Since leaving her life in the White House, former first lady Michelle Obama has been unabashedly open about her personal life. From writing about her marriage in her recent book Becoming to speaking out about our current president, Obama is unleashing her truth in so many ways. Recently, she revealed during an episode of her podcast that, like most of us, she’s been dealing with “some form of low-grade depression” thanks in part to recent events.
During last week’s Wednesday episode of her eponymous podcast, Obama talked with journalist Michele Norris about her mental health saying “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 — in order to stay sane and feel like the human that you once were — is that you have to have a schedule and a routine.”
Speaking out about her current mental state Obama revealed that she has struggled to keep up with her usual regimen.
“I’m waking up in the middle of the night, ‘cause I’m worried about something or there’s a heaviness,” she explained. “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.”
“It is unusual,” Obama went on. “And it’s a direct result of being out of body, out of mind. Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times. 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.”
Later on in the podcast, Obama explained she’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. And it has led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life, in a while.”
According to research, Obama’s not the only one feeling the “psychological toll” of the pandemic and BLM events.
The Lancet Psychiatry, revealed that soon after the release of the video taken during George Floyd’s killing, rates of depression and anxiety among Black Americans skyrocketed at ones much greater than any other group.
According to The Washington Post “The rate of black Americans showing clinically significant signs of anxiety or depressive disorders jumped from 36 percent to 41 percent in the week after the video of Floyd’s death became public. That represents roughly 1.4 million more people.”
To cope, Obama explained that she’s tried to be kind to herself in moments when she’s feeling down.
“You have to recognize that you’re in a place, a bad place, in order to get out of it,” she explained in the episode. “You kinda have to sit in it for a minute, to know, oh, oh, I’m feeling off. So now I gotta feed myself with something better.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing depression please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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