There’s no telling whether or not a person with a smiling face is secretly hurting on the inside.

And, that’s something that Naomi Judd knows plenty about. In fact, the 70-year-old star and one half of the mother-daughter duo The Judd’s has battled with depression for years.

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Now, Naomi is coming forward about the crippling disorder that almost took her life in her new memoir titled “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope.”

Not only does the book share Naomi’s struggles with depression and panic attacks, but it also describes the horrifying flashbacks that derived from being traumatized as a child, years of psychiatric hospital treatments, and pharmaceutical drug poisoning.

“I wanted to be completely honest that if someone took out a gun and killed me onstage, they would be doing me a favor,” Naomi writes in the narrative, according to Rolling Stone Country, “But I didn’t. I was there to inspire them and I could not let them down. I gathered every ounce of strength I had, straightened my shoulders, adjusted my suit jacket, found the will to smile, and strode out onstage.”

By putting her dark past out in the open, Naomi aims to offer hope to anybody facing a similar situation or for anyone who knows someone who’s dealing with depression.

“My story isn’t one of a victorious recovery from debilitating mental illness, but of a wary and humble gratitude for persevering through 30 terrifying months,” Naomi writes. “I’ve gained an appreciative hope and, in the past year, an ongoing purpose for living once more. And, because I have survived and found peace, I feel a responsibility, as a messenger, to share what brought me hope and what’s kept me alive.”

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Naomi is no stranger to writing self-help books. In fact, in 1993 — two years after retiring from touring — she penned a candid autobiography titled “Love Can Build a Bridge.”

“River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope” is due out on Dec. 6.

Naomi Judd opens up about the debilitating struggle that caused her a world of pain AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
Nashville-based writer and Rare Country contributor Melinda Lorge has always been passionate about country music. Follow her @MelindaLorge and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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