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I need help

FoxandBunnyFoxandBunny Alabama
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edited February 2014 in Not Engaged Yet
I didn't know where else to go so here I am. I trust y'all to give me good advice like you have done with so many others. I'm in a highly emotional state right now where I feel like I'm going to cry at the drop of a hat. 

To put it bluntly, I have no motivation or drive. I can't bring myself to do any assignment before the night it's due, even huge projects that would normally take days. No matter what I tell myself or anything, I can't start a project before the night it's due. I would really appreciate any suggestions you have, because I feel like I've tried everything to no avail. I always get them done on time, but mostly by the skin of my teeth.

I also lie about my progress to those important to me (such as BF) so to not disappoint them or make them mad. I lie without realizing it and while I have remorse, I do not tell the truth. I will tell them I have a certain amount of work done even though I have none. This always blows up in my face, but I can't stop.

My lack of motivation is something that has plagued me my whole life, and I need some help. I have no idea what I'm going to do after school. I have no plans or even wishes. All around me, friends are making plans for after graduation, be it law school or grad school or some inkling of a field they'd like to be in. I have none of those. I know, "I'm young and I have time" but I feel like my time is running out way faster than I need it to. Maybe this ties into why I can't do any projects, who knows.

Ugh. This is just so frustrating. Sorry for the vent, and this may not be the best place for it as I'm so much younger than all of y'all, but I really need to figure out a way to fix this problem because it's becoming a major one.

ETA: Looking back on this post, I was super emotional about another thing when I wrote this and this wasn't really the problem, but I still appreciate all advice on the subject.
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Re: I need help

  • phiraphira Bahstin
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    It sounds like you're kind of depressed.

    If it helps, I'm a very last-minute person. In college, I don't think I started a SINGLE assignment more than 24 hours before the deadline. These days, I haven't changed all that much. Sometimes, I sit on the couch, look at the time on the clock, think, "I need to put away the laundry," and then go right back to doing nothing on the internet.

    Also: That thing where you hide stuff from your significant other? I do that. I used to do it a lot. These days, once I recognize that I'm doing it, I tell my partner. It was often serious stuff, too, like skipping medication, or hiding severity of the symptoms of my chronic illness. These days, it's been stuff like lying about not being able to sleep when in reality I didn't try very hard.

    My advice about that: start telling him stuff. Or, if you don't feel like he's a safe person to tell, tell a parent or a friend. Someone you know loves you and you trust them. It's SO much scarier not telling them. And the other thing is that you're already unbelievably stressed and miserable over your problems; not telling people who are close to you just adds to that stress. It's also beneficial to have a teammate. Knowing that my partner would know if I skipped my medication made it easier to not skip it.

    Advice about motivation: Start small. Pick one tiny change to make. It's okay if mess up or forget, but you just assume you'll do it the next time. Maybe this small change is that when you get an assignment, you're going to spend 20 minutes working on it the same day you get it. Maybe the small change is that you're going to go to bed before midnight. Maybe the small change is that you're going to check Craig's List for job listings in [insert field here] once a day.

    Advice about job stuff in particular: The secret that no one tells you when you go to college is that PLENTY of people do not work jobs in their preferred field, and PLENTY of people do not like their jobs or their fields, and PLENTY of people have no idea what they want to do. I went to college with a few women in their 40s who had returned to college for a degree. They all expressed to me how irritated they were with the number of college students who knew exactly what they wanted to do, not because they themselves hadn't had that feeling, but because so many students really DON'T know what they want to do, and because they feel like they have to pick something and have Their Dream Career picked out before they graduate, they end up in fields and jobs they don't care about.

    I graduated from college with a job as a technician. I didn't want to go to grad school partly because I didn't even realize people were applying, and partly because I didn't know if I was going to like biology enough to go to grad school for it. And it wasn't until I WENT to grad school for biology that I realized I wanted to teach professionally. My partner? Went to school for theater. Graduated with a degree in psychology. Went to get a MSW after he got rejected from every psych PhD program he applied for, but then dropped out. Worked for his uncle's insurance company, and now works as an executive assistant in higher education. He knows he wants to be a writer, but he doesn't like his day job and doesn't know what on earth he would want to do to advance that particular career.

    So my advice is to NOT worry about knowing what you want to do. For now, look for jobs that you are qualified for, and that will pay rent. It's totally fine to not know what you love to do. Or, in my case, it's totally fine to do something you like a little, and not get to have your dream job (mine was sex educator!).
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  • I agree with @phira -- it sounds like you have some form of depression. Do you have access to health care? Can you schedule a visit with a mental health professional? That would be my recommendation. 

