Not even Michelle Obama is immune to the emotional effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In her latest episode of her podcast, the former First Lady admitted that lockdown orders, coupled with racial injustice and the Trump Administration has led her to “low-grade depression.”
“These are not fulfilling times, spiritually,” Obama said as she interviewed Washington Post journalist Michele Norris. “I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression. Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife, and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting.”
The candid admission comes as she and Norris spoke about the recent protests since the killing of George Floyd, saying “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” has “led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life in a while.
“I’d be remiss to say that part of this depression is also a result of what we’re seeing in terms of protest, the continued racial unrest that has plagued this country since its birth,” Obama said.
She compared it to what her family went through when her husband Barack Obama was first elected to office in 2008, like “the vast discomfort with the notion that a Black man could be sitting in the highest level of office” and “the nooses.”
She explained that symptoms of her depression included difficulties doing her every day activities, including exercise and sleep. “I’m waking up in the middle of the night because I’m worrying about something, or there’s a heaviness,” Obama said.
To help manage the toll on her mental health, she said she’s maintaining a routine, getting outdoors, spending time with her family and trying not to be too hard on herself.