GMA's Ginger Zee details years of depression despite TV success

By Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

NEW YORK - From the outside looking in Ginger Zee has it all.

Good look, smarts, beautiful family and her dream job. She is the first female Chief meteorologist at ABC News.

Fans got to see Zee's moves on the dance floor on "Dancing with the Stars" when she made a run for the Mirrorball Trophy a few years ago, making it all the way to the finals. 

Underneath it all, Zee struggles with depression, so crippling at times that ten days before she started at ABC she checked herself into a mental hospital.

“I had worked my whole life to get this opportunity and it saved my life because I knew I had to do something right now,“ said Zee.

Zee spoke on the set of GMA about her struggle with mental illness and her constant treatment.  

She has written a book about it entitled “Natural Disaster. I Cover Them, I Am One.“ 

Zee says during her in patient care at a mental hospital, a talented psychiatrist helped her understand why she could pull it together for television but continually fall apart in real life, especially after a few rocky romances.

“Some people have drug and alcohol addictions, I was addicted to what I thought was love." said Zee. "I expected a lot, but asked nothing... including myself,”  said Zee.

Years in constant therapy made Ginger ready for the right relationship with her now husband Ben, and they have 2 beautiful boys and so many reasons to be grateful.

After hearing about the loss of my co-anchor Todd Tongen to suicide, Ginger tried to help me understand how mental illness makes people who seem so bright on the outside are so dark within.

In her book, she details her at times rocky childhood and thoughts of suicide.  

“For me, I knew that there was a difference one morning and I would wake up and feel like myself and the enemy morning. I would truly wake up and the world would be black and I wouldn’t want to live. It was just that quick,”  said Zee.

Zee says therapy gave her a tools to work to control her emotions which is critical for the big assignments she takes on when traveling all over the world for exotic assignments in sometimes potentially dangerous conditions.

“I have such a toolbox now and I keep growing them. I don’t stop learning. It's a constant conference for yourself where you are learning about yourself.” 

Zee says talking about mental illness has gotten the conversation going in the country and every time she gets nervous about putting her story out there, she thinks of all the people she is helping.

“I still worry about appearing weak to everyone, but this is strength this is actually strength to come out and do this."

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