Michelle Obama Says She's 'Doing Just Fine' After Opening Up About 'Low-Grade Depression'

"The idea that what this country is going through shouldn't have any effect on us — that we all should just feel OK all the time — that just doesn't feel real to me," Michelle Obama said on Instagram Thursday

Michelle Obama Visits The Tacoma Public Library
Former First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo: Jim Bennett/Getty

Michelle Obama is assuring her podcast listeners that she is "doing just fine" after opening up about "dealing with some form of low-grade depression" in this week's episode.

Sharing a black-and-white photo of herself journaling on an outdoor patio on Instagram, the former first lady encouraged people to allow themselves to "feel whatever it is you’re feeling" during the novel coronavirus pandemic, nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism and a turbulent election year.

"I just wanted to check in with you all because a lot of you have been checking in on me after hearing this week’s podcast," Michelle, 56, wrote in the caption for the photo.

"First things first — I’m doing just fine. There’s no reason to worry about me. Like I said in that conversation with @Michele__Norris, I’m thinking about the folks out there risking themselves for the rest of us — the doctors and nurses and essential workers of all kinds. I’m thinking about the teachers and students and parents who are just trying to figure out school for the fall. I’m thinking about the people out there protesting and organizing for a little more justice in our country."

"The idea that what this country is going through shouldn’t have any effect on us—that we all should just feel OK all the time — that just doesn’t feel real to me," she continued. "So I hope you all are allowing yourselves to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. 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."

The Becoming author concluded by thanking those who have reached out to her, and encouraged them to reach out to "all those you’re closest with, not just with a text, but maybe with a call or a videochat. Don’t be afraid to offer them a shoulder to lean on, or to ask for one yourself. Love you all."

In the latest episode of her new podcast, The Michelle Obama Podcast, Michelle spoke with former NPR host Michele Norris about the "emotional highs and lows" of the past several months.

"Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times," Michelle said during their conversation. "So, I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression."

She 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 [Donald Trump's] administration, watching the hypocrisy of it day-in and day-out, is dispiriting."

Michelle said that sticking to a routine has been helpful, and that she and her husband, former President Barack Obama, and their daughters Malia and Sasha make a it a point to sit down for dinner together every night.

"Puzzles have become big," Michelle told Norris in Wednesday's podcast episode of the family's quarantine activities. "The girls are into them. We’re all sitting on the floor around the table where the puzzle is now permanently set up and then we sit down for dinner and we talk some more."

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia and Sasha
From left: Malia, Barack, Michelle and Sasha Obama at the White House. Pete Souza/The White House via Getty

She added that Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, have been playing the card game spades with Barack, 59 — and that they have a "vicious competition."

"They wouldn’t have sat down, but for this quarantine, to learn how to play a card game with their dad," she said.

Despite the turbulent times, Michelle offered some words of hope to listeners.

"We will get through this," she said. "The thing we have to remember is we've been through tough times in this nation. We are in a unique moment in history. We are living through something that no one in our lifetimes has lived through it."

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