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Friday, February 17, 2017

Review: River of Time by Naomi Judd with Marcia Wilkie


I was taken off guard by this book. I didn't expect much more than a general "glossing over/sugar coated" retelling of her fight with depression. Instead I got an honest, detailed look into her life with depression.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Center Street
Release Date: December 6, 2016

Naomi Judd's life as a country music superstar has been nonstop success. But offstage, she has battled incredible adversity. Struggling through a childhood of harsh family secrets, the death of a young sibling, and absent emotional support, Naomi found herself reluctantly married and an expectant mother at age seventeen. Four years later, she was a single mom of two, who survived being beaten and raped, and was abandoned without any financial support and nowhere to turn in Hollywood, CA.

Naomi has always been a survivor: She put herself through nursing school to support her young daughters, then took a courageous chance by moving to Nashville to pursue their fantastic dream of careers in country music. Her leap of faith paid off, and Naomi and her daughter Wynonna became The Judds, soon ranking with country music's biggest stars, selling more than 20 million records and winning six Grammys.

At the height of the singing duo's popularity, Naomi was given three years to live after being diagnosed with the previously incurable Hepatitis C. Miraculously, she overcame that too and was pronounced completely cured five years later.

But Naomi was still to face her most desperate fight yet. After finishing a tour with Wynonna in 2011, she began a three-year battle with Severe Treatment Resistant Depression and anxiety. She suffered through frustrating and dangerous roller-coaster effects with antidepressants and other drugs, often terrifying therapies and, at her absolute lowest points, thoughts of suicide. But Naomi persevered once again. RIVER OF TIME is her poignant message of hope to anyone whose life has been scarred by trauma.



What’s it About? To many, Naomi Judd is a superstar, one half of the country duo The Judds but River of Time isn’t about her life as a celebrity. It is more of a documentary about her life with treatment resistant depression and anxiety and Ms. Judd doesn’t hold back at all.

River of Time painted a raw, honest picture of one woman’s struggle with depression and anxiety that I found completely relatable. I too suffer from depression, I was diagnosed with it at 14 and now at 32 am still struggling to cope, and find a treatment that works for me. I didn’t pick up this book because I was searching for an answer to my depression but rather to remember that I am not alone in dealing with depression. Naomi Judd knows what it feels like, she can describe the symptoms in vivid detail, and she was candid about how certain treatments affected her and in fact made things worse for her. Ms. Judd didn’t shy away from discussing her early traumas and abuse and how they shaped her as a person throughout her life.

What I found interesting was that Naomi has kept herself well informed about depression over the years. Not just from her personal experience but by reading the latest medical facts, yes I know she was an RN before her musical career took off but her dedication to learning as much as she can about depression is nothing short of admirable. The irony here is that while Ms. Judd is part of the medical community, that same community is painted in an unflattering light due to the way it handles the treatment of mental illnesses.

I felt like Ms. Judd truly wants to understand as much as she can about a mental illness that effects many people and carries a stigma that often keeps people from seeking help. Ms. Judd encourages people to seek help but also to not limit themselves to only “traditional” treatments. Sometimes it takes more than one treatment, sometimes a person has to keep trying different ones before they find one that works and that’s okay. Everyone’s depression is NOT the same as evidenced by her own treatment resistant depression. By the end of River of Time I felt like I had a champion in Naomi Judd, it sounds silly but depression can be very isolating and to know of someone who understands how you feel because they feel it too is a relief. It’s not a perfect book by far, there is an element of drama to it that I didn’t care for, but for the most part it was an eye opener.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. For me the raw honesty of Naomi Judd’s struggles in River of Time served as a reminder that depression isn’t something that can be treated with the same method, nor is it an illness that discriminates. I felt a little more hopeful that I too could fight and find a way to live a happy life.



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