Book Review of “River of Time” by Naomi Judd

I was never a big country music fan, but I remember the day that I heard the country music superstar, Naomi Judd, was publicly announced to be dead. I was on the second floor of a small gift shop in the tourist town of Medora, ND. I was in the town attending a Women’s Retreat. Had I not been at the retreat, I would have been hospitalized for my own mental health reasons. Something in my gut told me what happened to Naomi when they didn’t state her cause of death over the radio. Something in my soul knew her pain.

I felt God led me to the retreat to help me heal internal wounds. God also led me to learn Naomi’s story and read her book. Naomi Judd ended her book, River of Time, with advice to others on how to cope with depression and anxiety. Because she ended her own life, her advice is not negated. She gave us the most vulnerable part of herself in this book. Naomi’s life story may not have provided us with the kind of hope that comes from fairytales, but she gave us herself and how much more can a person give?

I was surprised at many things in the book. First, this singer/songwriter was a nurse and a single mom. Then, her deep, dark, and ugly family history. Another surprise was the included scientific terminology and explanations related to psychiatric health, illness, and treatment. Her raw descriptions of inpatient experiences were also quite shocking. Naomi spared no detail in letting the reader into these intimate moments of her life.

The entire book could be a trigger for some people, or for people like me, it can feel like a new friend. This friend has struggles, she has a history to be shared, stories to tell, and feelings to be expressed. In some ways, Naomi was lucky to afford the treatment modalities that she went through as stated in the book; many others cannot afford and/or do not have the connections to such practitioners who became her friends and mentors. But more so, we are lucky that this celebrity was willing to use her platform to so openly share the plight of depression, anxiety, panic, and suicidal ideation.

I would recommend this book to those that struggle with mental illness, those with family/friends that are struggling, those in the field of mental health, and those that just want to understand. This is a well-thought-out book that weaves the full breadth and depth of personal experience and professional wisdom so that it’s hard to put down.

Rest In Peace Naomi Judd. Thank you.

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