Ginger Zee has come a long way in recent years — but, like anyone, she still has days when she feels ready to give up.
“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,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue, revealing a grueling battle with depression that once left her suicidal.
“I don’t think anybody’s forever cured,” she says. “But being aware of it, sharing it, talking about it — this is where I hope that the healing happens.”
- For more on Ginger, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
In the hopes of sparking a national dialogue, the 36-year-old Good Morning America chief meteorologist opens up about her struggles with mental illness at length in her new book, Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One, out now. In the memoir, she candidly chronicles both her suicide attempt at 21 and her decision to check herself into a mental health facility just 10 days before starting the job at ABC in 2011.
During a weeklong program, she met a therapist who “changed everything” — and has been working with him ever since. Zee has also benefited from an incredible support system that includes her mother, Dawn, and her husband Ben Aaron, 36.
“I’ve been lucky to find a husband who doesn’t judge my past,” says Zee of Aaron, whom she wed in 2014. “In fact, writing this book, he wanted more, which says a lot. He’s like, ‘I want to listen. I want to be a part of that.’ ”
“I’m now focused on not just myself, but on keeping my family happy and healthy,” she says. “You have bigger things than [your own problems]. That has helped a lot — being a mother has helped incredibly.”
RELATED VIDEO: Ginger Zee Reveals Crippling Battle with Depression That Once Left Her Suicidal
Today, Zee says she’s learned to take a step back and reflect during trying times, instead of acting on impulse.
“That time after I tried to kill myself, I looked in the mirror the next day and I was like, ‘Who was that? Why would I have done that?’ ” she says. “That’s how much my mental state changed in 24 hours. If you can just give yourself that time, give yourself the peace and realization that this moment will pass — this, too, shall pass. It is so important to remember.”
There are still days where she questions herself, she admits — but “not necessarily life, because I haven’t gotten to that point thankfully in a very long time.”
“But if I ever feel that low, if I ever even think, ‘Do people need me? Do I need people?’ — then I remind myself that we all need each other,” she says.
“Back up from whatever computer screen you’re next to that’s upsetting you, or back up from whatever it is that may be a toxic [element] in your life altering your emotions,” she advises. “And realize tomorrow, this isn’t going to matter. If it does matter tomorrow, it probably won’t in a week. It definitely won’t in a month. It’s my favorite saying — if something’s going to matter to you in a year, then you can worry about it. Really, most of the things that we are all concerned about don’t matter tomorrow.”