    I used to be clinically depressed. When I first started going to therapy, my therapist had me fill out a bunch of paperwork, and then we started our sessions. Very early in my therapy sessions, she told me I was the most highly-functioning clinically depressed person she had ever treated. She straight-up told me, 'Given your level of depression, I am impressed you function at all, let alone as highly as you do." 

    I was like, "Well, I have to -- I have a job and bills and people counting on me, so I have to." 

    I did not go on medication, but I was in therapy for almost two years, and it really, really helped me. I learned to identify the root causes of my depression, and my triggers, and work through them. 

    I agree with not needing to know what you want to do right now, but you should figure out a way to address the procrastinating and the lying.
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  • FoxandBunnyFoxandBunny Alabama
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    @phira - It's nice to hear from someone who has the same problem. Thinking about it, I feel like I do it so that others are not disappointed and angry at me, as that was the usual reaction from my parents when I told them the truth about school work. It is also nice to hear a personal account of the whole "you have time" argument. It's hard to see the forest through the trees, you know?

    The procrastination is really my biggest problem. Hell, I have a paper I haven't really started yet due tomorrow (the reason this post came to be, as it is currently after 11 p.m. where I am) and I'm on the Knot. I just have no idea how to fix it and I've tried everything I can think of to no avail. 

    @HisGirlFriday13- I am on a college campus, so I should have free mental health services through my university. If not, I think my insurance should cover some sort therapy. 

    I think I'm going to make an appointment with either the campus services (preferred, as they would be free) or see if I can get one somewhere else. Just curious, as I know very little on the subject, what makes y'all suspect I'm depressed? 
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  • @foxandbunny I think it would be great if you talked to a therapist just to sort things out. The one I went to on my college campus was great. Good luck!
    I guess, to tell you the truth, I've never had much of a desire to grow facial hair. I think I've managed to play quarterback just fine without a mustache. - Peyton
  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey
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    I agree with PPs that you should try speaking with a therapist. I don't have a lot of experience with this so I don't have much to add beyond that. 

    I want to send you big hugs, though. It sounds like what you're going through is really tough and it's admirable that you are realizing you need help in some way. 



  • phiraphira Bahstin
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    The entire time I was typing my post last night, I was thinking, "I really need to fold the laundry." Spoiler alert: I DID NOT.

    And I DEFINITELY got into the habit of lying about progress because of my mom. I love my mom very much, and part of parenting is making sure that your kids are doing their homework and stuff, but it was so stressful when I would admit I hadn't done my homework that I would lie about it. I'm a terrible liar, but it just became automatic.

    My partner isn't perfect, but one thing about him that's crucial is that he doesn't pass judgment on me for being an imperfect human, and that includes when I do stuff like come up with a MILLION excuses not to go to the gym, or when I don't feel well enough to go to work when, if he were in my place, he WOULD go to work, etc. I will admit, it took a chronic illness flare-up for me to stop hiding things from him, which is where the medication/symptom example came from.
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  • Do please take advantage of your college's counseling center. They can help you learn new habits, and that's what they're there for.
  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO
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    phira said:
    The entire time I was typing my post last night, I was thinking, "I really need to fold the laundry." Spoiler alert: I DID NOT.

    And I DEFINITELY got into the habit of lying about progress because of my mom. I love my mom very much, and part of parenting is making sure that your kids are doing their homework and stuff, but it was so stressful when I would admit I hadn't done my homework that I would lie about it. I'm a terrible liar, but it just became automatic.

    My partner isn't perfect, but one thing about him that's crucial is that he doesn't pass judgment on me for being an imperfect human, and that includes when I do stuff like come up with a MILLION excuses not to go to the gym, or when I don't feel well enough to go to work when, if he were in my place, he WOULD go to work, etc. I will admit, it took a chronic illness flare-up for me to stop hiding things from him, which is where the medication/symptom example came from.
    I love this. I feel like I could've written this post myself!

    @FoxandBunny - Definitely check out the therapy options available to you through your school! I've used the counseling center at my university for various things and it's always been incredibly helpful!


  • I didn't know where else to go so here I am. I trust y'all to give me good advice like you have done with so many others. I'm in a highly emotional state right now where I feel like I'm going to cry at the drop of a hat. 

    To put it bluntly, I have no motivation or drive. I can't bring myself to do any assignment before the night it's due, even huge projects that would normally take days. No matter what I tell myself or anything, I can't start a project before the night it's due. I would really appreciate any suggestions you have, because I feel like I've tried everything to no avail. I always get them done on time, but mostly by the skin of my teeth.

    I also lie about my progress to those important to me (such as BF) so to not disappoint them or make them mad. I lie without realizing it and while I have remorse, I do not tell the truth. I will tell them I have a certain amount of work done even though I have none. This always blows up in my face, but I can't stop.

