Michelle Obama Says She Has ‘Low-Grade Depression’

by : Emily Brown on : 06 Aug 2020 08:12
PA Images

Michelle Obama has opened up about how current events have affected her mental health and caused her to suffer ‘low-grade depression’. 

The former First Lady commented on her experiences during the latest episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, in which she welcomed US journalist Michele Norris to the show.


The pair touched on a number of ongoing issues, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the fight against racial injustice and the ‘hypocrisy’ of the Trump administration, all of which Obama said contributed to her struggling.

In the episode, released on Wednesday, August 5, the host reflected on the change her family and others have had to deal with as a result of the pandemic, and explained she had been experiencing ’emotional highs and lows’.

Obama commented:


These are not, they 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.

She went on to say she wasn’t ‘unusual’ in her feelings, but she contributed her depression further to the ‘continued racial unrest that has plagued this country since its birth’.

Obama continued:


I’ve gone through those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels, where you just don’t feel yourself, and sometimes … there has been a week or so where I had to surrender to that, and not be so hard on myself.

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 dehumanised, or hurt or killed, or, falsely accused of something, it is exhausting. And, and it, it has led to a weight, that I haven’t felt in my life, in, in a while.

She touched on how her sleep had been affected by the current events, admitting she’d been waking up in the middle of the night ’cause I’m worrying about something, or there’s a heaviness’.

Data from Census Bureau, cited by Business Insider, indicates Obama is one of many struggling at the moment as it revealed a third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barack Obama and MichellePA Images

However, Obama said having a schedule has helped her cope, explaining that she and her family typically spend time together every evening after working separately throughout the day.

The former First Lady added that her greatest hope is that people ‘reach for better’ in the future.

If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Celebrity, Barack Obama, Black Lives Matter, Coronavirus, depression, Michelle Obama, Now, Racism


Business Insider and 1 other
  1. Business Insider

    Michelle Obama says she's dealing with 'low-grade depression' because of COVID-19, racial strife, and the Trump administration

  2. The Michelle Obama Podcast

    The Michelle Obama Podcast