This Woman Explained A Lesser Known Symptom Of Depression & It's Something We All Miss Out On

This Woman Explained A Lesser Known Symptom Of Depression & It's Something We All Miss Out On

The Impossible task could be something we've done several times, and this is why people find it hard to sympathize with it.

Image Source: Twitter/ M. Molly Backes

Mental illness is just as serious as any other illness and needs to be treated with proper medical care. Sometimes, you have no idea what's happening and even the smallest thing can seem so overwhelming, and that's exactly what writer M. Molly Backes talks about through a Twitter thread that has now gone viral. She talks about a symptom of depression that not everyone knows about, but many can relate with. She talks about coming across an “impossible” task, something that could be quite minor, like a chore or an errand, that seems too overwhelming to deal with. 


However, the longer you put the task off, the more impossible it seems to become, and after a while, it seems like you have a whole home filled with such tasks. Molly wrote: "Depression commercials always talk about sadness but they never mention that sneaky symptoms that everyone with depression knows all too well: the Impossible Task." She then proceeds to explain the Tweet, writing: "The Impossible Task could be anything: going to the bank, refilling a prescription, making your bed, checking your email, paying a bill. From the outside, its sudden impossibility makes ZERO sense."


Also, she mentions how people can be insensitive about mental health. "The Impossible Task is rarely actually difficult. It’s something you’ve done a thousand times. For this reason, it’s hard for outsiders to have sympathy. “Why don’t you just do it & get it over with?” “It would take you like 20 minutes & then it would be done.” OH, WE KNOW." Of course, the voices in your brain are of no help as they keep screaming about how incompetent you are. 


"If you’re grappling with an Impossible Task, you already have these conversations happening in your brain. Plus, there’s probably an even more helpful voice in your brain reminding you of what a screw up you are for not being able to do this seemingly very simple thing." But, as Molly says, these tasks can actually change you. "Another cool thing about the Impossible Task is that it changes on you. One time it might involve calling someone, but maybe you can work around it by emailing. Another time it’s an email issue. Then when you think you have it pinned down, you suddenly can’t do the dishes."


She advises people to be gentle with themselves. "If you currently have one or more Impossible Tasks in your life, be gentle with yourself. You’re not a screw up; depression is just an asshole. Impossible Tasks are usually so dumb that it’s embarrassing to ask for help, but the people who love you should be glad to lend a hand." If you know someone battling depression, ask them if you can help. Every small gesture matters to them. "If you have a depressed person in your life, ask them what their Impossible Tasks are & figure out ways to help—without judgment. A friend once picked me up, drove me the two blocks to the pharmacy, & came in to help me refill a prescription. TWO BLOCKS. It was an amazing gift."


"The one good thing about struggling with Impossible Tasks is that they help you to be gentler & more empathetic with other people in your life because you know what it’s like. You know. The trick is to turn that gentleness & empathy toward yourself." Now, it's not all that bad, is it? Also, as Molly clarified, "1) "Impossible Task" is not an official name, just what I've always called it. A psychiatrist might use the term "executive dysfunction." 2) Experiencing this does not necessarily mean you're depressed; it can be a side effect of many conditions."


She also gave out some amazing life advice: "Take care of yourself, even if that means cutting major corners in your life, or not being "productive," or living on Netflix & takeout for a while. It's okay. And try to let others take care of you, too, even when you don't believe you deserve it. Remember that people want to help you because they love you, & allowing them to do something for you is its own form of kindness. Don't rob your friends of the chance to feel good by helping you do something that's impossible for you but a cinch for them!"


Finally, she posted that in no way should you ever think about giving up. "Whenever you're tempted to beat yourself up for being "lazy," remember that you fought harder to get out of bed & get yourself dressed today than the average person could even imagine. You're not lazy. Your mountains are just that much steeper. Keep going. Some days are just impossible! And you *could* fail, but that's okay. Personally, I think we should all practice failing more often, so the fear of it stops having such power over us." 


Recommended for you