Speaking of the coronavirus pandemic, months of quarantine, police brutality towards the Black community, nationwide racial tensions, and the Trump administration's politicization of every issue, Michelle noted: "Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times."
Former first lady Michelle Obama opened up about her recent mental health struggles during an extremely candid new interview on her podcast this week. Speaking to her longtime friend, journalist Michele Norris, the 56-year-old revealed that she's suffering from a "low-grade depression" due to everything that's been happening this year. Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, months of quarantine, police brutality towards the Black community, nationwide racial tensions, and the Trump administration's politicization of every issue, Michelle noted: "Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times."
The Becoming author went on to describe how—despite being no stranger to trying to lead a normal life under strange circumstances—she's found the first half of 2020 to be unlike anything she's experienced before. "For Barack and I, we've lived outside of the norm of regular life for quite some time, and what we learned early on in the White House is that in order to stay sane and feel like the human that you once were, you have to have a schedule and a routine that's pretty lockstep," she said. Michelle revealed that now she's "going to bed a little bit later, and I'm waking up in the middle of the night 'cause I'm worrying about something or there's a heaviness."
"I try to get a workout in, although 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. There's been a week or so where I had to surrender to that, and not be so hard on myself, and say, 'You know what? You're just not feeling that treadmill right now,'" she added. While this has been a familiar feeling for many around the world this year, the Obama matriarch admitted that it's not just the pandemic that's been taking the toll on her mental health.
"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. Just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting," she explained. "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. I have to say that 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. It has led to a weight that I haven't felt in my life in a while."
Michelle also discussed her frustration with people who refuse to wear masks, saying: "There's almost like there's a limit to our sacrifice and it was about a month and then we just got tired of the virus. That's been disheartening to see so many people who have grown tired of staying at home because the virus didn't impact them." The mother-of-two noted how although "we've been through tough times in this nation" before, this time, "we are in a unique moment in history... We are living through something that no one in our lifetimes has lived through." Michelle also shared some good advice on how to tackle these difficult emotions we've been experiencing, emphasizing that it's important now—more than ever—to go easy on ourselves.
"I have had to kind of give myself that: those days, those moments. But for the most part, staying in a routine, getting a workout in, trying to get outside; schedule has been key, and having a regular dinner time," she said. "I'm finding that in quarantine, we look forward to that." After the revelations about her mental health in the Wednesday episode left Michelle's fans and well-wishers concerned about her, the former first lady took to Instagram on Thursday to reassure her 40.8 million followers.
"I just wanted to check in with you all because a lot of you have been checking in on me after hearing this week's podcast. First things first—I'm doing just fine. There's no reason to worry about me," she said, adding that "the idea that what this country is going through shouldn't have any effect on us—that we all should just feel OK all the time—that just doesn't feel real to me. So I hope you all are allowing yourselves to feel whatever it is you're feeling."