So I am a MS student somewhere on the east coast US as an international student. I have a rough draft of my MS thesis.
I have been struggling really badly with motivation. I feel like I am able to the bare minimum to by and am honestly surprised that mentality and bad work ethic has gotten me so far in life.
I am having trouble accepting it and still am in denial perhaps, but I was diagnosed with MDD ~10 months ago (if I can remember). My plan initially was to submit my thesis long back, but the severe lack of motivation is really hitting hard. I am not sure but I somehow have managed to get by this far with minimal motivation, or doing a majority of work that I need to do (exams, project which was the basis of thesis, etc) in random bursts of motivation. The draft I have now was a product of those bursts of motivation, late night sessions, and moments where I felt like the smartest fella around.
But I guess my luck has all but run out -- bone dry -- and I need to get my proverbial s%%t together and fix this situation. I haven't had a burst of motivation etc over the past 4 months, and the thesis is stagnant. I know the severe consequences of not doing it in time, and losing the job I am at - job at an org that I only dreamed of being in as a kid, and work that I seem to be enjoying. It has costed me dearly, both literally (in tuition fees) and figuratively. The fear of deadlines, nor the interest with which I seemed to work on it before, none of them are around anymore. At some point I was hurting myself to write a page or two, before I felt zero motivation again, and realized this wasn't sustainable. So I swallowed my ego or disbelief etc and got on medication a few months ago which apparently was supposed to help with focus and lifting mood and spirit in general, but months in, it doesn't seem to be doing anything. I'm falling back on my old mechanisms to crank out work.
Now, you might ask "well if you were that bad, why even go to a foreign country?" and that would be a valid question, but I did not know what I was doing was not normal. I guess my luck ran out after I arrived here. Everyone has been really kind to me -- I don't know why -- despite being such a disorganized individual who probably does not belong here, wasting resources, both of my family and the countries. I sought help due to some of the more physical symptoms, perhaps due to the symptoms of my diagnosis (bad sleep eating habits etc.), got on medication as a "last ditch effort" because I had nothing else to try. I am really ashamed of myself, for being like this despite having pretty good circumstances and no reasons to feel this way.
I have sought advice in other places, but haven't gotten anywhere. I feel like I'm grasping at straws, and want to try a little before I ultimately give this up. I guess this question is one of those desperate attempts to try and find anything useful to help me get back on track with my thesis. I understand this isn't the place for mental health advice, so I am looking for academic advice. What can I do to trick myself or somehow motivate myself, even a little, to get something done each day, so that they add up and I eventually finish it.
What have I tried?
I was speaking with a counsellor on campus, but haven't found the motivation to figure out insurance and research places to seek LTT. I tried various techniques, breaking down big goals into small more manageable ones (fix typos on page 35, then break this passage into 2 ... and so on) to try and accumulate small wins. This has given me the most success relatively (after hurting myself) but am running out of time, progress isn't fast enough. I also tried bribing myself with food etc when 10 or so small goals are met, but I can only go so far when it feels tasteless. Tried to make a stringent timetable to do things, a flexible one that says "do this do that", motivational TED videos, motivation from family and friends. I just need to write things up! I'm starting to think I'm not cut out for the adult world, and want to give it all up.
I feel like I am at the end of my rope. Am I just making excuses? Am I not being harsh enough with myself? Am I just procrastinating without responsibility? Please share advice on techniques that people in academia use to get back on track. I maybe do not deserve the things I have (my job and internship experiences, for example) considering the effort I put into things compared to my peers, but I do not want to let it go to waste. I want to try a little more, before I give up.