Former first lady Michelle Obama claimed that she has been suffering from “low-grade depression” recently, and pinpointed the Trump administration’s response to the nation’s racial problems as a cause.
During an interview on her new podcast with Washington Post columnist Michele Norris, Obama said that, like many Americans, the coronavirus pandemic and the turmoil roiling the nation since George Floyd’s death have led her to some low points.
“There have been periods throughout this quarantine where I just have felt too low,” Obama said. “You know, I’ve gone through those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels, where you just don’t feel yourself.”
Claiming she has been experiencing sleep disturbances, Obama continued, “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.”
“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,” she said. “It has led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life — in, in a while.”
We’ve all been dealing with a lot of change in our lives and our communities. And I couldn't think of anyone better to talk to about this moment then my friend, @michele_norris. You can listen now on @Spotify: https://t.co/9GyFmLFAid #MichelleObamaPodcast pic.twitter.com/fmdOuJlsRO
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) August 5, 2020
According to the World Health Organization, “reports already indicate an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety in a number of countries” amid the coronavirus pandemic. Substance abuse has also increased, WHO said, with “statistics from Canada [reporting] that 20% of 15-49 year-olds have increased their alcohol consumption during the pandemic.”
With her criticism, Michelle Obama joined her husband, President Barack Obama, who has also recently been speaking out to hit at his successor. During last week’s funeral for Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in Atlanta, Obama’s eulogy for the late congressman took a political turn when he began to criticize President Donald Trump without mentioning him by name.
“There are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities, and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the postal service in the run up to an election that’s going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don’t get sick,” Obama said.
In a private phone call with Democratic donors last Tuesday, the former president bashed Trump’s base and said that the thought of voter suppression keeps him up at night. He even seemingly alluded to Nazi Germany to warn about what he believes could be coming if Trump is not stopped. “The endpoint of that we saw in Europe 60 years ago, 70 years ago — what happens when those things get unleashed,” he said. “You don’t nip that in the bud, bad things can happen. Among the most quote unquote civilized societies.”