Michelle Obama Says She's Suffering From 'Low-Grade Depression'
By Paige Gawley
BET Awards 2020/Getty Images via Getty Images
Michelle Obama is opening up about her emotional state amid current world events. During the latest episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, the 56-year-old former first lady reveals that she's suffering from "low-grade depression" as a result of quarantine and ongoing racial strife in the world.
"There have been periods throughout this quarantine where I just have felt too low. I've gone through those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels where you just don't feel yourself," she said. "Sometimes, there's been a week or so where I had to surrender to that and not be so hard on myself... It is unusual and it is a direct result of just being out of body, out of mind. Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times."
Obama went on to acknowledge that she's "dealing with some form of low-grade depression," largely due to racial unrest in the country.
"Seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting. So I've had to kind of give myself that, those days, those moments," she said. "Part of this depression is also a result of, what we're seeing in terms of the protests, the continued racial unrest, that has plagued this country, since its birth."
"Waking up to the news, waking up to how this administration has or has not responded, waking up to, yet another, story of a Black man or a Black person somehow being dehumanized, or hurt or killed, or falsely accused of something, it is exhausting," she continued. "It has led to a weight that I haven't felt in my life in a while."
Despite the current events in the country, Obama said she is "heartened" by the young people protesting for what they believe.
"I am heartened by the depth, the sustained vigor, the diversity, the peaceful nature of these protests," she said. "That helps me sleep at night. That reminds me of the truth. No matter how I feel or what my lull is, we are making progress. There is that truth."
Obama went on to reveal the things she focuses on to help her get through low moments.
"For the most part, staying in a routine, getting a workout in, trying to get outside [has helped]. But schedule is key and trying to have a regular dinner time. I'm finding that in quarantine we look forward to that," she said. "My spirit is lifted when I am feeling healthy, when I am surrounded by good people."
"I reach out to my family and to my friends even in this time of quarantine. I fought to continue to find a way to stay connected to the people in my life who bring me joy, my girlfriends, my husband, my kids," she continued of her husband, Barack Obama, and their daughters, Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19.
In addition to staying connected to family and friends, Obama turns off her phone and the news as needed.
"That means turning off the phone, not taking in the news... Sometimes we feel like that's irresponsible, to just cut off, and I think it is if you do it over a long term. But for me, for my mental health, there's some times I cannot look," she said. "I need to just take a moment, and to just not look. For a second."