Ready for some statistics that might be difficult to hear? According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, about 7.1% (or 17.3 million) American adults are currently grappling with major depressive disorder. Even if depression doesn’t affect you personally, you would be hard-pressed to find someone in your life who hasn’t battled the debilitating condition.
But, sad truths aside, there is absolutely a bright side. We are now living in a day in age when people have the ability to seek help and find community– via the good, old Internet, of course.
A great example of this is the viral Twitter thread created by author M. Molly Backes. Last summer, Backes penned an eight post-long thread that outlined a facet of depression that is not discussed nearly enough–the “Impossible Task.”
Depression commercials always talk about sadness but they never mention that sneaky symptom that everyone with depression knows all too well: the Impossible Task. pic.twitter.com/lPix73WO2d
— M. Molly Backes (@mollybackes) August 28, 2018
Intrigued about what the “Impossible Task” could be? Backes defines it like this…
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. 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.
It’s a feeling that anyone who has suffered depression–or is close to someone who has suffered depression– understands well. It’s a feeling of negativity that is relentless. And, all too often it is directed at ourselves…
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.
Fortunately, Backes has some advice for those who are currently trying to find their ways out of this. She says:
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*****e. 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, she even has advice for the loved ones of the people who are currently facing the “Impossible Task”…
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.
Talk about some sage advice! Backes’ view of depression is so right-on and, what we love about it most, is that it is not tinged with shame or guilt. To tell you truth, it’s a thread that we’ve been waiting for our whole lives–we hope her words help to normalize depression even more.
To read the full viral thread, as well as Backes’ (and her followers’) insightful responses, be sure to check out her Twitter.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on M. Molly Backes’ “Impossible Task” thread. How did it affect you? Do you agree with her view of depression? Do you have any advice for those struggling with the condition?