Donald Elley of Bellingen:

Michelle Obama: “Donald Trump has given me depression”.

Donald Trump: “Fixing Barrack Obama and Joe Biden’s America is a great privilege”.

The Times London

Michelle Obama says she’s suffering depression due to Covid, racism

and Donald Trump

Former US first lady Michelle Obama meets with fans during a book signing for her memoir ‘Becoming’ at a bookstore in Washington, DC. The word’s most admired woman has revealed she is suffering from low-grade depression, during the latest episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast. Picture: AFP.

Michelle Obama has said that she has “low-grade depression” because of the pandemic, racial injustice and the “hypocrisy” of the Trump administration.

The former first lady, who is 56, said that she had been managing “emotional highs and lows”.

“I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression,” she said on her new podcast. “Not just because of the quarantine but because of the racial strife, and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in day out, is dispiriting.”

Mrs Obama said that she had been waking in the night “because I’m worrying about something, or there’s a heaviness”. Being “out of body and out of mind” had affected her motivation to exercise, she added. “I’ve gone through those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels, where you just don’t feel yourself, and sometimes … there has been a week or so where I had to surrender to that, and not be so hard on myself.

One of the many frustrating things to watch in this pandemic is the people who are not willing to make the sacrifice even of wearing a mask or staying at home, because they don’t see the virus or it didn’t impact them.”

Michelle Obama says one of the many frustrating things to watch during the pandemic is the people who are not willing to make the sacrifice even of wearing a mask or staying at home. Pictured are People, few wearing face masks, walking on the boardwalk at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, near the border of Massachusetts, as COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Picture: AFP

In May the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody in Minneapolis prompted a national debate about race. Mrs Obama said: “Waking up to yet another story of a black man or a black person somehow being dehumanised, or killed, or falsely accused of something, it is exhausting. And it has led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life in a while.”

The findings of a Census Bureau survey published in May suggested that one in three Americans had symptoms of depression or anxiety, more than three times the rate when the survey was conducted last year.

A demonstrator during a Black Lives Matter protest against racial injustice and police brutality in La Mesa, California. Obama says ongoing racism in the US “has led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life in a while.” Picture: AFP

Since leaving the White House in 2017 Mrs Obama has published a best-selling memoir and released a documentary on Netflix. A poll of more than 42,000 people from 41 countries by YouGov in July last year found that she was the world’s most-admired woman.

The cover of Michelle Obama’s best-selling memoir, Becoming. Picture: Supplied

Joe Biden, 77, the Democratic presidential candidate and her husband’s former vice-president, is eager for Mrs Obama to lend him her star power. Her impact may be blunted by the virtual nature of the campaign, however. Some Democrats have tried to persuade her to put herself in the running for the vice-presidency, although she has shown no interest in seeking office.

Mrs Obama also discussed how she had spent her time during the lockdown with Mr Obama, 59, and their daughters, Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19. They spend time alone during the day but come together in the evening for dinner and games, she said. “Barack’s in his office making calls, working on his book. I’m in my room, the girls are on their computers. But around five o’clock, everybody comes out of their nooks and we do an activity, like puzzles have become big, just sitting and doing these thousand-piece puzzles. The girls are just into them, and we’re all sitting on the floor around a table where the puzzle is now permanently set up.”

Barack Obama was the first guest on his wife’s podcast. Picture: AFP

Mr Obama’s memoir about his eight years in the White House was planned for release last year but is now expected next year. He has been writing by hand on legal pads, the same technique he used for many White House speeches and for his pre-presidential bestseller Dreams from My Father.