It’s more than procrastination.

I’m the worst person in the world for putting things off. There, I said it. I’ve been in denial about it for so damn long. I don’t know how to explain it, or even what I’m trying to explain, but I’m going to give it a bash anyway.

I guess I developed this proclivity of dragging things out and prolonging the inevitable when my anxiety and depression hit rock bottom. Now, it’s just a part of who I am. A very large part of who I am and I hate it.

Let me give you some examples: Reading and replying to messages, meeting up with friends, visiting family members, spending time with people I desperately want to see, making appointments, making phone calls, tidying and organising my room, hitting the gym, reading a book, painting my nails, updating my phone or an app, applying for a job or a position, applying for anything, submitting any of my work to publishers or online magazines, putting myself forward, picking up a guitar – these are just a handful of things that I put off on a regular basis that I so desperately want or need to do. Some are just everyday basic tasks or things; some are important and necessary. Either way, I put them to the back of my mind and try and tell myself that I’ll deal with it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. 

It’s not just procrastination. It’s a much deeper level of delaying than an average procrastinator. I wonder if there is a name or definition for such a thing. I put things off, and I don’t sit around not caring about it, I literally beat myself up about it on a daily basis. It’s always on my mind. Constantly. And I’ll tell you what makes it worse – nobody understands.

My friends don’t understand why I haven’t seem them in a while. They think I couldn’t care less or that I’m too caught up in my own world. I’m not. I think about it all of the time. I torture myself. And then it results in me getting even more anxious to do these things the longer I prolong them. It happened with me leaving high school and wanting to take a gap year because I didn’t believe I was ready for further education yet. This set me back even more. People kicked me when I was down, humiliated me on social media, made me feel like a bum because I wasn’t doing anything with my life. Nobody knew what I was going through. But they stuck the knife in deeper and held me back for longer. Yet I blame myself. It happened again when I knew something wasn’t right with my mind or myself so I delayed the inevitable and I didn’t seek help, I didn’t go to the doctors, I suffered in silence for at least a year before I got help. It happened again when I wanted to go and visit my Gran McElhinney, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the 4 walls of my bedroom for months and months on end, and then I lost my favourite lady in the whole wide world. I never knew the last time I seen her it was going to be the last. She didn’t know how badly I was suffering. She didn’t know how badly I wanted to go and visit her but it was just that I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house…

I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. There’s got to be someone else out there who puts things off as much as me. Who has 100+ unread messages on their emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. yet can’t bring themselves to just open the message and reply. It may take you weeks, months or even years to open that message. Or you might never. You put it off because your mind tells you it’s the right thing to do. People think you’re rude, ignorant or that you just don’t care. I can’t stress it enough, you have no idea how badly I just want to be normal, to just do these average everyday things like everyone else. You have no idea how badly I want to go and visit my neighbour, who lives a few doors down and is a very dear friend to me, that I have been meaning to pop in and see for ages. But. I. Just. Can’t. Something is very wrong and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

My best friend always grills me and tells me ‘I know you like to put things off’. I promise you all that this is not the case. I hate it with every single inch of my every being. How can I ever expect to be successful when all I ever do is let people down? I let myself down.

Oh, it’s bloody awful. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. It seems like such a simple thing: Answering a message, meeting a friend for a coffee, phoning a doctors appointment… but I can assure you – for someone like me, these tasks are like sticking needles in my eyes and my tummy ties itself in knots just thinking about it. Isn’t that terrible?

I just want to take this opportunity to apologise to each and every one of you because I am a hopeless case. If you’ve ever commented on a post and I haven’t replied – it’s not me being ignorant. If you have ever sent me a message and I haven’t got back to you – it’s nothing you have done. If I haven’t seen you for a while and I regard you as my friend – I promise I do still care about you very much.

It’s just something I’ve got going on inside which is unexplainable but I’ve tried my very best to tell you what it is. I just hope that you all understand.

Charlene McElhinney

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  1. October 13, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Wow Charlene. You are amazing for sharing this with us and I can relate and even though it might not help I do understand. I’ve been there and there is no easier way to explain it but you have done it beautifully! You are so talented and inspiring to so many you really have no idea. We all love you and I bet the change in my left pocket right now that in this you are not alone! I wish I could somehow take your anxiety away for you to achieve all that you’re destined to achieve but I can’t but I know you’re stronger than you think and you can do anything you put your mind to! ♡ ♥ ♡ sorry for the long comment!

