"We've learned to count our blessings, the importance of health and family, " she illuminated.
2020 was a challenging year for a lot of us. Many of us had to confront difficult emotions, feelings, and thoughts all while not being able to see many of our loved ones. Political issues around the world were also distressing. Thankfully, in recent years there's been more openness to talk about how we feel and learn to put our mental health as a priority. Even celebrities are talking about mental health like Former first lady Michelle Obama who is also encouraging people to do the same. She admitted recently that she struggled with low-grade depression during the Covid-19 pandemic. By sharing her story, she's erasing the stigma around talking about mental health issues. It's clearly time people speak more openly about their mental health and not be shamed for it.
Michelle Obama Talks Her COVID Year: Unexpected Blessings, Quarantine Hobbies & Depression and What’s Next https://t.co/90HbEd1DHt pic.twitter.com/yFD7clTQGd— People (@people) March 10, 2021
"Depression is understandable in these circumstances, during these times," she said in an interview with PEOPLE. "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." "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," Obama said. In the midst of it all, she tries to find the silver lining. "These have been challenging times. Many people have struggled: jobs lost, people going hungry," she said. "We've learned to count our blessings, the importance of health and family."
Former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and their daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, isolated together between their home in Washington, D.C., and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. The former FLOTUS was glad to have the time to spend with her family. "This time has allowed us to get some stolen moments back with our girls," Mrs. Obama shared. "Those recaptured moments have meant the world to us and I think they've made our relationships with our children even stronger. There's something about witnessing your children become adults and developing a different relationship with them," she added. "They didn't come back into the house into the same set of rules, because I didn't want them to miss out on independence. They came back as young women and our conversations are more peer-oriented than they are mother-to-daughter."
Of her darker days, she said that last year was indeed challenging. "That was during a time when a lot of hard stuff was going on. 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. Depression is understandable during these times. 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. This is what mental health is. You have highs and lows," she continued. "What I have said to my daughters is that one of the things that is getting me through is that I'm old enough to know that things will get better." She added, "There is light at the end of the tunnel."
Thank you @MichelleObama for your leadership and courage opening up to talk about #mentalhealth— Ben Miller (@miller7) March 10, 2021
"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" https://t.co/KGDIc1TueG
The pandemic has resulted in a mental health crisis in America with a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey in August revealing that nearly 41 percent of respondents reported mental health issues stemming from the pandemic. Along with the economic fallout, it is believed that at least 1 in 3 Americans said they had experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression. If you feel like your mental health is taking a hit, it's okay to ask for help... remember that you're not alone.
Whether you're feeling lonely or helpless, don't forget that your loved ones are only a call away. We will get through these trying times with hope, solidarity and kindness. #Covid19 | #mentalhealth pic.twitter.com/7b12RhIVqg— UN Women (@UN_Women) March 10, 2021
If you are having thoughts about taking your own life or know of anyone who is, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Spencer Platt