It was June 12, 2009, and Robin Meade was about to parachute from a plane for the first time. She would share the skies on this jump with former President George H.W. Bush, celebrating his 85th birthday. The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team would guide them, with the event recorded by TV cameras.
Meade tells TVNewser she felt “no anxiety at all.” And that was significant. A “great exclamation point at the end of the sentence of my complete trip through the world of self-doubt,” she says.
Self-doubt. Lifelong feelings of worry. Anxiety attacks. It’s all laid bare in Meade’s new book, Morning Sunshine!: How to Radiate Confidence and Feel it Too, officially out Thursday.
It will come as a surprise to those who “know her as the composed, upbeat host of ‘HLN’s Morning Express With Robin Meade'”, as the book jacket states.
In Morning Sunshine, Meade tells of a watershed moment in the late nineties, when she experienced her first panic attack while anchoring a weekend newscast at Chicago’s NBC station. Stressed out by the pressure to do well at her job and to please new management, Meade’s confidence wavered. “Along the way, I really lost who I was, and who the real me was. ‘What if I’m not what they want?’…it just escalated from there.”
It was confusing. She had grown up singing in her church choir, went on to become Miss Ohio 1992, and then a broadcaster. “I’d done hundreds, maybe thousands of news shows up to that point in my career. So why was this happening to me?” she wondered.
“I’ve been confident in aspects of my life, yes. When it came to being a news anchor, that was my job, and that was how I made my money, so I didn’t want to mess up.”
The attacks continued — about 30 over two years — but even though her general practitioner diagnosed the episodes as anxiety-related, Meade was reluctant to seek out a social worker or psychologist. “I refused to get help, I was so mortified,” she says, also concerned about confidentiality in light of her visible local profile.
Finally, Meade’s husband arranged for her to work with a holistic chiropractor who “challenged my thinking…I really had to learn to stay in the present, which I think most of us have a hard time doing.”
Meade also had to learn to break a lifelong habit of worrying about whether others liked her. “I put so much value in someone else’s opinion that it really just kind of degraded my own opinion [of herself]…”
She says she now has “more control of my life. I am the author of my own life.” In Morning Sunshine — so named for the greeting she gives during her daily HLN newscast — she offers tips on being confident and happy, and shares life experiences.
In Morning Sunshine‘s acknowledgments, she thanks CNN brass for being supportive of the book. These days, she writes, “I’ve done a complete 180 from my confidence-challenged days…I’ve found my confidence.”