Former first lady Michelle Obama recently spoke again about her struggle with depression and offered Americans advice for how to cope with such feelings.
Speaking during Tuesday’s episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” host Stephen Colbert asked Obama about previous comments she made last summer regarding what she described as a “low-grade depression,” which she blamed in part on former President Donald Trump’s response to the country’s racial unrest.
“It’s very common for people this year — very common in general, but especially this year — but how’d you cope with it, and why just low-grade?” Colbert asked. “Because I get the high-octane.”
“This is a part of life,” Obama replied. “Nobody rides life on a high. And I think it’s important for young people to know that. It’s like, no, you’re not going to feel great all the time. There are moments in all of our lives, particularly in the middle of a pandemic and racial unrest, you’re gonna feel a kind of way about it, so give yourself a break.”
“Being 57, I know that that’s true. Over the course of your adulthood, you develop your own tools, and for me, it’s turning off the noise that is upsetting,” she continued. “Knowing that I can’t keep reading all the feeds that are fueling my anxiety and taking a break from it. I did that as first lady. There were just times that I couldn’t hear the bad news about the country that I had to serve. Because I know that the news is not a full reflection of what the country is …”
“I pull back from it,” Obama said of the news media, which she claims tend to awfulize coverage to make money. “I surround myself with things that make me feel good: Family, friends, walks, exercise. So when I talk to my kids about that, I try to urge them to understand that the valleys are temporary and so are the peaks. They can be temporary. And they have to be prepared to handle the highs and the lows.”
Obama has repeatedly talked about her depression during the past year. “Depression is understandable during these times,” Obama said during an interview with People in March.
Mentioning specifically the death of George Floyd, who died last May in the custody of Minneapolis police, Obama described 2020 as “a time when a lot of hard stuff was going on.”
“We had the continued killing of black men at the hands of police,” Obama continued. “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,” she added. “I 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.”
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