Michelle Obama has promised admirers that she is ‘doing just fine’ and there is ‘no reason to worry’ about her after she opened up about suffering from ‘low-grade depression’ in the latest episode of her podcast.
The 56-year-old had discussed her mental state in episode two of ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’ on Spotify in a conversation with NPR’s Michele Norris, speaking candidly about how how ‘exhausting’ and ‘dispiriting’ it is to watch how the President responds — or doesn’t respond at all — to ‘yet another story’ of a black man or person being hurt or killed.
But after ‘a lot of people’ reached out to her to express concern, the former first lady took to Instagram on Thursday to reassure everyone that she is OK, and that she thinks the e idea that we ‘should just feel OK all the time’ doesn’t feel ‘real.’
Michelle shared a black-and-white photo of herself sitting outside writing, which was taken by Adam Garber, the Obama Administration’s Video Director for the Office of Digital Strategy.
‘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,’ she wrote.
‘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 went on.
‘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.
‘And to all of you who’ve reached out — thank you,’ she wrote. ‘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 videochat. Don’t be afraid to offer them a shoulder to lean on, or to ask for one yourself. Love you all.’
Earlier in the week, Michelle had released episode two of her podcast, in which she admitted that she is ‘dealing with some form of low-grade depression’ because of the pandemic, racial strife, and the ‘hypocrisy’ of the Trump administration.
During the conversation, Michelle gets candid about her ’emotional highs and lows,’ saying, ‘Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times.
She said she is battling some form of 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.
‘I don’t think I’m unusual, in that,’ she added. ‘But I’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.’
But she added ‘spirit is lifted’ when she feels healthy and surrounds herself with good people, like family and friends.
‘I reach out to my family, and to my friends, even in this time of quarantine. You know, I fought to continue to find a way to stay connected to the people in my life who bring me joy, and my girlfriends, my husband, my kids,’ she said.
‘It’s the small things, small rituals [that make a difference],’ she said.
The former first lady she learned to stick to a routine in the White House, but lately it’s been difficult, and it is affecting her sleep.
‘I’m waking up in the middle of the night, ’cause I’m worrying about something or there’s a heaviness,’ she said.
‘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.
‘You know, I’ve gone through those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels, where you just don’t feel yourself, and sometimes there’s been a week or so where I had to surrender to that, and not be so hard on myself. And say, “You know what? You’re just not feeling that treadmill right now.”
‘You have to recognize that you’re in a place, a bad place, in order to get out of it. So you kinda have to sit in it for a minute, to know, oh, oh, I’m feeling off. So now I gotta, I gotta feed myself with something better,’ she added.
Michelle and Michele also broached the subject of racism in America, with Obama saying: ‘We talk about white women clutching their purses at the sight of us, or feeling uncomfortable when we walk in the store, but I wonder, do you know how afraid we are?’
Obama’s first guest on the premiere episode of her podcast on July 29 was her husband former President Barack Obama whom she called the ‘eternal “Yes, we can” man.’
Barack celebrated his 59th birthday on August 4, prompting his wife to share a photo of her ‘favorite guy’ and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, when they were kids.
Michelle said she invited Barack to be her first guest ‘because he’s navigated these questions throughout the course of his life. In many ways, you can see his entire career as a constant conversation and evolution with his relationship to a larger and larger community.’
During the episode, the couple talk about the differences in their childhoods, with Barack teasing Michelle that her upbringing was ‘black “Leave It to Beavers”… only thing missing was the dog.’
They also discuss the coronavirus pandemic, with Michelle saying, ‘Like most Americans, we’ve been spending a lot of time together in quarantine.
‘I’ve been having a great time. But we’ve had some interesting conversations… because these are some crazy times,’ she tells him.
The episode also explores the protest movement sparked by the death of George Floyd.
‘Given everything that’s going on right now, from the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the ongoing protests and conversations that are testing our patience — and our consciences… not to mention all the challenges we’re experiencing due to the pandemic, I think that these days, a lot of people are questioning just where and how they can fit into a community,’ Mrs. Obama says.
Future episodes will cover many other topics, from light to serious, including parenting, self-care, marriage, mentorship, family, and civil duty.
Upcoming guests are set to include Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson, and her brother, Craig Robinson.
In a preview clip that Mrs. Obama shared on Instagram on July 24, Craig can be heard saying that he is the one who managed to convince their mother to move to the White House ‘because I’m her favorite.’
More guests slated to appear include comedian Conan O’Brien in episode six, Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett in episode eight, and Michelle’s friends Kelly Dibble, Denielle Pemberton-Heard, and Dr. Sharon Malone in episode five.
She’ll also speak to Chynna Clayton, Yene Damtew, and Kristin Jones.
‘I can’t wait for you all to hear the conversations I’ve been having for the #MichelleObamaPodcast,’ Michelle tweeted.
The podcast is produced by Higher Ground Productions, the company formed by the Obamas in 2018, which has also made content deals with Netflix.