  2. lisamclachlan
    October 13, 2017 / 5:02 pm

    I have so much admiration for you, Charlene, you’ve achieved so much. You’ve written a book, you’re a successful blogger, you run BeeChat, you’ve gone to university, you’ve recently admitted to doing things that are way outside your comfort zone. And these are just the things that I’ve picked up from your blog and SM channels. Please don’t beat yourself up for things that you can’t control. We all have things going on that sometimes stop us from doing what we want to do, the challenge is realising and accepting these issues. You’re not in denial and that’s a genuinely courageous place to start. Apologies for the ramble, I don’t mean to sound sappy, I really do think you’re a star. X

    Lisa |

  3. October 13, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    You and I sound so similar.. I always procrastinate, and sometimes never even get round to doing things, but I need time to deal with my anxious mind, and sort through everything in my head before I actually take the leap of going somewhere or doing something! It’s a struggle, but I’m sure we’ll both find a way to get through it eventually! 🖤

  4. October 13, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    You are incredible for sharing this. It gives such an insight into why some people are the way they are. It makes sense why some of my friends act like this. By sharing these thoughts is a huge success in itself, running your blog and telling others about this. You are clearly so much stronger than you think. You got this girl <3

  5. Bookinggoodread
    October 13, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    What an insightful post, really makes you think when people don’t get back to you and you think it’s something you have done or they just don’t have time for you, that it could be so much more than that. I remember being like this after I had my second child and only one of my friends really understood why I didn’t reply and never held it against me 💕

  6. October 13, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    This is such a raw, honest post that must have been hard to share. Firstly, don’t apologise! You’re such a strong woman Charlene and have achieved so much; everyone has things they’re working on but don’t hate yourself for it. Like you said, you were in denial but now you’ve admitted it, you’ve made such a big step. And by writing this post, I’m sure there will be so so many others that can relate (either in part or completely) and you’re helping them out, too. You can get through this, I know it might not seem like it now but I know you can get there in the end. Lots of love xxxx

  7. October 13, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    This is so my husband! Im the opposite cant put anything off! #bloggerstribe x

  8. October 13, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    Charlene one of the things I love about you is your raw appeal to inevitably connect to the spirit. I appreciate your openness; therefore, I’ll be honest too… I too am the same way. I procrastinate but it’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I’m insecure. Being rejected so many times can play with your emotions causing you to feel you’re not good enough. But that fear, it’s eats your ability to try and your left feeling worse than you would’ve been if you tried and then failed. I hope this makes sense. But I like to think these kind of moments make us stronger and the fact you acknowledge what makes you weak is a step into becoming stronger. Deep post! You’re not alone, I got you 🙂

  9. October 13, 2017 / 8:02 pm

    Oh gosh, I feel like I wrote this myself. I’m guilty of this and I can totally agree that it’s a mixture of depression and anxiety. Ive ignores friends, I dropped out of university (was able to get reaccepted and I didn’t even go back), I’ve put off blogging which I love so dearly, just anything and everything that is important and nonimportant. And like you said, it almost drives you crazy knowing that you should do something, but you don’t. We gotta hang in there and figure out a way to slowly build better habits. I’m still trying to figure things out, but I thank you for sharing this and wish you the best of luck!

  10. October 15, 2017 / 3:19 am

    I love how raw and honest this is While not able to understand the depths of what you’re going through, I felt I was able relate on a few levels. Loved your writing and the purity of this x


  11. sunshinesarahxo
    October 15, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    Oh sweetheart i just want to give you a hug. I would never have known about this you as you make it seem like you have everything together. Please don’t feel like you’re letting anyone down babe because you most definitely are not.
    The rawness and honesty in this post comes across so well and the photos are incredible!! So Autumnal!
    Thanks for sharing babe it must have taken a lot for you to write & post.
    Love you sugarpie.
    Sarah xxxxxxxx

  12. October 17, 2017 / 11:49 am

    I love how honest and true you are in your posts Charlene. It must be so difficult sometimes but then look at what you have done?! You have done so much to be proud off, like for instance starting university. You are a very inspirational lady, you inspire me and many others! xx

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