Depression doesn’t discriminate: Ginger Zee’s journey to help

Mental Health

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— Chances are you’ve heard the name, Ginger Zee. Every day she says “good morning” to America with a smile. She’s the Chief Meteorologist for ABC News, the first woman ever to hold that title at a major network. She travels the country staying ahead of the storm. She’s a published author, a mother of two, and even dabbles as a musician on the side.

What you might not know is, she’s battled severe depression nearly her entire life. Zee says she’s not only had suicidal thoughts but actually attempted to take her own life.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 02: Ginger Zee attends Smile Train’s 20th Anniversary Gala at Capitale on May 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

“I’m the lucky one where I had the ability to get help.”

Her struggles with mental health go all the way back to elementary school. When dealing with her parent’s divorce she turned to anorexia. She carried her struggles into adulthood.

“It would be like I would wake up and the world was black. I couldn’t see anything more than I needed to take my own life.” Zee says.

It may be surprising to hear from one of America’s favorite forecasters but mental health doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, gender, or success. In fact, even as Zee has traveled that path to success, her struggles followed her along the way. Just before she got her big break at the top, Zee says the darkness was too much to handle.

“I say dark only now because there is a lot of lightness in that dark because I had the chance, I’m the lucky one where I had the ability to get help. I had access to it. I had the financial ability.”

Just 10 days before Ginger Zee was set to start her “dream job” at ABC News and GMA, she experienced suicidal thoughts.

“I was again for the third time feeling like I wanted to take my own life. The fortune I had in that moment was that I had this huge opportunity ahead of me in my career. In that moment I finally said, I need help.”

That decision is one she credits for saving her life. After seeking help, Zee says she got what she needed, a correct diagnosis, that would then set her up with the right type of therapy, and she began to heal, and continues that fight every day.

“With my tools and tons of therapy I have been able to get to a place where I can wake up and my mornings can be gray not necessarily black. Where I can see it. I can actually see the depression. The moment I see it, I write it down, I text my husband, my mom, and my therapist. That’s my first line of defense. My team.”

Ginger’s Legacy.

For Ginger Zee, she battles her depression every day, and her message to everyone is don’t fight your mental challenges alone.

“You wouldn’t go and try to fix your broken leg by yourself. You wouldn’t go in a closet and hide you would go to the hospital and get your leg taken care of and then to physical therapy to keep taking care of it.”

Zee hopes that by sharing her story, everyone can get the therapy they need and that the conversation about mental health will be at the forefront. She also hopes the topic of mental health will become a focus in schools, to teach children at a young age about the importance of taking care of their well-being.

“I would love for everyone to have access in second or third grade to mental health. We all take health classes but what if we learned the emotional regulation and the tools in schools, And every single person had access to this? To the stuff, it took me 40 years to learn. How great would it be to instill that in children?”

GET HELP

If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.

You can also find help by clicking here.

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