You Can Help …
If you have a loved one who is suffering from The Impossible Task
Perhaps a loved one has shown you a copy of my Special Report on The Impossible Task. Or maybe you found it in your own while searching to understand someone who just does not seem to be able to carry out tasks you know they are perfectly capable to do. And maybe even really want to do.
However you got here, I’m glad you did because you can help. The ways to help may be surprising because they probably aren’t what would help you or others you know. That is what makes knowing these alternative options so important.
Before I start, I want you to know that I understand how difficult dealing with this is for you. As one mother told me in speaking about her daughter, “This is so sad to watch.” We want our loved ones to be healthy, capable, successful, and happy. The Impossible Task steals all this from them and from your hopes for them. You have probably done everything you can think of to help. It becomes frustrating to feel helpless. You may feel angry, disappointed, and sad.
Hopefully knowing more about what’s happened to your love and how you might help will make it a little easier. With proper treatment and support, this will hopefully be temporary, and you can get your loved one back.
1. Do read the Special Report if you haven’t, You’re Not Lazy … You Could Be Stuck in the Impossible Task. It’s written for those who have been suffering from this. Share it with your loved ones if they have not seen it. The article explains why it is not their fault and describes what is going on in their brain that isn’t working well. It outlines what is helpful and what is not helpful for them to do. I am contacted nearly daily by someone who has read this article. They express such relief knowing that someone understands what their dealing with, that’s it’s not their fault, and that there is help. Sometimes they say it brings tears of relief. Reading the article will help you understand why I recommend what I do.
2. Please, please believe your loved one when he or she says they “can’t” do something. They most likely have a diagnosed or undiagnosed psychological problem like AHDH, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Social Anxiety, or some other more transitory psychological trauma. Rest assured they are not doing this by choice. They are not being lazy, irresponsible, discounting, rebellious or in a pot stupor. They are in a nearly “frozen,” numb, or stuck state.
Such states are quite common with these psychological conditions. Most likely they feel ashamed, sad, guilty, and bad about themselves because they are failing at what they want to do and at simple things we all do. Of course, there is no need to probe or call these possible feelings to their attention. They know what they are.
3. Please don’t nag, harass, cajole, beg, criticize, argue or shame them into getting “up and at ‘em.” Believe me, they would if they could. Every time someone does this, they feel worse about themselves and sink deeper into immobilizing depression or grow more anxious, cry or withdraw.
4. Offer heartfelt, compassionate praise as often as possible. If they are feeding their pets, if they are working part-time, if they are out of bed today, let them know how proud you are of them. i.e. “It’s so great how you take care of your dog every day even when I know it’s difficult for you.” “Thank you so much for doing your lunch dishes. I really appreciate it.” I say heartfelt, compassionate praise because if praise is done in a condescending or sarcastic tone, it’s only hurtful. To help, you really have to believe and understand that they’re suffering and doing the very best they can.
5. Listen if they want to talk. Let them know you understand. Avoid giving advice unless it’s requested as a question to you. Then whatever your answer, check out what they think about what you said, i.e. ask “Would you agree?” “What do you think?” “Would something like that work for you?” Then listen some more. If they disagree, let it go, or “What do you think would be better?”
6. Never make it about you. I know how tempting is to tell them how hard this is for you. It’s easy to think if they just knew how bad you feel seeing them like this, it might motivate them to take care of matters. It doesn’t. Remember, they can’t. It will make them feel guilty and ashamed. Particularly if you cry or get angry. I know this may be hard but it’s so important.
7. Just love them, do thoughtful things for them, and help if they ask you to do something important they can’t bring themselves to do. You might remind them – one time or just occasionally – that there is professional help and, if necessary, help them arrange it, even if they are already on medication that should be helping. See my article on Finding Professional Help that Understands. Medical treatment for the underlying psychological issues is essential for recovery, along with help from a skilled therapist who understand this condition.
But please don’t put nagging pressure on them about this. They may resist the idea of needing psychological help or doing this could be one more of the Impossible Tasks they will need to find their way to do. On some occasions, after a long period of resistance with no improvement, I have seen that ultimatums will get someone to accept the help they need. But it’s a risky proposition that requires an especially skilled professional.
8. Last but not least, take care of yourself. Seeing what your loved one is going through and trying to help can be so stressful for loved ones. Take the steps you need to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, eat healthfully and be sure to find enjoyable activities that uplift your spirits and refresh and replenish your energy. It’s really hard to help if you’re exhausted or depressed and anxious yourself.
Thank you for wanting to help your loved one and for considering these suggestions. If you have questions, please email me. I may be able to address them or even set up a short, free consultation.
Feel free to contact me if you wish. To share with family or friends you believe would like to understand, see https://www.drsarahedwards.com/youre-not-lazy-you-could-be-stuck-on-the-impossible-task/
See also You Can Help
If you are interested in any subject on this site, please contact me.
To share with family or friends you believe would like to understand, see You Can Help
(c) 2020 Dr. Sarah A. Edwards