top of page

Aisle Seat: The Moody Blues of May

By Naomi Serviss / New York City

Is it mere coincidence

that Mother’s Day

and Mental Health Awareness Month

fall at the same time?

Rhetorical question.

Mothers are supposed

to drive their kids nuts.

It’s in the manual.

That being said,

mothers deserve

an official day

of acknowledgement

and celebration.

(Even if your mother

was an emotionally abusive narcissist

with a borderline personality to boot.)

Fortunately, we’re all adults now

and can discuss

suicidal ideation without blanching.

And who hasn’t been

depressed, anxious, panic-stricken

and a smidge agoraphobic

in the past two years?

We’re all touched by

posttraumatic stress disorder.

How could we not be,

after living two years on Covid-hold?

Merely living in the here and now,

going about my business,

I’m shadowed by whispering variants

that float effortlessly, airborne.

But I’m not paranoid,

just worried about everyone’s mental health.

Everyone is susceptible to the unthinkable.

Naomi Judd on the “Today Show” in 2017 discussing her bouts of depression
Naomi Judd on the “Today Show” in 2017 discussing her bouts of depression

The latest shocking celebrity suicide

was country singer Naomi Judd

who struggled for years with mental illness.

Judd’s daughters Wynonna and Ashley

attributed their mother’s suicide to

“the disease of mental illness”

in a statement.

Judd had been open

about her mental health issues

for years.

At the nadir of despair in 2013,

she spent two years on the couch.

Considered taking her own life

at a bridge near her farm.

In 2017, Judd wrote

River of Time:

My Descent into Depression

and How I Emerged With Hope.

That year, she discussed her experiences

on morning news shows

and seemed to be in good spirits.

When famous families speak publicly

About their loved one’s pain

and suffering,

it benefits those

without familiar surnames.


Debra, 79,

(not her real name)

has been in therapy for 50 years.

Gratefully, she reports

being at a balanced, healthy juncture.

A far cry from the two times

she tried to kill herself.

Chronic depression is a disease

that’s haunted her,


Name an antidepressant

and Debra’s likely been on and off of it.

She now undergoes Ketamine treatments

a day’s drive away from home,

under medical supervision.

Her “trips” as she calls them,

can be soothing and restorative,

psychologically satisfying or nerve-wracking.

“This weekend I was really agitated

and didn’t want to bike or play mahjong

or meet for lunch.”

Her support-team family

helps her maintain equanimity.

“It’s always a struggle

and has ups and downs.

I have more up days now than down,” Debra adds.

“Really learning how to let go

of the past shit in my life,

which is healthy.”

Debra credits her in-patient,

psychiatric hospital experience

as being one of the best things

she’s ever done.


Jessica Hendy

is a multi-talented

Broadway actor/cabaret-singing writer

who understands depression.

Her autobiographical play with music

is Walking With Bubbles.

The tale reveals Hendy

as a single mom

navigating a life

enmeshed with her ex,

who became homeless in New York City.

He refused treatment.

“I watched his rapid

and severe mental decline

and finally left

with my four-year-old son,

Beckett,” (aka Bubbles).

When Hendy moved to New York City,

her ex followed.

“His brain couldn’t handle big city life

and that’s when he began

living as a homeless man.

“I struggled with

guilt, shame and secrecy,”

Hendy said.

“I lived a double life.

We would meet him in parks

and Bubbles could see his dad.”

Keeping her secret

upended Hendy’s life

and mental stability.

Therapy and writing anchored her.

Her “light-bulb moment” was realizing

that everyone has been touched,

in some way, by the disease.

She hoped

that by sharing her harrowing story

it would encourage others

to share theirs.

“Going to therapy

is a path

to own and love your story,”

Hendy added.

“We’re all more alike than we think.”

Hendy’s truth-telling play with music

has a May 19 midtown reading.

Among attendees

(she hopes)

will be generous angels

and discerning producers.

The month of May

will forever be linked

to honoring our foremothers.

It's also the perfect gratitude moment

for our mental health support team.

Without mine, I wouldn't be here.


Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including

bottom of page