snowflake says:

      It says in the article. Her face is swollen from her medication and it makes her hands shame.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        And even if it was from surgery, a woman opens about her mental issues, part of which was body image, and the first comment shames her looks? What a world we live in.

      • JudyK says:

        Apology. I did not read the article, which is a first for me. After reading the above article, I am very embarrassed and ashamed that I made such a statement.

    • Heather H says:

      To be fair she has had a TON of plastic surgery and I think we were all asking this question years ago, regardless of what her medications may be doing to her now.

      • Oliviajoy says:

        I agree. While I’m sure the medication does make her very swollen it still looks like she had a face-lift very recently. I didn’t even recognize her.

    • Margo S. says:

      I knew a girl in high school. So beautiful and very very sweet. Afterwards she was diagnosed with manic depression and went on Ned’s and she literally gained 35 pounds (on a 5ft girl). So sad because the pills really can help people get through hard times, but they completely change your physical appearance. It’s like what do you do? Not take the pills and risk death?

    • teehee says:

      I think the docs always prescribe extreme doses and thats what leads to the side effects. I can get by on literally 1/100 of the dose of an SNRI and be just fine, I cannot at all for the life of me imagine being put on the extreme dose that is prescribed to start with. Yes each person is different but still, we’re talking wayyyy big difference in the amount to take…. the drug companies want to sell-!!

      • Belle Epoch says:

        Teehee – you are very fortunate! Some people DO need the higher doses and it has nothing to do with Big Pharma. For the love of God, please don’t add to any sick person’s problems by telling them their medication dosages are actually part of a conspiracy theory against them. Maybe you just need a better doctor.

    • Pandy says:

      Oh come on everyone. It’s a gossip site! And she looks terrible. Her meds might have swelled her face but she allowed someone to put that clown make up on. She looks like a kewpie doll.

      • Wilma says:

        Yes, it is a gossip site, but with news like this – where people usually share their own experiences in the comments- is it really neccessary to focus on the way someone looks first?

      • isabelle says:

        It may be a so called gossip site but there are many well thought out, intelligent posts on this site and smart posters. Compared to sites like TMZ and others, its the Oxford of gossip. Visit here expecting the posts to be more than drive by one liners & more intelligent than other gossip sites.

      • Mystified says:

        I bet if it was someone like Bristol Palin with a puffy face and going through depression, a lot more snark would be allowed.

  2. trollontheloose says:

    Anybody read Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan? true story and wow.. mental illness doesn’t come out nowhere, it lurks as PTSD and then one just it just hits hard.I feel for people who are truely depressed as just bored. It’s no joke.

    • Sarah says:

      In Susannah case though, that was medical. She was misdiagnosed with MI.
      That’s a great book!
      I’m curious as to what psych Med is bloating her face. I can only think of prednisone doing this and that is not psych.

      • Mae says:

        I don’t really like this distinction, that mental health illnesses aren’t ‘medical’ somehow. Surely, since meds are involved in many cases, and physical changes are detectable in both the brain and blood, mental health also qualifies as a medical issue. Exercise and social support/exclusion affect the brain in detectable ways as well. (These are general comments, mostly. Just musing on what I see as a misnomer, personally.) I do get the general sense that calling it ‘mental’ health can contribute to stigma in some instances. Mental health involves the ‘hardware’ of neurology too, not only the ‘software’ of mental schemas, etc.

  3. Aims says:

    I have dealt with depression half of my life. Recently , I had a pretty bad spell with my mom one year anniversary of her death approaching. It’s crippling and it robs you of a quality of life you deserve . It takes an amazing person to love and support a person who suffers . I’m so lucky that I have a partner who is supportive and patient . The more we talk about depression the more it takes the stigma and shame away from it.

    I am going to be as transparent and open as possible because this will not take over my life. I refuse .

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      True. I count myself lucky too, my hubby is lovely and supportive.
      I have battled depression since I was a child, an eating disorder, suicide attempts…. it takes a lot of strength just to go on and do some basic things. Some days… I wished it was the last….
      Now with the Brexit thing I continuously have panic attacks, because all the worry and national xenophobia have definitely gotten to me, even if at first I didn’t want to admit that.

  4. Radley says:

    I went through a depression that I didn’t even realize was depression until I came out of it. I started reading articles and realized I had every single symptom. I thought it was just life and I was failing to be tough enough. Now I know.

    I wish Naomi well. Depression is insidious.

  5. Julie says:

    My therapist has had some great advice for fighting depression (paired with meds. Thank God for Zoloft). When you’re feeling really down, force yourself to do the opposite of what your depression wants you to do. Like, if you just want to stay in bed, try to take a walk outside. If you want to shut out the world, try calling someone and talking for ten minutes. It can be hard to even find the energy to force yourself, when you’re really depressed, but it can help to have a partner or friend help you too. 🙂

  6. BTownGirl says:

    Naomi, you look beautiful! I’ve had a problem with anxiety for most of my adult life, so I really, really feel for her and everyone else who’s dealing with these issues.

  7. Mae says:

    ‘Radical self acceptance’ is a really good way to put it.

  8. Alexis says:

    I feel her on this one. I feel you girl.