Around 6 per cent of all Aussies will experience depression this year alone. And while most of us know the obvious signs (tearfulness, lethargy, worthlessness) others are rarely mentioned among support and advocacy groups.
Taking to Twitter earlier this week, author Molly Backes lifted the veil 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 wrote.
To the Regular Joe, this is an everyday activity that seems totally doable (be it going to the bank, making your bed or simply checking your email.) To someone suffering from depression, however, it’s a whole different kettle of fish.
“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,” Molly wrote.
Not only does the Impossible Task frustrate the person who’s crippled by it, it can also put strain on their nearest and dearest too.
“If you currently have one or more Impossible Tasks in your life, be gentle with yourself,” Molly added in a follow-up tweet. “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.”
And as for how to assist someone else who’s feeling the pinch? “Ask them what their Impossible Tasks are & figure ways to help – without judgement.”
“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.”
Her original post has been liked over 16,000 times, with thousands of users weighing in with their own experiences.
“This is so accurate,” one wrote. “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.”
“I needed to see this today, my impossible task is grocery shopping… something I’ve put for I think 3 to 4 weeks I don’t even know anymore,” shared another.
If you, or someone you know needs help, speak confidentially to a trained counsellor 24 hours a day:
Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
Lifeline on 13 11 14.