the partner in this whole ordeal


Everyone has a different situation, and those of us who have the blessing to have someone stand by us while we are depressed, be thankful, be grateful and feel the love for you. Yet, if a depressed person has a hard time, perhaps the partner next to him or her has an even more challenging time. I was lucky to have my boyfriend with me whilst I banged my head on the walls or cried for hours. And maybe for other partners and friends of depressed people out there, this might serve as an encouragement to stick through it till the end.

So, a little interview with my boyfriend, who took care of me in my depression and sickness on how he felt during that period and how he coped:

Did you know she was depressed at the beginning? How did you react at that time? How did you feel?

At the beginning I knew something was wrong, but just thought it was stress or culture shock. At the time I just wanted to find a solution and was happy for Noch to stop going to work etc. I felt frustrated because I couldn’t make her better, and any logic I tried to use when speaking with her seemed to fall on deaf ears.


What was your reaction when Noch diagnosed with depression?

I think I was relieved, because once diagnosed I felt we could start to treat the illness properly. I didn’t have any problems with her having depression, for me it was just a sickness like having the flu. I even joked with her that all celebrities etc. have depression and need therapy and it quite trendy to be depressed.


What was the effect on your daily life?

The effect on my daily life was the biggest impact and was a challenge to deal with. Noch would burst into tears and have severe mood swings which I didn’t know how to deal with. I tried to say the right things, but it hardly ever helped. Then I would get frustrated and sometimes lose my temper and become angry. I’m a positive person and the worst part of all for me was that Noch would bring my mood down. I would get up and be excited about the day, but she just wanted to die, this was very hard for me to reconcile.

The migraines and associated physical illnesses also made it difficult for me. Sometimes I would have to leave work or a party and rush home to take care of her. One time I came home and found her semi conscious and the bottom of the staircase. I didn’t know if she had fallen or hit her head or what happened, so I had to carry her to a taxi and go to the hospital. The other hardest thing for me to do was to put Noch’s needs first. So even if I was at an amazing party having the time of my life, if Noch called and needed me I had to leave immediately without even saying goodbye to my friends. This took a bit of time to get used to without feeling resentful, but once accustomed to it I felt a sense of responsibility Id never felt before and it helped me grow up


How did you feel?

Overall I just felt frustrated. There really wasnt anything I said that helped the situation. I just had to be there. When the therapist first said Noch would need a year of treatment I thought that was way too long and an exaggeration. In the end it did take a year.

How did you cope?

I had hope.

Eventually I learnt to manage the situations as best as possible. So even if we had to rush to the hospital, I may take a few extra minutes at home to pack myself a few books or change into comfortable clothes. This made it easier for me to deal with the long stays in hospital. I learnt to watch for signs that a migraine was coming and take steps to avoid the triggers, and pack medicine and water all of the time. Also I learnt what treatments I could offer her. When she was crying and wanted to die and couldn’t sleep it was useless for me to tell her that everything would be OK and that life was worth living. She just couldn’t see my point. Instead I learnt to distract her with fairy tales and stories I would make up. I would sing her to sleep with nursery rhymes and relax her with massages.


Did you want to give up? Why did or didnt you?

When Noch and I were on totally different wavelengths and she was bringing me down and I felt resentful I wanted to give up. I think i kept just saying to myself ‘lets give it one more month and see how she is” and I managed to get through. I was confident that it was a temporary situation. I had known Noch for 1.5 years prior to the depression and she was such an amazing person, I knew that with time she could get back to that point. I also felt like the depression would make her stronger and be a change agent in her life and so maybe was a necessary evil.

We lived together and had just moved countries together and were therefore in a committed relationship. So this helped too as I was committed to taking care of her no matter what. I think if it had been a less serious relationship I may not have been able to stick through it.


What advice would you give to other poeple whose partners have depression?

This is a tough question and it depends on the type of relationship and the stage of the depression.

Firstly you need to seek medical advice and treatment through medication and therapy. Be prepared to be taking medication and therapy for at least a year. We were very lucky in the fact that our insurance covered the medical bills and after trying a few therapists we found a very good one. I advise doing single (for each partner) and couple therapy and dont settle for a therapist who you are not comfortable with!

Dealing with depressed people takes a lot of energy and comitment, you need to be prepared to put that person first and be in it for the long term, ie. you need to be in love. Love will get you though!

