Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Being low-functioning


I have noticed after reading many posts here that most of you people are what I would call high-functioning procrastinators.

Many of you are working on a PhD. I never dared to do this. Writing my masters thesis was a real nightmare for me. A PhD was just too big for me.

Many of you are able to live as a freelancer, self-employed. The level of self-control I can muster up was barely sufficient to live as an employee. I am unemployed for more than four years.

There are some people which have posted here that they are about to become homeless. Only with these people I feel a connection. I clearly know that the only thing which prevents me from homelessness is the saved money I still have. I really do not know what I will do when I have spent this money. I am suicidal for years.

That is why I envy most of you people. You are able to function at a level which I will never achieve.

this is a great topic!!

Thanks Harry, for your honesty, and everyone who's contributed to this thread.

I too feel, actually I *know*, I am 'low functioning'!.

I don't want to beat myself up any more though, if I can turn things around with the help of a program and the support of like-minded people, the game isn't over yet and there's still everything to play for. I find that I have to cultivate some faith, in a Higher power who can guide me, and in myself as well, that I am 'good enough' no matter what. Just keep turning up and doing the next right thing. 


It's an inside job...


Dear Harry 

sometimes I think one of the hardest things is being compassionate with ourselves, and not judging ourselves against others.  I have been finding the gentle podcasts of Michael Nobbs really helpful as a way of accepting how I am and my limitations and still being positive towards achieving something however small.

 I hope you find the support you need here at PA - I find it wonderful to have found a community where procrastination is understood and not judged.

all the best




Dear Harry,

I can relate to what you are saying and it is good that you are speaking up. 

I often feel disappointed with myself because i am not accomplish what i can (and should).  Often, it feels like that procrastination, avoidance, self-doubt, and lack of motivation all conspire to keep me from doing not only what i should be doing, but also the stuff that I really want to do for myself.  Sometimes, i feel like I am in one of those dreams when you need to escape from great danger, but your legs are immobilized, so you can move no matter how hard you try.  (Candidately, in waking life, I never feel that i actually tried hard at anything.)  Anyway, these negative feelings sap my energy, making it even harder to get going. 

So, please don't feel that you are alone -- particularly here at PA. And, I can also share with you is that on days that I stick with the PA program (I can be quite), I feel a lot better about myself.  I can see that the time I spent led to real results -- sometimesr small and sometimes rather significant.  So, being functional is none other than getting back on program after having slacked off. 

Harry, I hope you will continue to be so open and sharing with this community and that you will find a sense of accomplishment through participation in PA. 






To Harry

There are people who cry watching every other romantic movie. That does not make their tears any less real than yours or mine.


What I've come to understand is that I am never satisfied with myself or happy if I procrastinate. I can have a job, or get good grades, or have friends to hang out with, but if I procrastinate on the weekends I am still quite disappointed with myself. I can also have bad grades in school and feel sad. But if I do poorly in school but I feel like I've tried my hardest, I do not feel as bad about myself but am rather disappointed in my professor for writing a bad test or teaching poorly.


I guess what I'm trying to say is that just because someone has a PHd it does not mean they are suddenly so much better than you are or feel better for being a procrastinator. Try to remember this when you get jealous. For the record I'm a pretty low achiever too.  


I never finished university because of my procrastination. In fact, I ended up dropping out of two universities. I don't have a bachelor's degree, which in my part of town is so basic that most of the people I know would be shocked if they knew that I don't have one.

It gives me anxiety because it makes me feel dysfuntional, and I worry it might affect my work prospects later on (so far my skills have helped me progress at my company). I also worry about my chances of moving elsewhere if I ever need to, because non-graduates are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to getting visas.

Alongside this comes my inability to invest enough energy into having meaningful relationships (even though I want them) or keep my private life functioning properly.

Thing is, people don't see all this. The few conversations I've have before where I've opened up about my problem have often triggered surprise, and I usually get the "but you're doing so well and you've achieved so much" response.

Basically what I'm saying is, when looking in from the outside it's easy to think that everyone else has it better. It's human nature to want to cover up the less pretty bits of our lives.

Sometimes it feels like things are stuck in a downward spiral, and sometimes a burst of energy helps keep things afloat. All that we can do - regardless of where we are in terms of recovery or productivity - is to do what we can and ride out the lows and take advantage of the highs.

Hope your high comes soon and lasts long.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action - Walter Anderson


I too compare myself to others. It is a horrible thing that gives me severe anxiety and unhappiness.

There are times where I see others' success and I am really jealous :(

Luckily we are all in this together. Dreams are achieved one step at a time. Good luck!

edited to add: I might look "successful" because I am in school, but right now I have spent forever on the internet instead of taking the shower my hair desperately needs! so we all struggle with things at one point or another.


I am one of those people pursuing a PhD (years behind) here on PA, but I can still relate to what you are saying! That is the reaction I have when reading about procrastination elsewhere - in the (too many) books I've read on the topic or in blogposts. My thought is always that if these people have managed to finish writing a book then they have no idea of what REAL procrastination is about.