    My lack of motivation is something that has plagued me my whole life, and I need some help. I have no idea what I'm going to do after school. I have no plans or even wishes. All around me, friends are making plans for after graduation, be it law school or grad school or some inkling of a field they'd like to be in. I have none of those. I know, "I'm young and I have time" but I feel like my time is running out way faster than I need it to. Maybe this ties into why I can't do any projects, who knows.

    Ugh. This is just so frustrating. Sorry for the vent, and this may not be the best place for it as I'm so much younger than all of y'all, but I really need to figure out a way to fix this problem because it's becoming a major one.

    ETA: Looking back on this post, I was super emotional about another thing when I wrote this and this wasn't really the problem, but I still appreciate all advice on the subject.


    So, the bolded, for me, it what makes it sound like depression. That was the word that popped into my mind while reading your post.

    I see that you were dealing with some additional stuff when you wrote this, so I won't go too crazy with the advice. I will say that I can kind of understand where you're coming from - I've always tended to procrastinate as well. For me, it's about being a perfectionist; maybe there's some inkling of that for you, especially since it sounds like you do want to please the people in your life with how you do. I can also sympathize with the sentiment of not having any direction; it's plain hard to get anything done when you don't know what the ultimate goal or purpose is.

    Like everyone else said, personal counseling would probably be a great thing - it certainly can't hurt. Also, take advantage of your school's career counseling center, as they might have different ways of helping you narrow down a career goal that is motivating and exciting to you.

  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta
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    @FoxandBunny sending you lots of hugs! PPs have pretty much covered everything else I would suggest.
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  • phiraphira Bahstin
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    @CLoGreenEyes Yeah, that's what tipped me off as well. The first thing that happens to me when I get depressed is what little motivation I've ever had just evaporates. Lately, I've been struggling a lot, so the fact that I've made it to the gym in the AM twice this week is probably the biggest win ever.

    Not as much of a win? Not going to work till 3 and then telling J I'd be home before 8 and HEY LOOK I'm still at work and it takes 35 minutes to get home.
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  • I've gone through so many periods of lack of motivation that I can definitely feel your pain. And, like you, most of the time it's because I was stressed out about something else (usually, my job), that I never really wanted to do anything.

    I can't really give any kind of "all-around" advice, simply because I'm not a therapist, so I won't even begin to pretend like I know the answer. But, for me, the easiest way I found motivation (even if just temporarily) was to watch a TV show that sort of encompassed my problem.

    For example, I have a tendency to have very poor eating habits: too much junk food, not enough nutrition, not enough healthy fluids, etc. I found a show in the UK called "Supersize vs. Superskinny" and just by watching it, I was motivated to eat better. There's a part in the very beginning of each episode where they have someone "supersize" (obese) and someone superskinny (underweight) make a food diary for an entire week. Then, they assess the foods they've eaten by dropping them all down in a tube. It looks DISGUSTING when all those burgers, coke, chips, and junk food just pile on top of each other.

    image

    It really was an eye-opener, because it never looked as disgusting when it was a healthy arrangement of vegetables, meats, and fruits. I would always think to myself "What would my tube look like?"

    It sounds like rubbish, and it may very well be, but that was the only way I used to be able to get motivated.
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  • FoxandBunnyFoxandBunny Alabama
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    Everyone, thank you so much for taking time out to respond to me. It has been so helpful and y'all have no idea how much I appreciate it, especially the internet hugs. I'm planning on making an appointment with my college's mental health people soon. 
    phira said:
    The entire time I was typing my post last night, I was thinking, "I really need to fold the laundry." Spoiler alert: I DID NOT.

    And I DEFINITELY got into the habit of lying about progress because of my mom. I love my mom very much, and part of parenting is making sure that your kids are doing their homework and stuff, but it was so stressful when I would admit I hadn't done my homework that I would lie about it. I'm a terrible liar, but it just became automatic.

    My partner isn't perfect, but one thing about him that's crucial is that he doesn't pass judgment on me for being an imperfect human, and that includes when I do stuff like come up with a MILLION excuses not to go to the gym, or when I don't feel well enough to go to work when, if he were in my place, he WOULD go to work, etc. I will admit, it took a chronic illness flare-up for me to stop hiding things from him, which is where the medication/symptom example came from.
    @phira - I especially can relate to this response. I had many childhood experiences similar to your second paragraph, so I think that may be where the lying came from. Also, in regards to your third paragraph, my BF is quite supportive of me, especially the last few days when I've been dealing with this instead of just pushing it away like I have been. His only problem is that I lied, but once I admitted it he was so supportive I didn't know what to do with myself. He told me he felt like I had been having some kind of problem (depression or the like) for a while, but since he couldn't get me to say anything was wrong he wasn't sure what to do about it.

    All in all, thank you guys. It means a lot to me to hear all this advice. I'll be getting in touch with a therapist/counselor/someone about this soon.
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