country star Naomi Judd was candid about a life-threatening experience with depression and how panic attacks deeply impacted her life before her Death at 76. Tragically, the persistent symptoms were linked to traumatic childhood memories that were well beyond her control. And she confessed that the illness was so gripping that she didn’t think she would make it years ago.
Naomi Judd’s terror and panic woke her up at night
In Judd’s memoirs river of time, that late country legend detailed her experiences with anxiety and depression. The country music icon called it a “constant physical agony” for her. She described how some nights she would wake up in a state of terror and transition from a “deep sleep to a bolt upright position” in bed at 3am.
Unfortunately, Judd’s mind would hold her hostage in a way that was “incredibly terrifying,” she shared. The fear was so real that she felt like she was fighting a human attacker.
“Reaching down to my throat, expecting to find a pair of hands belonging to an intruder intent on killing me with a grip that slowly closes around my windpipe,” she wrote. “I’m hyperventilating. … [I’m] in danger, but I don’t know why.”
In 2016, Judd recounted Good morning America Doctors diagnosed her with severe, treatment-resistant depression.
Naomi Judd said panic is the invader in her life
The famous mother of two mentioned in her memoir that her dogs would wake up because of her episodes. Then they would pretend to be looking for an unwanted person in the house.
“The intruder is here in the panic rising within me with a vicious force, breaking through six decades of oppression,” she said. “The intruder… is here to finish what he started.”
In those moments of panic and terror, she was taken back to her very first memory of an “unwanted life-changing experience” that happened to her as a toddler.
When Judd was three years old and contracted chickenpox, her mother sent her to live with her grandmother to keep her isolated. There the man she knew as Uncle Charlie – her grandmother’s brother – came into the room where she slept.
Memories of child abuse gripped her for the rest of her life, Judd shared.
The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame the day after Naomi Judd’s death
on April 30, 2022, Wynonna and Ashley Judd shared a message with fans to announce they have tragically lost their mother to “the disease of mental illness.” The next day they appeared in the Country Music Hall of Fame to accept recording for The Judds.
Ashley spoke for Naomi. Both sisters were clearly emotional as they told their fans how much their mother appreciated their support. “My mom loved you so much,” she called out to the audience, “and she appreciated your love for her.”
Wynonna Judd shared some of her final memories with the icon. Specifically, she said she kissed her on the forehead to say goodbye. Then she showed up to accept the iconic induction they’d earned together. She even joked that she didn’t prepare a speech because she expected Naomi Judd to do all the talking.
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