These days, Ginger Zee‘s forecast might be bright and sun-shiney — but when she was 21, Good Morning America‘s future chief meteorologist saw nothing but stormy skies.
In an interview with People, the ABC weather woman got candid about her depression battle — and suicide attempt — to promote new book Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One.
Years before she did the weather for ABC, Zee locked herself in her bathroom and tried to overdose on the pills in her medicine cabinet. She remembered:
“I’d lost all hope. I just shut down. It wasn’t worth living. I was wasting people’s time and space.”
Thankfully, it turned out Zee merely ingested a non-lethal concoction of mostly Benadryl, but her feelings of worthlessness were still very present — and dangerous.
At the time, Zee had just graduated from college and was struggling to kick off her career. Before she knew it, Zee was stuck on an emotional roller coaster she couldn’t get off:
“Depression for me has been a couple of different things ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ but the first time I felt it, I felt helpless, hopeless and things I had never felt before. I lost myself and my will to live├óΓé¼┬ª In that moment, my brain, and probably a chemical somewhere within me, said, ├óΓé¼╦£You need to kill yourself.’ The only voices I could hear were telling me, ├óΓé¼╦£You are not worth it.'”
Zee had also battled anorexia as a young girl and had been diagnosed with narcolepsy in college. The medication she was taking at the time heightened her emotions dramatically, and, Zee believes, had even played a hand in her suicide attempt:
“It amplified everything. Ups were amplified and downs were amplified. I’ve had to learn to live on that medication responsibly, because I can’t not have it. You have to be really, really careful with it.”
Though her personal life felt like it was crashing, Zee’s professional life was going the opposite direction. After scoring an on air gig at the NBC affiliate in Chicago by the age of 25, Zee joined GMA in 2011.
However, her depression began to creep back in the months leading up to her move to New York. Not wanting to relive her post-college low, Zee checked herself into a mental health facility ten days before starting at ABC — where she met a therapist who “changed everything.” She continued:
“I think that there’s a reason that people have these jobs where they go to school to study something that all of us don’t. That’s because they studied how to help people. You need that person who’s impartial.”
Zee is also lucky enough to have an incredible support system that includes her mother and her husband, Ben Aaron. Not to mention, she has found new strength since becoming a mother.
The meteorologist also found catharsis in writing her book, which she hopes will help others battling depression and suicidal thoughts to confront their dangerous feelings.
Head over to People to read Zee’s full interview.
[Image via ABC.]