10/10/2008 at 05:00 PM EDT
While undergoing chemo treatments for breast cancer, Good Morning America
's Robin Roberts says she reached an all-time low.
"I was in a really bad place," she tells PEOPLE. "I didn't want to fake it [on TV]."
Roberts, 47, decided to take off the last three weeks of the year – the longest break she had taken since her diagnosis last July
"I needed more rest. It was too much," she says, especially given her grueling up-before-dawn work schedule. "I don't recommend anyone going through chemo get up at 4 a.m."
By December, the treatment had become an emotional drain. "I was mourning the loss of my health," says Roberts.
But she rebounded quickly after her year-end respite. "I think taking long walks really helped," she says. "And I circled January 10, the day of my last chemo treatment, on the calendar so I had a goal, an end in sight."
For the complete story, pick up this week's PEOPLE