You don’t need me to explain catch-22: It’s been part of our vocabulary for more than 60 years. A catch-22 is “a paradoxical situation from which an individual can’t escape because of contradictory rules or limitations.”
Catch-22 comes from Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel of the same name, published in 1961 and set during World War II; it was made into a 1970 movie (directed by Mike Nichols) and a 2019 miniseries (starring, among others, George Clooney). The novel has never been out of print.
In the novel, Doc Daneeka, an army psychiatrist, explains that “anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy” and therefore can’t plead mental illness as grounds for discharge:
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.