Michelle Obama explains she's dealing with 'low-grade depression' during the pandemic

"There have been periods throughout this quarantine where I just have felt too low."
/ Source: TODAY

Michelle Obama is opening up about suffering from "low-grade depression" amid recent current events.

On the most recent episode of her new Spotify podcast, "The Michelle Obama Podcast," the former first lady, 56, revealed, “I'm waking up in the middle of the night because I'm worrying about something or there's a heaviness.”

"There have been periods throughout this quarantine where I just have felt too low. I've gone through those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels where you just don't feel yourself," she said in the new episode, that featured award-winning journalist Michele Norris as a guest.

"Sometimes, there's been a week or so where I had to surrender to that and not be so hard on myself... It is unusual and it is a direct result of just being out of body, out of mind. Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times."

The "Becoming" author also opened up about how the protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd and the current administration's handling of racial injustice in this country have impacted her state of mind.

"Seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it — day in and day out — is dispiriting. So I've had to kind of give myself that, those days, those moments," she explained. "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."

"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 continued. "It has led to a weight that I haven't felt in my life in a while."

But as difficult as these current events have been for people around the world and for her to witness, Obama explained she is "heartened" by the young people protesting for what they believe in.

"I am heartened by the depth, the sustained vigor, the diversity, the peaceful nature of these protests," she said. "That helps me sleep at night. That reminds me of the truth. No matter how I feel or what my lull is, we are making progress. There is that truth."

She also shared what is helping her get through this tough time, including "staying in a routine, getting a workout in, trying to get outside."

"Schedule is key and trying to have a regular dinner time. I'm finding that in quarantine we look forward to that," she said. "My spirit is lifted when I am feeling healthy, when I am surrounded by good people."

She says quarantining with her husband, former President Barack Obama, and their two daughters, Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22, has helped lift her spirits during these unprecedented times.

"You kinda have to sit in it for a minute, to know, 'oh oh, I'm feeling off,'" she reflects. "I gotta feed myself with something better. And sometimes for me, that means turning it off. It means turning off the phone, not taking in the news, because it is negative energy."

"Sometimes we feel like that's irresponsible, to just cut off, and I think it is if you do it over a long term. But for me, for my mental health, there's some times I cannot look. I need to just take a moment, and to just not look. For a second."