Naomi Judd Finally Breaks Her Silence, Shares Secret She Kept Closely Guarded

Updated December 7, 2017

While Naomi Judd may be well known for her successful country music career, she has faced her fair share of struggles and setbacks. While promoting her new book, “River of Time,” on the Today show, Judd discussed how her depression even caused thoughts of suicide.

It was 2011, Judd had finished touring with daughter Wynonna, and suddenly, she said, she felt paralyzed. She explained during her Today show interview: “I didn’t get off my couch for two years. I was so depressed that I couldn’t move…My husband [Larry Strickland] and my girlfriends and [daughter] Ashley would come over and I would just go upstairs and lock the door to my bedroom…You become immobilized.”

Judd explained the importance of shedding light on depression, a chemical imbalance that she compared to a diabetic person’s inability to create insulin. She noted: “We don’t make enough of the good neurochemicals in the brain. It’s a disease. It has nothing to do with our character.”

Though she was, as she said, “immobilized” by her depression, she didn’t get professional help until she said she “was dangerously depressed.”

Judd contemplated suicide, explaining, “That’s how bad it can get. It’s hard to describe. You go down in this deep, dark hole of depression and you really don’t think that there’s another minute. It’s so horrific, you can’t even think about another day.”

She finally got the help she needed, with the assistance of her husband and daughter Ashley, who called 911 “in the middle of the night.” She entered therapy that included electroconvulsive therapy.

Her book, “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope,” Judd explains, is a “survivor’s manual about how to survive depression and anxiety.”

Judd further explained how attempting to suppress life’s issues can bubble up, noting: “One of the things that happens with depression is throughout my life I’ve had a lot of tragedies…you just keep squelching it down, you just keep suppressing it and all of a sudden one day if you don’t deal with it, this starts coming out sideways.”

As for the reason why she wrote about her struggles in her new book, Judd noted: “I’m trying to start a national conversation about depression and anxiety because I may be just one little country singer right here, but there are 43 million of us out there, 43 million who suffer from depression and anxiety. And I want to let the world know that it’s not a character flaw, it’s a disease.”

Many fans weighed in with comments on the Today show Facebook page, with one writing: “What a brave woman to share her story. This will inspire and save countless. It’s a battle too many of us share. God bless her.”

Another fan commented: “We need more people to make this point. Depression has very little to do with the actual circumstances of life.”

One commenter, however, believed Judd’s experience should be taken with a grain of salt, explaining: “The only time we see her is when she has a ‘book’ to promote!…There are no strict rules for depression or its treatment! It’s as varied as the number of people who have it!”