After years of keeping her personal struggles a secret, Naomi Judd is speaking out on her battle with depression, mental illness, and multiple stays in psychiatric wards. The country singer first rose to fame in the 1980s as part of the duo, The Judds, which was formed with her daughter, Wynonna Judd.
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Despite their success, her life was turned upside down when depression entered her world. Naomi has now opened up to ABC’s “Good Morning America” explaining, “What I’ve been through is extreme. My final diagnosis was severe depression.”
Depression, or major depressive disorder, exhibits the following symptoms according to Mayo Clinic:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
The singer revealed that she has been hiding the darker part of herself for years:
“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 out of my pajamas, and not practice normal hygiene. It was really bad.”
But even when Naomi finally sought treatment, there were complications. She tells GMA that she was “treatment resistant.” As a result, she says doctors “tried me on every single thing they had in their arsenal.”
Naomi’s physical appearance was also altered from the medication, which caused her hands to shake and facial swelling. The singer described her face swelling up “like a balloon.”
Like many people suffering from depression, Naomi not only physically and mentally suffered, but her relationships with her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley, were hurt as well.
Currently, Naomi says she and Wynonna are on “break”:
“Through the decades, we kind of grew up together and I’m always telling her, ‘If I’d known better I would’ve done better. Wy bore the brunt of all of the mistakes I made and we talk about ’em. We’ve been through a lot of therapy together.”
The country hit-maker reveals more about her personal story in the new book, “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.” It hit bookstore shelves earlier this week.