If its not a relationship built on true love and commitment then I would advise caution in being involved with a depressed person. If you do decide to end a relationship with a depressed person I would also suggest you seek advise from a professional on how to end or manage the relationship. Obviously a sudden breakup with someone who is depressed could exacerbate the situation and there is risks of suicide etc.


My tribute to all the partners out there taking care of a depressed other half, without you all, we would have been long gone. It’s even harder for you I must imagine, taking care of someone else, but you too, are not alone in this struggle. Talk to us and my boyfriend if needed…

44 Responses

  1. […] Link: the partner in this whole ordeal | nochnoch […]

  2. Amy K says:

    What a beautiful post. I have been on both sides. I am afraid it may be harder to be in the supportive role. I never had someone there for me during the darkness like your boyfriend was there for you, although I was not alone. It takes an incredible person to support you in the way that he did and an amazing person to fight through the darkness the way you have.
    I have no doubt you are both special gifts to our world.

  3. nochnoch says:

    @Amy K – thanks so much for the encouragement. i am indeed lucky. and its great to hear you are strong to be support for others. i’m learning to do that too. we can all help each other out…

  4. […] the partner in this whole ordeal […]

  5. James says:

    must be a pretty special guy to put up with you through such nochsence. he must really love you

  6. […] first we didn’t buy him, because Timmie didn’t want an influx of bears. So I said I thought of a way to smuggle Muddie in – […]

  7. […] planned to be married by the year I’m 28; I didn’t meet the person I wanted to marry until I was 28 – and I’m way happier now with him than anyone […]

  8. […] sill ready to jump down, and then I start thinking: I will miss my dog, who will make smoothies for Timmie, I can’t play the new Angry Birds updates anymore, my Spanish is not fluent yet…. And my head […]

  9. […] Spending effort to make friends and meet new people in a new country each time was taxing. Romantic relationships were hard to come by with the fleeting nature of my postings in each […]

  10. Yasmin says:

    I thought I had stumbled across your blog but realise it was divine guidance. I so resonate with this entry – my husband has had depression for many years however in the last 18 months he has had a complete breakdown and is unable to work, raise our child or see the good in our life. He is currently in a “clinic” where he has been twice before and it seems to be getting worse…not even a little better. Hope is what I cling to daily. Hope he will return – my best friend, my lover, the father of our child, the third part of our puzzle. Thank you for allowing me to hold onto my hope for a little longer Yasxxx

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Yasmin – I’m elated you had stumbled across my blog at the right time then! I hope you found some encouragement and inspiration. My fiance was very patient and took care of me, and I admire you for your tenacity to keep standing by your husband… maybe you can also share with him my blog about experience in depression. Sometimes, when we are in dark thoughts I thnk we just want to know we are not the only “weird” one alone. at least that’s what I think. I’m sorry it’s a tough time for you. I truly hope one day soon he will come out of the dark tunnel. Hang on in there. If you ever need someone to talk to just to vent, can always write to me!
      Noch Noch

  11. […] it was 12 months or more, till I slowly regained a bit of strength with my partner and my shrink, to help […]

  12. Daniel Waters says:

    My wife has definitely been the only thing keeping me going. Even after I repeatedly pushed her away for reasons I can not fathom, she was there for me, ready to pick me up off the floor and carry on, never giving up. Without her I don’t know where I would be. The only reason I’ve never done the unthinkable is because at the last minute, I imagine her having to find me and go through that after all that she has gone through already. It must be the hardest thing in the world to see someone you love go through such hardship, and to not be able to help them, it must be heartbreaking.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Daniel

      So touching, i’m so grateful to your wife for being there. I can imagine the pain she went through to support you but that’s love, unconditional love!!! Good to hear you are also getting out of this tunnel, that you will also take care of yourself for your wife
      Please hang on in there
      And thanks for coming to my blog, hope will see you here again!

