One Author Explores 'The Impossible Task' Many Overlook When Discussing Depression Symptoms

"Figure out ways to help — without judgment."

Although the conversation surrounding mental health has become more widespread in recent years, there are still many facets of depression that remain under the radar.


However, author M. Molly Backes recently took to Twitter to share her thoughts on the "sneaky symptom" of depression that the commercials about anti-depressants rarely mention: "The Impossible Task." While the term wasn't coined by psychiatrists, as Backes was sure to highlight, the concept focuses on how difficult it can be for those suffering from depression to complete even the most rote, everyday tasks.

As Backes explained, "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."

"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," Backes wrote. "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," she added. "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."

Ultimately, Backes encouraged her followers to take care of themselves, "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."

There's no shame in taking care of yourself or admitting you need help. Everyone must fight their own battles in some capacity, but we must recognize that, when doing so, we're rarely ever alone. Those we love, and who love us in return, will always be there with a helping hand to hold.

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