Michelle Obama has understandably been more candid since leaving the White House and has scored many incredible opportunities in streaming, publishing and more.
But even her success isn’t keeping her from dealing with low-grade depression. During an interview with PEOPLE, the former first lady opened up about mental health.
“Depression is understandable in these circumstances, during these times,” she told the outlet.
“To think that somehow that we can just continue to rise above all the shock and the trauma and the upheaval that we have been experiencing without feeling it in that way is just unrealistic.”
She added via a video on PEOPLE’s website: “This is one of the reasons why we need to talk more about mental health because everybody deals with trauma, anxiety, the difficulties in different ways.”
The coronavirus pandemic has brought about both a financial and mental health crisis in America. According to an August survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 41 percent of respondents reported mental health issues stemming from COVID-19. Around 1 in 3 Americans say they had experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Via her podcast last summer, Mrs. Obama also revealed she was suffering from “low-grade depression” from the pandemic as well as the racial reckoning and political strife taking place in the country.
Obama told PEOPLE she “needed to acknowledge what I was going through, because a lot of times we feel like we have to cover that part of ourselves up, that we always have to rise above and look as if we’re not paddling hard underneath the water.”
She added, “We had the continued killing of Black men at the hands of police. Just seeing the video of George Floyd, experiencing that eight minutes. That’s a lot to take on, not to mention being in the middle of a quarantine.”
“These have been challenging times. Many people have struggled: jobs lost, people going hungry,” she concluded. “We’ve learned to count our blessings, the importance of health and family.”
Read the full interview, here.