More threads by Enigma


I?m wading across unknown land. A place where cotton candy fields are rife and the mint scented atmosphere rains down on me. No one can get to me here, no matter how hard they try, for there is an invisible shield of sweet smelling blackcurrant blocking the way. Get into my mind and take the images away. The sun is pink here; it too grows old. I stand sheltered beneath a tree. A projection beyond perception, that?s outside my mind. And I come full cycle.

And so, I?m slowly grinding to a halt. I constantly need to prove myself otherwise I feel like a failure and will believe that I am. I thought that distractions could prevent us from facing issues in our lives that appear overwhelming or scary but all it is doing is making things worse. And so the distraction becomes procrastination. So when I?m loaded up with a large number of responsibilities to focus my attention on, the completion of my "obligations" will sooner or later become issues that keep growing until I have to face all of them. This is a faulty coping strategy, which does not work for prolonged periods of time, and I?m sent back down again. I wish I could just swallow the advice that I give out.

I'm ill. I had my first exam a few days ago, and walking into the exam hall like that wasn't the best of feelings. This is the only exam that I felt confident in, and that was shattered right from the start, as I couldn't even get the first question right. So what am I to do, when I can't even concentrate on the paper, and there is no time for wandering thoughts? Well, we all know the outcome, I don't finish the paper. If I had more time - time that we kill and then wish we had more of - I would have done better, and not come out feeling like a failure. How do I motivate myself to revise over the next few days? How can I get better and stop the illness so I can carry on; I guess I will just have to wait that out. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Hmm, I'm guessing you have more exams to take?

What I do in that type of situation is to just try to put everything else out of my mind. I tell myself that I will deal with other things later, that I have to concentrate on studying right now. Not a good solution for long term problems, but just for now.

THere are some good tips for studying here:,4275.0.html

the articles on procrastination are good.

and here:,3485.0.html

I wish you the best with all of this. :)


Hi Enigma,
You write very poetic, I wish you the best, it is difficult to feel like a failure, being distracted by thoughts that leads to procrastination.
In time you need find peace of mind focus of what you have achieved!
The positive, not the negative.
I truly hope you will find peace, support and comfort during the journey!
Take care Holly :)


Distractions are good for short term use to relieve anxiety and help us refocus. However, when we get stuck in the distractions, we find ourselves wandering lost in a fanstasy world, unable to get back to the real world and our real obligations. It's not an easy problem to deal with, hon. Been there.

Do you have help? Are you seeing a counsellor or therapist? Are you on any medications? What about supportive friends and family...anyone around to help you focus?


I am currently on a waiting list to see a psychologist. I've waited for four months already and I don't know how long I can wait it out.

I feel like I'm walking a tightrope but I know that I'm the only person who can help myself. No one can help me, and that's what hurts most of all. I don't believe it when people tell me it's going to be okay. I know it's not until I do something to change what's happening. Maybe I relied too much on people, and now that I'm growing up, it has become a shock to the system. Only I can help myself, and that's where I'm failing. I don't know how to get the motivation back, and I need it more than ever now. I think I know what I should do to make it all better, but I find it so hard to take that initiative. How can I force myself to change something?

Tightrope walking, I'm guessing, must be very hard, but once you've got from beginning to end you feel a great sense of achievement. It takes a lot of training, and you'd probably fall a few times, but you know you always have a safety mattress below you to soften the impact of your fall, should your safety harness fails. So now what about the obstacles you have to pass in your walk of life. You can either go above, below or around them ? there are many ways to tackle them, and there is no wrong path to take. That's one of my analogies for life.

On the outside, I'm the one who is smiling, revealing nothing, saying that happiness and sadness are temporary, and the only thing that is not temporary is change, so whatever mess you're in, life must get different. But I just need someone to say that to me, and make me believe that that is actually true. Although deep inside I know it must be true, otherwise I wouldn't be saying it. So long as there are people who accept you for who you are, so long as the shy, retarded people are recognised, then that gives me hope.

