Warning: Suicide is discussed in this article.
Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist at ABC News, knows most viewers only see her through her done-up, smiley, scripted appearances on "Good Morning America." Her new book aims to change that.
“This is the anti-Instagram book,” the on-air personality told People magazine, noting it won't present her life story in a polished, picture-perfect way. "I’m so worried, because there’s still a part of me thinking, 'Oh gosh, this is a lot to tell people.'"
In her book, "Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One," the 36-year-old opens up about her battles with mental illness going back several years.
Fortunately, the amount and combination of drugs she swallowed wasn't lethal. After being admitted to the hospital, however, she was diagnosed with depression.
In retrospect, Zee attributes her suicide attempt at least in part to being newly diagnosed with narcolepsy and ill-prepared to handle a medication's powerful effects; her senses had been heightened — emotional highs were very high, and emotional lows were very low.
Regardless, her mental health desperately needed to be addressed. As depression is one of the most common types of mental illness, Zee understood she wasn't alone. In 2015, about 16.1 million American adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
As the Mayo Clinic pointed out, there are various medical reasons why people experience depression, from a person's genetic makeup to brain chemistry and hormonal imbalances. External factors like stress and trauma can also contribute, research has found.
Zee's life with depression has been an ongoing journey. In 2011, 10 days before starting her lucrative new gig at ABC News, Zee checked herself into a medical facility in New York City, sensing her mental health was spiraling. She didn't want her career and personal life to suffer.
“I realize, too, that just because I’ve been in a good place for six years and I’ve gotten myself to a much healthier mental state ... I don’t think that I’m cured,” Zee told People. “I don’t think anybody’s forever cured."
Now, she's decided to share her story so that others know the best thing they can do is express and address what they're feeling internally: "Being aware of [depression], sharing it, talking about it — this is where I hope that the healing happens.”
Need help? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).