After sharing that she's been "dealing with some form of low-grade depression" during the coronavirus pandemic on the most recent episode of her podcast, the former first lady assured everyone that is she is "doing just fine" in a comforting and encouraging message on Instagram. In it, Michelle Obama also shared that she's feeling for parents and teachers "just trying to figure out school" this fall as states continue to battle recent spikes in cases across the country.
"I just wanted to check in with you all because a lot of you have been checking in on me after hearing this week’s podcast," Obama began in a message shared on Thursday. "First things first — I’m doing just fine. There’s no reason to worry about me."
A day earlier, Obama sat down for a chat with her longtime friend and host of NPR's All Things Considered, Michele Norris for an episode of her podcast, The Michelle Obama Podcast. The two women talked about a lot of the same things we are all talking about right now: How they are surviving quarantine and the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and the country's long history of systemic racism. "I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression," the Becoming author admitted. "Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife, and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting."
After letting her concerned followers and listeners know that she is OK, Obama went on to say she's thinking about others. "I’m thinking about the folks out there risking themselves for the rest of us — the doctors and nurses and essential workers of all kinds," she wrote on Instagram. "I’m thinking about the teachers and students and parents who are just trying to figure out school for the fall. I’m thinking about the people out there protesting and organizing for a little more justice in our country."
Across the country, parents and teachers are facing an incredibly difficult decision for the upcoming school year. For starters, reopening plans are different from state to state in addition to district to district. Remote learning has been an exhausting and difficult experience for parents, students, and teachers. And for those who plan to return to the classroom, there are so many new concerns about what that will look like. Wearing masks, enforcing physical distancing, regularly sanitizing, worrying about the possibility of kids spreading or contracting the virus... It's a lot to consider.
In her post, Obama said she hopes people know that it's OK to feel like it's all too much because, in this bizarre moment in history, it is.
"The idea that what this country is going through shouldn’t have any effect on us — that we all should just feel OK all the time — that just doesn’t feel real to me," she wrote. "So I hope you all are allowing yourselves to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. I hope you’re listening to yourselves and taking a moment to reflect on everything that’s coming at us, and what you might be able to do about it."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.