      Noch Noch

  13. baobao says:

    a special person indeed and also very in love. his loyalty and persistence will be rewarded. It also testifies to the strength of your relationship and the wonderful girlfriend Noch Noch has been before her depression hit.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi bao bao

      thanks for coming by 🙂
      yes Timmie has been great for me and literally kept my alive. I can’t do without him. We are getting married later this year 🙂

      Noch Noch

  14. […] What did work, was instead of telling me to do something, my fiancé simply made me put my clothes on, slid me into my boots, and dragged me out of the house for a […]

  15. Matt says:

    Your boyfriend is awesome. He’s done the right things because he is acting from real love. When we see how our partners act in a time of adversity we see the real character, and feel the deepness of their love.
    I feel that people are together to learn from each other and as he says this has all helped him to “grow up” as well. You have put your story out there and helped others to learn more about their own situation and seems in doing so better able to accept what you have to go through. There is always something to learn or feel from each advance, and each setback. With a guy like this at your side each moment will be valuable, good and bad. WIshing you both all the very best for an incredible life journey together.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Matt

      THanks – yes he’s a dear, and I wouldn’t lose him for anything. I’m not an angel, but I try not to be too devilish 🙂
      He said to me, “we are ‘us’ now”. it is soothing to hear something like that. I think for both of us, we would give our life for the other. literally. so if anything, i’m staying alive for him
      Thanks for the best wishes – we are getting married May 🙂
      I hope everyone finds their anchor in their lives. And I hope for those partners / friends of those depressed, find some solace in my boyfriend’s words. It was tough for me, but EXTREMELY tough for him.

      Noch Noch

  16. srini says:

    E Noch li

    this column is an eye opener. I would love to see his photo. I want to save this page and read it every time I go through the fire works. hats off to you both.

    Best of all is , you have the courage to admit and speak openly. you are good Noch.

    Am I lucky to have a friend like you?

  17. […] What did work, was instead of telling me to do something,my fiancé simply made me put my clothes on, slid me into my boots, and dragged me out of the house for a […]

  18. […] was sprawled across the 2 small steps between my living room and dining room when Timmie came home. Semi-conscious perhaps. I could hear him shuffling, stomping around and calling someone […]

  19. Nigel Chua says:

    Your husband is an awesome man, Noch! I think your marriage would be great too, as two wonderful people get together. Treasure each other, and uphold each other in good times and bad times, and be mightily blessed in all things.

    There is always things to iron out, but on a flip side, there’s also always things to smile and celebrate over – take everything in balance, and be grateful – it is a very, very good thing! =D

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Nigel

      Yup – Timmie is one of a kind. I would not wish for someone else. He’s my soulmate. There are things we argue about etc but nothing is more important than the love we have for each other. We always iron things out in the end, and learn a little bit more about each other day by day…

      Noch Noch

      • Nigel Chua says:

        Yes, that’s the way! I think some of the things that makes Louise and myself still lovey-dovey after three years (yeah, kinda short i know) is by doing things such as calling each other super-can-kill-and-fall-over-mushy-names such as ‘moopi’, ‘nya nya’, ‘sunshine’ and the like (better stop describing before your own readers faint from over-stimulation hahaha).

        I make it a point to hug her as often as I can, to hold her hands, to cuddle-cuddle (unless of course I’m like super warm/hot and perspiring…that’s yucky to cuddle eh heh) to make out and *ahem* as much as we can…

        On top of that, I ensure that we make as many joint decisions together in all things, such as finances (what to spend money on, what to cut out etc), home management (what to buy, what to place where, sharing house work, i cook etc), business management (she’s the CFO…I’m the marketing and business development).

        All in all, we complete each other and work cooperatively.

        May your marriage be blessed! =D

        • nochnoch says:

          that’s so funny – I’m totally the CFO and he’s the marketing / creative person when it comes to household stuff hahaha

          i think planning the wedding is also teaching us a lot about communication and how the other works, which is quite an eye opening experience in itself 🙂

          Thanks for the blessings!

          noch noch

  20. Nigel Chua says:

    Hahahaha i think ladies love it better when they’re doing the CFO-type roles…hahahah!

    Yeah, enjoy the process, the moment, it’d be once in your lifetime only (unless you two sweet things want to re-new your vows every 10 years by throwing a vow-renewal party/wedding every decade la hahah)

    Have fun! =D

  21. […] Is this me? Sounds about right. Hugely competitive, and extremely impatient. Bossy and control freak to say the least (ask my fiancé). […]

  22. Fishbony says:

    Dear Enoch,
    We don’t know each other but I know who you are because I know your little sister through primary and high school (not that I know her that well either!), my point is your blog is very relatable and insightful to me.

