Q: While I did very well in school and attended a prestigious university, I can't help but feel down. I procrastinated a lot — I went into college hoping I would grow out of that, but I still did it, even though I got good results in the end. I haven't yet found a job, mainly for lack of trying, though I have a plan for next year. The job search was just overwhelming and my response to "it's too much" has been to shut down. Not a good thing, I know!
So now I kind of have this feeling that since I didn't try, I might as well continue not trying because it'll be pointless anyway. This isn't true logically, but it's still there. How can I move on from this?
Getting Over Apathy
A: I'm going to do what I set out not to do when I started this column: skip trying to answer you and advise good counseling — and by "good" I mean really solutions-oriented, someone who will explore with you possible underlying conditions. ADHD, for example.
I'm not doing this because you're a hard case or because your struggle is unusual, but because achieving plus chronic procrastination suggests this isn't just about "growing up."
So take your questions about yourself and your habits and your performance to someone who can help you find pragmatic answers, and from there develop strategies based on your nature and your strengths. It's ridiculously common for us to think we're broken when really we're just on a path that doesn't suit us or we have obstacles that haven't been diagnosed.
That there's a Right Path for Everyone is a message our schooling tends to drill in, providing rich soil for your kind of discontent. Add to that a system that still isn't great for recognizing and serving alternate learning needs, and there are a lot of people who are getting by only at great cost to their senses of self.
A trained guide can offer strategies, and even the "aha" moment you crave.