Michelle Obama: ‘I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression’

I can't wait for you to hear my conversation with my friend and confidante, @michele__norris. We talked about how we’re doing in this strange and exhausting time––as well as our responsibilities as individuals and members of our community. Tune in tomorrow on The #MichelleObamaPodcast!

Former first lady Michelle Obama has a podcast called simply The Michelle Obama Podcast. This week, her guest was NPR’s Michele Norris and the two Michel(l)e’s took time to address mental wellness during quarantine. Michelle O admitted that she’s been feeling the effects of everything and that it’s messing with her overall well-being. She explained what she’s doing to to keep herself from falling too far down that rabbit hole.

The same way physicians have warned the novel coronavirus “knows no bounds,” the emotional impact of quarantine is being felt by people across the U.S.

While a third of Americans have reported feelings of anxiety or depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to one government survey, former First Lady Michelle Obama also says she’s among those learning how to balance her mental health in isolation.

“There have been periods throughout this quarantine where I’ve felt too low,” Obama, 56, said during the second episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, released on Spotify on Wednesday.

Obama — a bestselling author and newly christened podcaster as well as a voting-rights and girls’ education activist — said that those exhausting feelings have been a “direct result of just being out of body and out of mind” while mostly being stuck at home during the pandemic.

“Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times,” Obama said on her podcast, “So, I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression.”

The former first lady added that those emotions are “not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife” amid protests sparked by George Floyd’s death and that “just seeing [President Donald Trump’s] administration, watching the hypocrisy of it day-in and day-out, is dispiriting.”

Obama said she has “had to give myself … those days, those moments” where she accepts that she’s not feeling normal and takes a break from what she’s doing — whether that means shutting off her phone and taking a moment to sit in silence by herself, or spending time with her husband, former President Barack Obama, and their two college-age daughters, Malia and Sasha.

[From People]

Micelle O said keeping a regular schedule helps. She said her sleep pattern has been affected, waking throughout the night worrying about one thing or another. As many of us know, a disrupted sleep pattern only feeds anything working against our mental health, which leads to further sleep disruption – it’s a vicious cycle. So Michelle is trying to get in a workout (of course!) every day and she’s having the family keep regular dinner schedules. She acknowledged that they live a different sort of existence and that the White House years trained them to operate as a unit, but her advice is still solid. I think schedules keep the days from seeming endless and having the family come together without any outside influences is a good way to take a beat.

The part that stood out to me the most was Michelle O saying she, “has had to give myself … those days, those moments.” Allowing myself “moments” is an idea I’m trying to lean into. Part of the issue with, you now, everything, is that everyone is suffering. In addition to simply being a miserable statistic, I feel like I shouldn’t really complain or give into self-pity because so many have it the same or worse. I need to find a way to give myself permission to have a moment.

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