With Her Popular Podcast, Meghan Judge Shares Stories of Resilience
- Written byKailani Melvin
- Photographed byAdelaide Brannan
From the outside, it looked like nothing was wrong. Podcaster Meghan Judge sat on the beach, watching her two beautiful daughters and loving husband play in the sand. Life was perfect—and yet it didn’t feel that way and hadn’t for a while.
Just when she wanted to give up, her inner voice spoke: “No. You’re supposed to be here. You still have work to do.” Little did she know that work would not only save her but also have a positive impact on thousands of other people’s lives.
Born in Potomac, Maryland, Meghan had a childhood that was plagued with grief. Her 9-month-old sister passed away from a rare liver disease while 2-year-old Meghan watched paramedics attempt to save her. At age 13, she lost her father to a battle with cancer, and as a young adult she lost her best friend Julie. Meghan’s home, once jovial, was filled with heaviness.
Meghan turned to theatre as a coping mechanism. She always had a passion for performance and poured herself into musical theatre and comedy. “It was a happy escape,” she says, “and I think humor saved me.”
“I’ve always been somebody who wants to support and help other people. I thought, ‘If I normalize sharing my own story, maybe I can help somebody else out.’”
After college, Meghan moved to Los Angeles to pursue TV and film before switching careers and working in digital ad sales. While her acting dreams were never realized, Meghan’s wicked humor and bubbly personality would play into her career much later.
She worked in sales right up until the COVID-19 shutdown. A combination of burnout and the unraveling of her personal life caused Meghan to spiral into a nervous breakdown. She had frequent, debilitating panic attacks and was eventually diagnosed with complex PTSD.
“It was this horrific perfect storm,” she recalls. “Everything was going wrong at one time.”
Then she had her moment on the beach. Meghan decided to quit her job and deal with her past so she could heal. It was at this time that her therapist, Dr. Nadine Macaluso, looked at Meghan and said, “You need to do something creative.”
A friend from high school had started a podcast, and Meghan reached out, intrigued. The friend encouraged her to start one, and Judging Meghan was born. In the beginning Meghan used the platform to share her traumatic experiences. The podcast evolved into Meghan interviewing trauma survivors and sharing their stories of resilience.
“I’ve always been somebody who wants to support and help other people,” Meghan says. “I thought, ‘If I normalize sharing my own story, maybe I can help somebody else out.’”
When she started the podcast, Meghan was happy if she had five downloads. It has grown tremendously, and today Judging Meghan spans 130 episodes with 600,000 downloads total, averaging nearly 50,000 a month. It frequents the top 200 mental health podcasts on Apple Charts and is in the top 1% of podcasts globally.
Listeners write in saying how much they appreciate her work. Guests have included Will Jimeno, a New York Port Authority police officer during the 9/11 crisis; Rick Werry, a paraplegic writer and speaker; and Diane Foley, whose son was killed by ISIS. Mass shooting survivors, well-known actors and celebrities, advocates of mental health, and LGBTQ+ rights activists have shared their stories.
Meghan ends every podcast with a simple phrase her dad used to say: “Be happy by making others happy.” The success of her podcast has led her to begin her next project: an autobiography detailing her mental health struggles and journey of healing.
“We always have preconceived notions of people, and it’s important to give someone a chance. You never know what that person is going through,” she says. “We need more kindness and less judgment.” No pun intended! ν