I'm gradually losing all my friends. That's my safety harness gone. I'm lacking in conversational skills and I'm not getting their support. My so-called friends don't understand why I can't go in the common room. They don't understand me, probably find me boring, and they feel uncomfortable whenever I'm there ? it's like I'm intruding on something by being there, and they're not alright with the awkward silences. I feel bad, inadequate that I can't discuss things at a deeper level, that I can't do a simple thing like make friends or keep friends for more than a year. I don't find it natural, and I'm always faltering over words, getting all red hot when I do, and it annoys me that I can't think of what to say ? like I have no imagination or something. I don't know how to get out of this now ? maybe I'm like the saying, "You can teach old dogs new tricks." So I'm all alone now. And that's where my safety mattress disappears.

I'm in the middle of the tightrope ? the weakest point along the journey as it dips sharply at the centre. I'm stuck there, not knowing whether to move forwards or to retreat backwards, and I know I can't stay there for long because it's a dangerous spot to be in. I take a step forwards, testing out the rope, but it sends me backwards ? my reaching out is in vain. I try to move backwards, but I realize I can't change the past; I've been there and there is no going back, the only way to progress is forwards because that's the only way I can make it across that fragile crossing.

So you see? It's the same old problem, time and time again, which it's reinforced so strong inside my head that it becomes so hard to break down and start positively, again.

Daniel E.
Regarding procrastination, the method of just doing something, anything that is part of my primary goal seems to help me the most. At a minimum, this helps prevent me from beating myself up for doing nothing. Also, for me so far, the best author on procrastination has been Niel Fiore, who wrote The Now Habit. He has some free videos and articles on his website.


Do you think that with my lack of motivation and the way I procrastinate so much, I would actually be able to get down to reading something, in amongst the 12 exams I have to revise for the week after next? I don't know, it would seem that ultimately, procrastination stops me from doing the things that I should be doing.

Thanks for the recommendations though.

Daniel E.
Do you think that with my lack of motivation and the way I procrastinate so much, I would actually be able to get down to reading something, in amongst the 12 exams I have to revise for the week after next? I don't know, it would seem that ultimately, procrastination stops me from doing the things that I should be doing.

Thanks for the recommendations though.

I have no idea if you, given your current time constraints, will be able to do well on those exams. But you will learn something just by trying and can only feel better by doing so. Personally, I don't care if you just read a single sentence during TV commercials. At least, then, you tried.

Regarding motivation, NEVER wait for it. Just start. Like depression, procrastination can be partly due to overthinking/rumination.

Daniel E.
Some audio on procrastination:

Procrastination Nation (National Public Radio)

iProcrastinate Podcasts by Dr. Timothy A. Pychyl of the Procrastination Research Group, Department of Psychology, Carleton University

Some points from "Procrastination Nation":

- 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators (If anything, this is an underestimation.)
- 70% of college students procrastinate (other sources say 80-90%, which I think is more true to fact)

* Procrastination leads to stress, which leads to health problems.

* Anxiety and uncertainty (such as feeling overwhelmed or a fear of failure) are common causes of procrastination.

* The best strategy to avoid procrastination is to "prime the pump." Work 30 minutes by doing a first step such as starting to read or starting an outline. As a result, the task often seems easier and more manageable. In other words, break tasks into "bite-size pieces."

* When righting a paper, start with an outline.

* Avoid rationalizations like "I work best under pressure." These rationalizations are myths that we often use due to a lack self-confidence.

* Procastination vs. Depression: Procrastination is a symptom of depression. But depression can also be a result of chronic procrastination. The two intertwine.

* You can't just keep saying "I procrastinate too much." You have to start doing something.

* "Will power" is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more you get.


Daniel, all that you say is good advice.

I find it so difficult to just start. I know that when I start something I probably would be able to continue. That's why breaks don't work for me - if I take a break, I need to start again.

Daniel E.
I find it so difficult to just start.
Listening to music while studying may be helpful. It is certainly better than nothing.

if I take a break, I need to start again.
With practice, it becomes easier to return to the task at hand. There really is no quick fix, but it may help to schedule fun activities that you look forward to, like watching a movie in the evening. That way, you will have less of a need for immediate distraction.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
When I'm writing, what I often do is just start writing - anything - I know that most of the time it's probably garbage that I'm going to delete from the final product but it gets me out of my rut and going on whatever the project is. Once I'm in the flow, I can worry about editing it later. Strangely enough, sometimes when I stop to read it, it turns out to be pretty good. I think when you're in that "blocked" phase, it's hard to tell what's good and what's not and that's part of the reason it's hard to get going.
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