I'm among the newcomers to this site, though not at all new to procrastination. I've procrastinated my entire life, down to grade school when I was receiving poor marks for "uses time wisely." My parents never consistently made me do anything, nor did they set limits on my behavior. I've tested well in school so I managed to get away with this behavior all the way through college, enough to get me into a graduate program.
And so I went from the occasional work deadline in college (only tests and little homework? Yes please) to every week routinely having a deadline or two. Or three. Or even more, depending on how bad I've procrastinated. Right now, there are about 6 things I want to get done by tomorrow. And no more safe anonymity - everyone, teachers and peers, know my name and performance. I'm convinced they can tell that I am not as accomplished, driven, or suited to graduate school as everyone else there. I feel like a joke.
I am in a program studying something I've been interested in since early highschool -- and yet it's hard to even tell anymore. Research is complicated - it requires a lot of reading to understand the state of the literature as well as more reading to understand how to conduct research competently. As someone who usually understands things in themes and broad strokes relatively easily (but not consistent levels of detail and definitely not corresponding citations) and as someone who has a hard time actually doing all of that reading, I am really falling behind. I feel absolutely worthless. I don't know how to be interested in anything anymore, because it all just registers as more work, more effort, more fear.
Some days, it feels like I am nothing but the procrastination. I stupidly limited my friendships early in life so I don't have the best social skills. When my most significant relationship ended, I was left with very little. I have a couple of online friends, but I miss face to face intimacy, without really remembering or knowing what it consists of anymore. My only hobby is whatever I am addictively procrastinating with - usually some form of fiction that makes me feel inspired and like life is worthwhile. I can identify with and live through the characters to make up for having no life of my own.
I don't really have hope for the future - it's like I took a picture of the feeling and now carry it around as a routine because there is no other alternative. Sometimes I actually feel it, but that is usually when I am reading self-help material, or watching/reading my fiction of the month. The second I try to put things into effect, I feel a clutch of panic in my chest, and the heavy weight of failure. I feel like I'd have to spent a month straight working just to be mediocre at this point. The only reason I still carry a ghost of hope with me is because I am not willing to consider suicide.
Except now I feel a little bit hopeful joining this site. I want to be on top of things, organized, capable, purposeful... I am hoping that social support from a community of fellow sufferers who won't shame me for my procrastination, who will understand the difficulty of even a tiny bit of progress, who I can celebrate my (and their) small victories with, will be all the difference... and that I can finally begin to heal and become a better person, and a healthy adult.
Thanks everyone who made it this far in my introduction (when I've made some progress with procrastination, I'll work on being more concise :)). More broadly, thank you to Pro for creating, maintaining and managing this site, and thank you to all of the members of PA for sharing your struggles, for making up the support network of this site, and for your existence in what is now a less lonely world.