Nicola Sturgeon said the past nine months have been the hardest of her life as she conceded public figures seldom reveal their personal vulnerabilities.
In her conference address to SNP members on Monday, Scotland’s first minister admitted to “dark days and sleepless nights” during the pandemic.
Her comments strike a similar tone to those made by Michelle Obama in August when the former US first lady referred to experiencing “low-grade depression” during the pandemic and in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Sturgeon has previously said she has been “scunnered” by Covid-19, which hit Scotland in March.
More than 5,000 people are recorded as dying with confirmed or suspected coronavirus in Scotland since then.
Sturgeon said politicians “usually run a mile from admitting human frailty”.
She said: “I don’t mind saying that these last nine months have been the hardest of my life.
“I’ve had many dark days and sleepless nights, struggling with the horrendous choices the pandemic has forced upon us.
“At times I’ve felt completely overwhelmed – as I’m sure many of you have.
“I feel a deep sadness for the lives that have been lost. Not a single day passes that I don’t think of families who are grieving.”
While the first minister said she has “done my best to get these decisions as right as I can”, she admitted there have been mistakes and she takes that responsibility on her own shoulders.
“The responsibility for that is mine and mine alone,” she said.
“I feel it deeply and I always will,” she told delegates.
While admitting mistakes had been made in the approach of the Scottish government, she said refusing to do anything would have been far worse.
Sturgeon said: “Like governments everywhere, ours has had to wrestle with almost impossible decisions.
“Every action necessary to reduce the harm of the virus and save lives puts jobs and businesses on the line and causes suffering in so many other ways.
“But without those necessary measures, more lives will be lost.”
Speaking on The Michelle Obama Podcast, the former first lady told journalist Michele Norris: “I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression.
“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.”