Posted on August 6, 2020

Michelle Obama Says She Is Suffering With ‘Low-Grade Depression’ as a Result of Quarantine, Racial Tension and Trump Administration

Chelsea Ritschel, Independent, August 5, 2020

Michelle Obama has revealed she is suffering from “low-grade depression” as a result of the coronavirus-induced quarantine, ongoing racial tensions in the country and the Trump administration’s “hypocrisy”.

The former first lady discussed the impact US and global current events are having on her mental health during the second episode of her new podcastThe Michelle Obama Podcast, released on Wednesday.

During the episode, which featured Michele Norris as a guest, Ms Obama said: “I’m waking up in the middle of the night because I’m worrying about something or there’s a heaviness.”

According to the 56-year-old, she has tried to stick as closely to her routine as possible during this period of upheaval, including making time for a daily workout.

However, she acknowledged that there are times where she has felt “too low”.

“I try to make sure I get a workout in, although there have been periods throughout this quarantine, where I just have felt too low,” she said. “I’ve gone through those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels, where you just don’t feel yourself.”

Acknowledging that the change is a “direct result of being out of body, out of mind,” Ms Obama continued: “These are not fulfilling times spiritually.

“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 former first lady also opened up about how the protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd and President Trump’s handling of the racial injustice in the country have impacted her well-being.

“I’d be remiss to say that 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,” she said, adding that it is “exhausting” 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 dehumanised or hurt or killed or falsely accused of something”.

“It has led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life, in a while,” she said.

As for how she is navigating these unprecedented times, Ms Obama said surrendering to her feelings and not being so hard on herself has helped, as has spending time with her family each night.

And while she acknowledged that we are “living through something that no one in our lifetimes has lived through,” she said it is important to remember the nation has “been through tough times” before.