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Michelle Obama reveals ‘low-grade’ depression on podcast episode

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LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 05: Former First Lady of The United States Michelle Obama speaks on stage at The United State of Women Summit 2018 – Day 1 on May 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Michelle Obama has worn many hats throughout her accomplished life. Her latest venture is as a podcaster. In the first episode of “The Michelle Obama Podcast” on Spotify, she and her husband, Barack Obama, talked about the values they’d developed in their childhoods and how their families inspired their commitment to public service.

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On the second podcast, Obama, 56, whose memoir “Becoming” is among the top-selling memoirs of all time, revealed that she sometimes struggles with her mental health along with millions of other Americans.

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Michelle Obama at the 2019 Essence Festival (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

In her sit-down with former NPR host and journalist Michele Norris, Obama acknowledged that these are “not fulfilling times spiritually. So I know I’m dealing with some kind 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 and the day in and day out is dispiriting.”

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As the nation’s former first lady, Obama would certainly seem to have the best view of what a fully functioning presidency looks like. So seeing what appears to be our democracy under siege, as well as many of the programs and protocols her husband established, must be especially hard for her to take.

“I’d be remiss to say that part of this depression is also that what we’re seeing, in terms of the protests and the continued racial strife that has plagued this country since its birth,” she said.

“I have to say that waking up to the news and waking up to how this administration has or has not responded, waking up to the news of another Black man or Black person somehow being dehumanized or hurt or killed or falsely accused of something, it is exhausting.”

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Obama declared that she finds herself in an unusual position given the barrage of recent bad news feels unrelenting.

“For me, it has led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life in a while,” she continued.

“So for me, my spirit is lifted when I am feeling healthy, when I am surrounded by good people.”

The former first lady has reached out to loved ones.

“So I reach out to my family and my friends and even in this time of quarantine, I fought to continue to find a way to stay connected to the people in my life who bring me joy – my girlfriends, my husband, my kids. It’s the small things, it’s the rituals,” she said.

As presidential presumptive nominee Joe Biden continues to vet a VP candidate, Obama is the people’s choice as a possible running mate. But as she’s made clear multiple times, that’s a non-starter.

“All the time,” she said when asked on The Jimmy Kimmel Show in 2018 if she’d been asked about the possibility.

“But I’ve never had any serious conversations with anyone about it because it’s not something I’m interested in or would ever do. Ever.”

In her post-White House civilian life, Obama and her husband have signed a content creation deal with Netflix which lead to the Academy Award-winning documentary American Factory. They’ve worked on other projects, including the Obama Foundation’s annual summit, intended to provide support for young people looking to serve in public life and the continuation of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that began while he was still in office.

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The former FLOTUS also toured the U.S. and select global cities for her bestselling book “Becoming” and released a companion volume, “Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice” last year. “The Michelle Obama Podcast” launched last month on Spotify and is set to champion Obama’s efforts in public service with an emphasis on empowering women.

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A girl scoots past a mural of Michelle Obama in Brixton on June 24, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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