When we compare with others there are always those who are in a worse situation. My life is not in ruins but I have nevertheless lost years to procrastination. I feel that I have somehow managed to get by based on a combination of luck and charm... Certainly I have missed a lot of opportunities and I have not performed as well as was expected of me. Still, I totally understand if you feel that those are luxury problems... sort of reminds me of that Monty Python skit:

All I can say is: solidarity to you and everyone here!


@ Harry

Having a masters degree is a level that some (most) people will never achieve. It doesn't necessarily mean you dont have any problems. 



Thank you for your views. My perspective in this and any other program, is it is not for people who need it, it is for people for want it. I needed to see your  high functioning observations because my self crictic tends to notice "not good enough functiong", so yourr statement tells me the progam is working for many, it works when you work it.

Keep coming back, I hope you can find what works for you, if not here, somewhere, or somewhere + here. We all have our own solutions.You don;t have to be alone if you don;t want to, PA is not a competition, I am better than I was , I am not here to be better/worse than anyone else.(I think comparing myself to others made me procratinate more).

@ Harry

Hi Harry,

I relate, and wish you the very very best. We are all here for the same reason and hope you know you are not alone.  



@ Harry

Dear Harry

All is not how it appears. I do not believe personally that people doing a PhD are necessarily  highly functioning in any areas. I speak from experience.

There will be people here who you might not relate to due their degree of procrastination being seemingly much lower than yours. That's ok. If it helps and I think it may, ignore their posts and stick with those you can relate to.

The fact that you have a Masters is something to be proud of. If we compare ourselves to others when we feel at our lowest, it is a sure way to feel not good. In fact, I have stopped comparing myself to others because of this. I know how it feels to feel extremely depressed and it's at times like these that we need to be kind to ourselves even when we don't think we deserve our own kindness, actually especially then.

Even just cleaning your teeth well for five minutes is an achievement. Less money in the future for dentist bills Smile.

Maybe you can get a small job for a few hours each week (maybe 4-5 hours) which will not be too demanding but will contribute to a stronger self-esteem? I am going to try this myself.

Thinking of you,



"You got hands, you got legs. Go open that door and walk THROUGH...
Cannot return."
Miranda Hope

Re: To Harry


Thanks for pointing this out Harry, because I often compare myself to others who seem to be able to do recovery actions for their procrastination and seem to be getting somewhere. 

I am one of the people here who is currently homeless. I have been a freelancer but one who has not been able to make a living doing it. I barely survive. I have had jobs over the years but always had a problem keeping them for more than 1-2 years or less. At some point I gave up with jobs, and now I'm struggling getting myself to apply to them once again because I must find a way out.

I feel like a low-bottom case and really embarrassed most of the time. I feel like a burden to those who are trying to get things done here because I know my story is very depressing. I've been in a dark place for a long time. Sometimes I feel like others think I'm a loser who is bringing everyone else down with my constant need to process my emotions. I realized today that I require the support of other fellowships for the deeper causes of my avoidance/procrastination. But this is the one place that understands the struggle of avoiding things.

There do seem to be a lot of highly degreed intellectuals here! I cannot relate to them. I am also very smart and highly skilled, with a great resume, but my emotional issues have made it near impossible for me to have a successful life. I'd give anything to have what seem to be more minor-level procrastination issues. My avoidance behaviors affect every area of my life in severe ways. 

Thank you for posting because now I don't feel so alone. 



You're not a burden, RisingUp, and I don't think anyone else here feels that way about you :( If you need to process your emotions in your posts, then that's what you need to do.

I completely relate when you say that avoidance severely affects every area of your life - it's ruined everything in my life except for my work, and that's only because my boss keeps me in check.

Good luck on your job search and home situation, hope you find something soon. *hug*

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action - Walter Anderson

hugs to Harry ... and I can relate

Remember that many of us who have distressing stories, don't post our details, because the content of this website can be googled.

It is possible to very carefully post info without revealing anything, but it's not easy.

My story is much like yours -- but maybe worse?

My school - never finished. I reached as far as ... what in your country would be considered to be ... something between Arbitur and Bachelor's.  But I never completed my coursework.  Never attained graduation or certificate. 

After decades of trying, I still haven't finished any part of schooling. Nothing finished despite having a high score on IQ test.

Employment? (don't ask)

and ... well ... most of my life is a low-functioning mess.

I don't have the suicidal tendencies. By the grace of higherpower I have found hope.  I am sending out good healing energy to your mind and heart.

We have all sorts of people here.  And there are many aspects of life that we procrastinate about. -- Procrastination about employment, Procrastination about paperwork, Procrastination about schoolwork, Procrastination about housekeeping/cleaning, Procrastination about going to sleep, Procrastination about eating meals, Procrastination about waking up, Procrastination about socialization, Procrastination about healthcare, and even Procrastination about having fun ...... Procrastination about any and every aspect of life.

You are not alone.  We care!

Many hugs to you