    My significant other had depression when he first proposed to me, people who didn’t know would think that he got stressed out by the thought of marriage but it was the opposite. Being still in uni at the time, my parents, being Asian, thought we were too young, not financially stable and thatwe were rushing into marriage. They of course became very upset, because they could not fathom the idea that marriage will be of any good to us if we didn’t have a job or owned a house. I was also upset that they did not understand marriage had nothing to do with those things, it was to do what was right in god’s eyes, and that everything in life will be better with two people going through it together. My fiancé became very distressed and thought that his proposal had made me upset as it was making me cry every time I thought about our engagement. He loved me so much that of course that he couldn’t bear call the engagement off, yet it has seemed to make me so troubled and unhappy. It conflicted with his purpose of making me happy. The thoughts kept going round and round in his head, and eventually he became depressed. We didn’t know what it was before he was diagnosed, but he had insomnia, he couldn’t get out of bed, found no interest in the things he normally would love, and really would just lie in a corner/bed all day. Nothing I said made him feel better. Of course i understand a lot more now since he has been diagnosed and treated that it possibly really didn’t matter what I said. But I love him and I had to try something.

    The toughesT thing I found when he was in depression was how he wouldn’t connect with anyone during the day but then at night before bed, he would pour out his soul to me, to tell me how sorry he was, how much he loved me and how hard he was trying to get better for both of us. It was like I had him back, his lovely charming self just for 10 minutes every night, then in the morning he would reverse back to leeching in bed, being consumed by dark thoughts in his head.

    I thank you for writing this post, it makes me feel better to know that other people have gone through similar things like me (its like a virtual hug!) and i now know a bit more on how people with depression think. I also commend timmy for being so strong in those tough times.

    We have been married for 2.5years now and things have been great, I have only recently found the courage to talk about what we went through and writing this comment has been therapeutic. All in all thanks for creating this blog and I wish you all the best in the future especially for that wedding coming up soon!!!!
    Xox F.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Fishbony

      Thanks for sharing your experience here and glad you found my blog through my sister. It’s touching to hear what you guys went through and how you have helped each other. Come visit anytime and pour your hearts out or email me. I’m hear to listen

      It’s a special connection to have with a partner with depression. You will grow closer and stronger together I believe. All the best to you and your husband.

      Stay in touch!
      Noch Noch

  23. […] came over to where I was sprawled out. He quietly lay down next to me and held my hand. That was all he did. Eventually my crying died down and I felt soothed by his […]

  24. […] the partner in this whole ordeal […]

  25. […] Timmie prompted, “Well, read it when you are bored. I like this guy, we were born in the same year, have the same name and he’s doing everything I want to do and living the lifestyle I want.” […]

  26. […] I asked her to reconsider. I told her what it was like for me in depression, why I thought those irrational thoughts, how I felt, and also what it was like for Timmie to look after me. […]

  27. SLee says:

    This made me cry so much. Thank you for your blog, You are fortunate to have a husband that loves you so much. Could I ask if you experienced any problems with letting Timmie be close to you while you were going through the deepest dark? I’m struggling through a bad depressive episode and am thinking I need to leave my husband because I can’t seem to get better with the pressures of having to maintain a relationship- we married last October, and the depression hit soon after. I find it hard not to push him away, my depression latches on to his natural resentment/hurt at having to deal with the situation I perceive and it makes it so painful to be near him. I wonder how you processed Timmie’s pain without letting it making your own worse.

    Wishing you Peace

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi SLee

      yes I totally pushed Timmie away. I kept thinking he would leave me or he would hate me because of my depression and told him to leave me so he can have a better life without me. I think it really hurt him. But I was too deep in a rut to notice his pain. He went to see my psychologist too and understood that this me wasn’t really me, but consumed by depression and so I acted differently. I used to get nightmares of him leaving me too. I think he proved with his actions, he just lay there with e when I cried, and hugged me when I was upset, and let me be angry, and he was still there. Slowly I realized he was there to help me and would be there for me.

      Are you seeing a counselor or psychologist? I think they would have more professional opinion.

      But if he’s your husband, he’s there to stay

      Noch Noch

  28. […] things for which to be thankful — I had a counter argument for every point he raised. It deflated him, and made me feel worse and guilty. Eventually Timmie realized that when I was spiraling in my […]

  29. […] have friends and a loving husband Then why do I want to escape and run away somewhere and yet have no idea where that somewhere […]

  30. […] The man did not move a feather. He just stood there, watching me. His gaze never left me. I buried my head into the cushions on the sofa and screamed. Timmie came running to me from his room and embraced me. […]

  31. […] was sprawled across the 2 small steps between my living room and dining room when Timmie came home. Semi-conscious perhaps. I could hear him shuffling, stomping around and calling someone […]

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.