Michelle Obama Opens Up About Her Mental Health And Depression

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is often seen smiling and laughing in photographs, and she seems to have it all. She and her husband, former President Barack Obama, have two wonderful daughters Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22, and they have transitioned from living in the White House to a more private life post-presidency. However, Michelle Obama opened up about experiencing some "low-grade depression" amid the COVID-19 pandemic (via CNN). She is definitely not alone. According to a Boston University study, depression rates in the U.S. tripled among adults during quarantine (via Science Daily). 

In her "The Michelle Obama Podcast," the former first lady got candid and vulnerable about her feelings. "I'm waking up in the middle of the night because I'm worrying about something or there's a heaviness," she said (via CNN). "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." Obama also pointed to how disheartening it was to see how many in the U.S. chose not to wear masks. "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," she said.

Here's what made Michelle Obama feel low

Michelle Obama expressed that another source of her sadness was "the racial strife" in the country. "Waking up to the news ... 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," she said (via Women's Health). "It has led to a weight that I haven't felt in my life in a while." 

After her candid admission, many people reached out to check on the "Becoming" author, and she took to Instagram to check in and assuage their fears. "First things first — I'm doing just fine," she wrote. "There's no reason to worry about me." She wisely encouraged people to be honest about the way they're feeling instead of pretending that everything is fine all the time. "I hope you all are allowing yourselves to feel whatever it is you're feeling," she continued in her post. "I hope you're listening to yourselves and taking a moment to reflect on everything that's coming at us, and what you might be able to do about it. And to all of you who've reached out — thank you. I hope you're also reaching out to all those you're closest with, not just with a text, but maybe with a call or a video chat. Don't be afraid to offer them a shoulder to lean on, or to ask for one yourself."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.