Naomi Judd: Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Once upon a time, there lived a community that believed that every problem could be solved scientifically. Scientists were gods, and their word was the way, the truth and the life. After all, they had done tons of research, tested subjects, and solved all world problems. Infections were being cured right, left, and center. So, when they said they had found a cure for mental illness everyone signed with relief. They said “finally! Now the lunatics have their fix and we can breathe our good air”.

Days passed by, and medication was being shoved down the mentally-ill people’s throats. If the scientific community came across the depressed community, they put on a big smile before saying, “take these anti-depressants twice a day, and you will feel better within no time”. The depressed ones would go home believing and trusting that they had a miracle fix in their hands. While some were cured, others were left on the sidelines, suffering more than ever before. They were not only dealing with the terrible side effects of the medication, but their depressive symptoms were not going anywhere.

A Better Approach

After a long deliberation, scientists were beginning to accept that they may have overlooked a couple of things. Postmodernists came to save the day. They argued that the scientific community did not have all the answers to human experience. These God-sent professionals of good repute took account of the sociocultural aspects of being. They felt that our environments shape our worldview and may explain the risks and causes of mental illness in a way that science couldn’t.

Many contemporary psychotherapists utilize a postmodernist approach to help patients, attending to the subjective experiences that cause diseases. Still, there is along way to go. Some depressed people are still struggling despite the intake of medication and going through rounds of therapy. They have a case of treatment-resistant depression.

The Self-Inflicted Gunshot

I first heard of the term treatment-resistant depression from Naomi Judd. The famous and easy-on-the-eye country singer described her journey and quest for healing from depression. Doctors had attended to her for so long and finally came to the conclusion that her case was different. She had the dreaded treatment-resistant depression.

Although Naomi Judd narrated the entire ordeal in a book and seemed to overcome some of the symptoms, the world woke up to the sad news that Naomi Judd had died from a self-inflicted gunshot on 30th April 2022. She was a day shy of being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Even the fame and its glory couldn’t light up the soul of the songbird.

Borrowing From the Recovery Model

Mayo Clinic confirms that treatment-resistant depression does not respond to standard treatments. The patient must work with a psychiatrist to find alternative approaches to manage the symptoms. This reminds me of the recovery model, which states that some patients may live with the symptoms despite treatment. In this case, the role of the therapist is to ensure that the sick continues to thrive even when the recovery process is non-linear. To improve the quality of life, therapists must:

  • Instill hope
  • Treat patients with dignity
  • Require patients to be responsible

Promote self-determination.