Homework self-sabotage

I avoided my homework so much that I landed in summer school. I just have one assignment left and I cannot seem to do it.

My psychologist thinks that I am avoiding it because I need to deal with my emotions of being sick first.

I have been very productive in every other aspect of my life except this homework assignment. But now the stress of everything is taking its toll. I am sleeping, eating, and working out very erratically. I also think that I am isolating myself so that I dont have to admit that I am not dealing with this very well.

I dont know what else to do... I really want to finish this assignment. I know I can do it. I am stalling as I type this... I keep stalling. I have the assignment sitting in front of me and I cannot bring myself to even read it.

So frustrated now. I feel like I need to run. Literally, run away. They talk about fight or flight. So I am trying to sit here frustrated long enough to actually start the damn thing without running away or working out or cleaning or eating or distracting myself in any other way. It is very uncomfortable. And now, thanx to tendonitis my arm hurts from typing and my leg hurts from sitting. I just want to scream.

Suggestions? Distractions? Anything?


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Wow, this sounds incredibly familiar... I used to just be able to stay up late enough and once I got tired then I could force myself to do the unwanted work, but after being diagnosed even that is beginning to fail me... I've been avoiding applying for jobs (even though I definitely need one) because I just don't feel up to it and then have to avoid my family and friends that always ask my about whether I have a job yet! I've been rather unproductive across the board though, not just the one thing. If I figure out how to fix it I'll be sure to let you know ;)
  • SuzlCastSuzlCast Community Member
    I'm only an advocate, but I'm also a student and struggle with procrastinating all the time. I too mostly procrastinate not because I'm bored, but because I'm super preoccupied. Whether it's be overwhelmed with spreading myself too thin, family issues, or too many due dates at once.

    I've learned that the only way I can really focus is to make lists (sounds corny, I know -- but it ALWAYS helps). On your list even include goals you want to accomplish in terms of what feelings you feel you have to confront. Getting it out there on paper might help to make them not look so scary or daunting, you know? Tackle each thing on your list in order, one at a time...if there are deadlines for some things you can visually see that they have priority over others.

    It's also important to schedule breaks though too! So if you're in the middle of that incredibly boring assignment, after an hour or so get up and go for that run -- just to clear your mind and eliminate any anticipated feeling of anxiety. I'm sure I sound neurotic, but this really helps me out and I hope it helps you too.
  • melissamelissa Community Member
    I agree with the list idea. i am horrible at procrastinating. There are certain chores i absolutely cannot stand and i will do everything i can to NOT do those chores. I eventually have to do them tho and i find that it ends up not being as bad as i imagined it would be. I give myself rewards for finishing things. I find that music helps too. I play something that sets the mood for whatever i need to get done and i listen to the music and kinda forget i am doing the sucky chore. I dont know if that will work for schoolwork, where you have to be focused, but some good background music couldn't hurt.

    as for what ur therapist said, it might be true. it might not. there are so many ways of dealing...and not dealing...with what we all have going on with us. Distractions can be good or bad....something about moderation in all we do.

    When i was in college i took a business law course that really was pretty dull. Evryone hated the assignments because they were so long and boring. I found a way to pretend the cases were interesting and it made the work alot less boring. Eventually it did become interesting and the work was a piece of cake from then on and i got the highest grade in the class. I guess i am saying, put your own creative spin on it and it might be easier to get through.

  • bpojb03bpojb03 Community Member
    thanx you guys! i am feeling better about it. i did use to make lists and schedule breaks and everything. i use to be so good at this kind of stuff. i have been procrastinating making a list as well haha. but i am trying to look at it more analytically and pretend that i am the best writer. i can visualize myself doing it, knowing what to say and turning it in early. i just need to do it! ah now im going to, no more putting it off :(

    mishanne i tried staying up all night for the last week, probably not the best idea. i am sleeping about every other day now *shrug*. i even applied for jobs all last night because that is more interesting than my assignment. which doesnt actually work out since i need to pass this thing inorder to get a job in my field. people keep asking but ive learned to just change the subject.
  • bpojb02 - I wish you the very best of luck

    A few things to consider. First and foremost, if you had chemotherapy the drugs will absolutely have a lasting effect on your cognitive abilities. This can include processing speed, focus, working memory and long term memory. I was diagnosed at 4 1/2 and I'm still discovering the depths to which chemo screweed up my ability to get things done. Secondly, I find that I procrastinate because I get so overwhelmed with all that I have to get done. This is half the battle and simply takes you mentally psyching yourself up. Acknowledge this to be true (if it is for you) and then actively work to recognize when you find yourself getting overwhelmed. When you do, simply work through each and every issue. Allow yourself to truely take it one project, one step, one assignment, one paper at a time. It will take tremendous effort but as you work on this skill it will get progressively easier. In the process you will learn how to shift your energy, what you devote it to and what you no longer devote your energy to.

    It sounds completely patronizing, but simply change the internal dialogue rrunning through your head. If you keep saying to yourself that you will fail the class or will not get the assignment done, start saying the opposite to yourself. It is a small and seemingly pointless exercise but once you begin to change the internal dialogue your ability to move forward with tasks will get progressively easier. I promise.

    In the long term you may want to check out cognitive remediation therapy. Not sure what is avaliable in your area, but after assessing your cognitive skills, neuropsychologists will train your brain to heal or improve the functionality that chemo and/or radiation f*#ked up. If you have the time I would suggest reading this wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_Remediation_Therapy. You may have difficulty finding doctors who know about this or even social workers who are aware it exists but please continue to nag them about it if you sense it would be of benefit to you. You are your own best advocate and need to rely on your intuition in these situatuions. You will instinctively know what is right for you.

    In terms of working on your internal dialogue, I can recommend a book by Melissa Tiers. It's self published but should be avaliable on Amazon.com. It's called the Anti-Anxiety Toolkit. I have just completed a class Melissa taught at the NY Open Center and it was mind-blowing. This video of one of one of her other classes will give you a sense of how the tips and techniques work to reprogram your thinking. Check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JNHIzyZb6E.

    If you need any other help just hit reply and I'll see it. :)