This woman's post about a commonly-overlooked symptom of depression is going seriously viral
With the news that around 6 per cent of Australians will experience depression this year alone, it's evident that more needs to be done to catch the onset of the mental health illness. While we know the most common symptoms of depression - including feelings of worthlessness, lethargy and tearfulness - others are rarely spoken about, in advocacy groups or in general.
Author Molly Backes took to Twitter this week to shed some light on one in particular.
"Depression commercials always talk about sadness but they never mention that sneaky symptom that everyone with depression knows all too well: the Impossible Task," she began.
"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," Molly continued.
"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."
But not only does the Impossible Task frustrate the person who's dealing with it, it can also put a strain on the people closest to them.
"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.
"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.
"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."
And if you're looking to help someone who's suffering from depression, Molly has some tips.
"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."
There are things that can be taken from the Impossible Task, however.
"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," Molly asserted. "The trick is to turn that gentleness & empathy toward yourself."
The writer's original post has since been liked over 28,000 times, and many weighed in with their own experiences of depression and the Impossible Task. "This is so accurate," one Twitter user wrote. "[It] reminds me of this description I once heard ‘the cure for depression could be on the other side of the room but you aren’t able to get up to go get it."
Wise words indeed.