and in the beginning, there was stress…


So much I would like to write about–where should I start? Perhaps most appropriate is to start with the culprit that is the root of all the pain I went through — STRESS. I’ve always thought that I was not stressed. It’s just pressure to do better, and I have always thrived under pressure! So what happened? Where is the line drawn between pressure and stress?

Honestly, I don’t know. And I’m sure it’s different for everyone. I’d like to think that pressure is healthy – it makes you more competitive perhaps, usually to better ourselves and “stretch our limits”, as our schooling and upbringing would tell us. It makes us stronger, helps us grow and develop.

Stress, on the other hand has adverse effects. It creeps up slowly, under the guise of pressure… and when the pressure is over demanding or excessive, stress has won. Yet, how easy it is for us to think that it is still just pressure, and ignore the symptoms of stress when they are here – change in behaviour, appetite, fatigue, constant small illnesses like a cold, insomnia…

I made the same mistake.

Plus I was too proud to admit that I had a problem. This is because in my mind, I equated “being stressed” to “being weak” — a sign that I couldn’t cope with the demands of work and of life. And no one likes to feel like they have failed. Least of all me. I don’t like to be a disappointment to the people around me (this, I’ve now realized, is me trying to shake off the label of “disappointment” given to me by my parents and teachers in days of childhood, but more about this later). I’d like to think I was capable and could perform, and that a challenge brought me to the next level. I  had an image and reputation to upkeep after all.

And I comforted myself and convinced myself I was not stressed, that I was leading a healthy balanced life with work, play, exercise, rest, social life, me-time etc. It’s a just a particularly high pressured time, and I was learning and growing.

Indeed I was learning – and now the lesson is learnt the hard way.

Rather than being a sign of weakness, recognizing — and acknowledge — that one is stressed is actually a sign of strength. It shows self-awareness of the body and mind. And it takes courage to admit that the demands on us, whether from work or other aspects of life, is over and above what we can cope with. Then we need to be brave, and say “no”. And quit from the actions or environments that is causing us this stress.

Easier said than done. It’s taken me some 9 months to actually realize and admit I am stressed, after ignoring signals for so many years. And only now am I in the process of changing my life so I am stress-free.

It is not enough to just “cope with stress”. It is not enough to simply treat the effects of stress and take the medication for the latest bouts of a cold. Life should not be stressful. Stress needs to completely eliminated from our lives.

7 Responses

  1. Congratulations Enoch! Your blog is beautiful. What a wonderful way to share your story and hard-earned wisdom. I look forward to sharing your journey. xo – Ann

  2. nochnoch says:

    Thank you Ann for your message. Sweet of you. Thanks for reading 🙂 I’ll catch up with you in Beijing soon my friend xx

  3. […] was the same in the corporate world when I started working. Maybe this was why I could only pent up stress inside me for fear that others would mock me for not being able to cope and maintain my brilliance. […]

  4. ANAMIKA AICH says:

    I feel fine,but my boyfriend was totally blame to me what i am handling in your life.but i know you this blame was right but i don’t care.Because i be leave thinking on i protect my boyfriend.then i never in the going any other picnic, travel with his mind never trust when this situation.i feel fear i thinking if any accident is my boyfriend then i don’t accept that event.because i love lots my boyfriend(i call you to name jaan)sheathe it .but my jaan blame to me in your life is totally break in you happiness, and he prey to god his life very fist finish then he will totally freedom.but i can”t be leave to my mind,heart but i try any happy moments given in my jaan leg down but this your dreams i can”t.i could not file of my heart i am very mantel presser.please help me please .

  5. Richardo Mustachio says:

    I hope im not becoming a hindrance or an annoyance on your… life. Maybe I have something to share about stress. maybe not.

    Right now, with all I have been having to accept in my new life; living with my grandparents, my mom and her new husband moving in, looking for work, paying off my debts to my grandparents (bless them) through hard work(landscaping, gardening, weed pulling cleaning, helping cooking….), scratching a living off of selling books on amazon, waiting weeks to get a decent sum paid to me by amazon, to buy gas to drive to the post office to ship the damn books, helping my -now- step dad research and plan for his continually struggling start-up business, etc… i feel all i can do is sit and scream in my head. tread water, tread water. dont go under. just keep pedaling….

    However, maybe I do have something to offer….

    Its all a show. we go through the motions, play the parts, sometimes good, sometimes not. the performance dictates the review, dictates the rewards (pay, audience-base). When i play the happy worker, the brilliant strategist (vs drunken self-hating, completely lost puppy) I actually manage to get better results from others, and they are more often likely as not to reciprocate generosity, which, though shallow, or just “simple”, grants me a higher level of self appreciation and worth. Life is but a show…

    and the better the review…. the better I tend to do.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Ricardo again

      Not an annoyance at all – glad you are supporting me and encouraging my writing. Thanks for providing your perspective too. Life is many times a show. I hope I can stop wearing masks for life. Working on it 🙂


about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.