Michelle Obama Said She's Dealing With ‘Low-Grade Depression’ in Quarantine

In the newest episode of the Michelle Obama Podcast, the former FLOTUS shared that she's having a tough time in COVID-19 lockdown—just like the rest of us.

In conversation with journalist Michele Norris, Obama said that she's struggling to get through her usual workouts, and that her sleep is suffering. She attributes this to “those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels, where you just don't feel yourself”—common feelings for all of us dealing with a global pandemic, the highly publicized deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and widespread protesting across the county. 

“I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression," she said. "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."

Michelle Obama said that she's handling these feelings by trying to stick to a routine whenever possible. Her family gathers to work on puzzles and eat dinner together most evenings, followed by card games—there's a spades tournament involved. 

She also stressed the importance of knowing when to turn off your phone and take a step back from the news. 

“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, um 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 said. “And and it has led to a weight that I haven't felt in my life, in a while.”

The main takeaway from this portion of the episode is that it's OK to be struggling right now—but eventually, the COVID pandemic will end. And countrywide protests calling for anti-racist work and serious cultural change are making a difference, too. 

“The thing we have to remember is, we've been through tough times, in this nation,” Michelle Obama said. “We are in a unique moment in history. We are living through something that no one in our lifetimes has lived through.”

You can listen to the full podcast episode here. 

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