Woman describes the 'Impossible Task' when suffering from depression, and thousands can relate

For those suffering from depression, the “Impossible Task” can be just about anything. (Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images)
For those suffering from depression, the “Impossible Task” can be just about anything. (Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in America. The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults experienced a depressive episode in 2016, and while many symptoms, like having a feeling of “emptiness,” a loss of interest in hobbies, and irritability may be easily spotted, there is one sign that could slip under the radar of caring friends, family, and health providers.

M. Molly Backes, an author, tweeted this week about a symptom that many who have depression could relate to — the “sneaky symptom” that she calls the “Impossible Task.” Her tweet has been liked by more than 15,000 people, and inspired more than 7,100 comments.

Backes writes that the Impossible Task could be anything, from going to the bank to making your bed. To outsiders, it’s something that should be simple, but a person suffering from depression simply can’t follow through on the task at hand.

The Impossible Task doesn’t just frustrate the person who is experiencing depression, but it can put their loved ones on edge too, with their inaction seen as laziness or procrastination. At the same time, a person with depression may be mentally beating themselves up about their inability to do the simple task.

Backes offers this advice: “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 a**hole. 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.”

The writer also offers advice to those who have friends who seem to have an Impossible Task they can’t conquer: “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.”

If you’re facing your own Impossible Task, know that you aren’t alone in that struggle.

If you or someone you know needs help, please text Crisis Text Line at 741741, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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