Sunday, April 17, 2011


There never seems to be enough time in the day and even if there was, I don't think I would know what to do with it all. I am a procrastinator of the grandest scale. If today is Sunday and it can be done tomorrow, I promise I will wait until the end of the week. It is annoying for me and most of the people I know. And what is most frustrating is I just can't seem to stop it.

I don't know how I ended up in this place of "I will do it later" especially since I know later seldom comes or when it does it doesn't present my best. Last summer while visiting my sister, I came to realize that this procrastination might be a part of a bigger problem one that may very well be rooted in a physiological makeup rather than just me being a slacker.

I have a dissociative disorder trait - schitzotypal personality disorder trait. I have had it for years. Because it is a trait it doesn't completely affect everything I do. A trait is a polite way of saying it colors my world, but is not entirely my world. Thank God for a few miracles. I was diagnosed with schitzotypal personality disorder trait along with PTSD as a young adult as it related to some childhood trauma. My disorder used to present as extreme anxiety, major depression and lack of close personal relationships. These symptoms have diminished over time; some are well managed or have gone away entirely. Some oddities have persisted. Some of them I like; others just get in the way.

One of the presentations of this trait is odd thinking and speech often metaphorical or elaborate. I honestly believe that this and the emotional anxiety and depression I sometimes experience are parts of the brew which make my writing so colorful and unique.

The most prevalent way my disorder still presents itself is in a poker face. I don't show the emotion that I am feeling. I can be laughing hysterically internally, but looking at my face, you would never know it. It's a problem. It makes people feel uneasy. They think I don't get the joke or that I am waaaaaaayyyy to serious. Nothing could be furthest from the truth.

The other way my dissociative disorder presents itself is through a lack of sense of urgency about things. Herein lies the root of my procrastination issues. Even though I know something needs to be done right away or it would be helpful to get something done, I become immobilized and just can't do it. It is like the synapses in my brain won't fire and turn me on. This sometimes means I miss real opportunities to connect with others in meaningful ways because I just won't get out of bed. Seriously. I should mention that I have managed to compartmentalize this down to social interactions rather than professional ones - in case you were wondering (or my boss was reading this). Just kidding.

One of the joys about this disorder is you figure out how to fix it by the time you are too old to enjoy the benefits of having it fixed! I am hoping for me this will not be the case. So far so good.

So, I have been working on this procrastination thing. I don't have it completely fixed yet, but I have gotten a whole lot better. It is something my friend Evelyn said when she was training employees for her new venture, Yogo Ono. She said, (and I paraphrase) "Remember those candies we ate as a kid, Now or Laters? Well think of that when you are doing something. Do it now or later. Now being the obvious choice."

So, thanks to Evelyn, I now think of Now or Laters when I am stuck and can't get moving. It is so simple - ridiculously so, but it works. I probably should send a note to Johns Hopkins or Mass General or somebody at Harvard. Memo to all of the psychologists who are working on personality disorders. Now or Laters work wonders!!!! Maybe I should send them a pack! I am going to get right on that!

Robin G. White is an award-winning poet, playwright and short-fiction writer. You can read more about her at

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