We’ve made great strides as a society in understanding mental illness and supporting those who suffer from it, but we’ve still got a long ways to go. This is especially true for those of us who don’t know what it really feels like to live with a disorder such as depression—a point Twitter user Molly Backes (@mollybackes) really hammered home in a recent Twitter thread.
Backes’ thread went viral because it resonated with so many in capturing the ineffability of depression, particularly the aspect she deems ‘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
‘The Impossible Task,’ as outlined by Backes, cannot be defined. It varies from person to person and hour to hour. What to others seems mundane and simple appears insurmountable to many who suffer from depression.
The Impossible Task isn’t actually impossible. But it certainly seems that way.
And more often than not, people struggling with depression beat themselves up over the seeming insignificance of the task at hand.
Backes encourages those who also have Impossible Tasks to cut themselves some slack. She reminds them that asking for help—even for a seemingly simple thing—is nothing to fear or be ashamed of. “The people who love you should be glad to lend a hand,” she writes. And she’s absolutely correct.
Similarly, she asks those of us lucky enough to live without depression to be more attuned to the needs of those of us who do.
Simply giving somebody a ride to the pharmacy, helping them do the dishes, or even just dropping some mail off at the post office could be a transformative gesture.
Backes notes a positive of depression—that it allows for a greater sense of empathy towards fellow man.
“The trick is,” she concludes, “to turn that gentleness & empathy toward yourself.”