Naomi Judd Opens Up About Long Struggle With Severe Depression

The country music star spoke about her battle with "life-threatening" depression that led to several stints in psychiatric wards.
7:22 | 12/07/16

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Transcript for Naomi Judd Opens Up About Long Struggle With Severe Depression
On the surface, Naomi Judd seems the picture of perfection. A glamorous beauty living her dream life as a celebrated musician touring the country with her daughter Winona. On the inside, there was pain. And the persistent haunting of a will your business be ready when growth presents itself? difficult past. Here's ABC's robin Roberts. American Express open cards can help you take on a new job, I have to say something right off the bat. Because I know people will realize I don't look like I usually look. My hands shake real bad. or fill a big order My face -- I feel like a balloon. My face is all swollen. or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. Because of the medication. That I'm on. I really haven't been eating ice Find out how American Express cards and services cream and candy. I really haven't. can help prepare you for growth at ??? Lovers really ??? Reporter: To the outside world 98 moment I don't Judd should have been living the With my moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, sweet life. She and daughter wynonna Judd the possibility of a flare was almost always on my mind. are country music royalty with Thinking about what to avoid, grammy-winning hits like "Mama where to go... he's crazy." ??? Mama he's crazy ??? And how to deal with my uc. Reporter: And "Grandpa tell To me, that was Normal. me about the good old days." Until I talked to my doctor. She told me that Humira ??? Whoa grandpa tell me about the helps people like me good old days ??? get uc under control and keep it under control when certain medications Reporter: Out of the public haven't worked well enough. Humira can lower your ability to eye, this force of nature and fight infections, including tuberculosis. mother of two has privately Serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; battled severe as have blood, liver, and nervous system treatment-resistant depression problems, and anxiety. I know this is awful, but -- serious allergic reactions, I think about if I jumped off and new or worsening heart failure. Before treatment, get tested for tb. the bridge, I know the park Tell your doctor if you've been to areas ranger George heron is going to where find me. certain fungal infections are common, Reporter: It was a daily and if you've had tb, hepatitis B, are prone to infections, struggle the singer came or have flu-like symptoms or sores. alarmingly close to losing. Don't start Humira if you have an infection. You talk about different Raise your expectations. instances, the bridge, the gun. You really were at that point. Ask your gastroenterologist about Humira. Uh-huh. With Humira, control is possible. You thought that was the only answer? It's not, it's not. I'm still here and I'm sogladi If you work for a living, you want a van that does the same. didn't. Reporter: Deep depression led Mercedes-Benz Vans. to psychiatric wards. A heavy regimen of medication. From the full-size Sprinter to the mid-size Metris... Even electro convulsive therapy, ...These are vans for professionals. formerly known as electroshock. She shares the excruciating details in her new book "River of time." Why do you share this now? Strictly professionals. I want someone to be able to We're good. see that they can survive. Mercedes-Benz Vans. It's not just to help the Featuring the new worker Vans, people, the 40 million, that starting at $25,995. Mercedes-Benz. Vans. Born to run. have depression. It's so the people around them can understand, this is a disease. What do you feel the reaction will be from people that will say, how could this have happened to her? She's mama Judd. She was always so happy. When people meet me, they think, because they see me in rhinestones, with glitter in my hair, that really is who I am. I'm sort of a fantasy because I want to provide that for them. But then I come home. And not leave the house for three weeks. Not get out of my pajamas. Not practice Normal hygiene. It was really bad. Reporter: Naomi's internal spiral began in 2011 during the judds' encore tour. Documented in their reality show "The judds" on the Oprah Winfrey network. By understanding and being able to forgive Nana or my great grandmother -- Reporter: The experience elicited painful memories for wynonna and Naomi. I feel so close to her now. Closest I've ever felt. Reporter: Who has a teenage mom at 18 raised wynonna in hand to mouth poverty. From the day I knew she existed, it was the two of us against the world. And then through the decades, we kind of grew up together because it was really just the two of us. And I'm always telling her, if I'd known better I would have done better. Reporter: She says these newly surfaced realities of their past rocked their relationship to its core. We both walked on eggshells. It was very uncomfortable. And we both were just absolutely raw. Even when we were on stage singing, we'd look in each other's eyes and singing a judds I am willing to do this because I think I should have song, there was still that I was a woman with horns in my portfolio. afraid of her, she was afraid of I'm going to put the first $5,000 up, okay? me. I love her, but there are just times we need a break from each Against the $50,000 ask. other. Are you still on a break? I will partner with any other shark or sharkette. Yes. We're still a little estranged I'll match that. I'll do another five. from each other. And that happens with mothers, What are you doing? You got 10,000. daughters. Reporter: Judd's depression worsened, alarming her husband, You got 10,000. I like it! I'm in. Larry Strickland, and daughter, actress Ashley Judd. I wouldn't get off the couch. Larry -- I think it was after midnight -- called 911. Because my blood pressure was so low. He couldn't tell if I was conscious or not because I would go into such a deep sleep. And then Larry called Ashley. Who lives right over this hill. And Ashley came down in her nightgown and they took me to Vanderbilt psych unit. And I think that's -- where it really hit me. I'm completely out of control. And me? Hiving to go to the psych unit? But it brought back all these stories that we didn't know about. Dark stuff. And they said, you have got to go to therapy. You've got to go to talk therapy. Reporter: As part of her treatment, she had to face her childhood and confront a dark family secret. Naomi says she was molested by her great uncle when she was 3 1/2 years old. I was a cute kid. I smiled and laughed, very obedient. There's a photo in the book where typically opposing. Hand on hip, gripping for the camera. And then grandmommy Judd made me stand next to uncle Charlie and my personality is completely changed. It's interesting where I'm holding my hands. Right here. And I look like I'm disgusted and terrified. When these things would happen to you and you'd go running to an adult, you were so hopeful they would see the fright in you and ask you. But they were not equipped. Nobody was there for me. In a way, I had to parent myself. And realize that I got a raw deal, okay. Now I'm a big girl, put on your big girl pants and deal with it. And I started in therapy. I would walk up to Ashley's house, which as mile that way. I would holler at her from her front step. She was home, she'd come out and give me a hug. Reporter: One of many small but meaningful steps toward Naomi's recovery. Ashley and I are so stinking much alike. We have the same mannerisms. We read a whole lot. We both love new places. Reporter: And another critical part of her recovery is Naomi's husband of 27 years, Larry. What advice do you have for someone who has a loved one with depression? Get ready to walk that path with them. Because they're going to need you every minute. In sickness and in health? Yeah, exactly. As for I wouwynonna? What do you think they'll think? I think she'll say, good for you, mom, for finally being willing to talk about the bad stuff. Reporter: Taking each day as it comes, Naomi is seeing the brighter side of life again. My everyday life is not only manageable, it's even enjoyable once more. I laugh a lot. I've told my story and you can tell yours. You're not alone. I'm still here. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm robin Roberts in leapers fork, Tennessee.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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