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making life BEAR able – playful creativity, a rejuvenating force against depression


Sometimes, I am grateful I’m depressed. In fact, I write the best when I’m feeling down in the dumps. The effervescence of words bubbles out uncontrollably. I dare say, I rediscovered my creativity in the most unlikely way – through depression.

Although 2 years old, Jonah Lehrer has a point in his New York Times article,  “Depression’s Upside,” that perhaps depression isn’t all that bad. For some 10 years I had buried my creativity from writing poetry and short stories, to grow up and get a proper job. I did my classes, got my good grades, and entered university in the most elite program possible for an insignificant and teeny city as Hong Kong. I found a job and prospered according to the terms and conditions imposed by society, teachers and parents.

I forgot I was ever creative. I forgot that I drew my first book and published it via “Tweety Bird Publishers” since my favourite toy back then was Tweety Bird, when I was merely six years old. I forgot the joy of reading books, caught up in the battles and romance and imaginary world weaved by simple and bland letters put together to form words, and phrases, and paragraphs.

Had I not gotten into depression three years ago, I might have still rediscovered all this one day. But now that I have gone down this route, I can only thank the messed up period in my life for bringing me back to what I love – my writing.

Writing is an expression of my creativity, and depression inspired me in a painstaking way to rejuvenate this creativity. 

Indeed, I believe everyone is creative, in their own ways. I stumbled across this article one day by Jen, and maybe you can find out what kind of creative you are. I’m Dutiful Creative – and I need to make creativity more a priority in my life. I’m working on it. It could be the way out for my depressive tunnel. I’m also sharing this as part of the In Good Company Project, to encourage those who have experienced depression and anxiety to share their story and find the good within the darkness.

My creativity does not stop at writing. It extends to a bear collection. I had qualms about calling this “creative” for I think it’s more appropriately defined as “crazy,” or some prefer to call me “nuts” or “bonkas”. Yet, I had already introduced my bears on this blog once and it is by far the most popular blog posts – I think this means something. At least it means I’m not the only crazy person around.

So when I was lying in bed wrought with insomnia one night, I decided I will create another website simply dedicated to my bears.

Timmie helped me coin the term “Bearapy.” Credits are to him. I have defined it as a form of therapy and treatment that involves cute and cuddly animals, and for me, it was the Snuffles bears created by Gund.

I’m calling myself The Bearalist – a bear specialist. Don’t argue with me.

In my head, I run off with them for adventures, and I take them with me when I can, or coerce Timmie into bringing them to New York Fashion week and the likes. Two of them are now in Melbourne looking for honey.

So the idea blossomed, and my website designer, Will, seemed keen to journey into craziness with me. In fact, he came up with the term “cuddle rating” and made the bears’ ID cards jiggle. I’m not the only looney one it seems…

You can call me crazy. I call this creative.

It’s a fine line. But this time, I will decide where to draw it.

My acknowledgements to Timmie for coining the term and encouraging me to build this website, Will for designing the website and building it, plus not laughing at me for this project, Chi for not defriending me as a result of this but rather, suggesting ways to build on the website, and Zander for brainstorming tag lines and visions for this new little blog, and reminding me that there could be potential to expand from mere photos of the bears.

I’m not sure yet where Bearapy will lead me, and the vision needs crystallizing. For now, I will enjoy giggling at my own production of bear photos. One step at a time.

Channel your creativity. Whatever it may be.

Enjoy some Bearapy here.

Be me.

If you have any ideas for how Bearapy can develop, or thoughts about this post, please share in the comments below. Also, if you liked this blurb please share with your friends and help my blog grow. Thanks!


20 Responses

  1. The Vizier says:

    Hiya Noch Noch,

    Ahh I love books on battles and romance. Imaginary worlds are the best. In fact, I read widely to inspire myself. I read history, science-fiction, horror (hp lovecraft), comics, manga and lately it has been cultural studies (the Korean Mind, thanks to my love for K-Dramas).

    I am a deep diving creative btw. Whenever something catches my attention, I drop everything else to focus on it. Ah you should have seen the way I tried to build my empire in my grand strategy games. 😛

    Your bear site looks great. I liked it on facebook and got another friend of mine to like it. As an Aries I would say follow your heart and do what you love. As long as you are not hurting anyone, it does not matter what people say. Bearalist sounds cool. You could sign off as Noch Noch the Bearalist. I always sign off as Irving the Vizier.

    I look forward to seeing how Bearapy will grow.

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt article!

    Irving the Vizier

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Irving

      I can imagine you playing with the boardgames and addicted to manga. haha

      Thanks for checking out my bear website. I’m not sure how it will grow but I’m toying with some ideas. Lets see as time goes

      Appreciate your support!!

      Noch Noch the Bearalist :p

  2. srini says:

    hi! Noch

    I saw your comments as below:
    Sometimes, I am grateful I’m depressed. In fact, I write the best when I’m feeling down in the dumps. The effervescence of words bubbles out uncontrollably.

    – now, but for the above, you would not have got friends like us. who knows, as a high flying financial exec you may not have bothered to look at the other world. Keep smiling and have a blast

    Now I will read your blog fully

  3. Hiten says:

    Hi Noch Noch,

    Firstly, can I say I love the Bearapy concept! :-)

    Secondly, as a person who grew up with a stammering problem, I know a thing or two about depression and anxiety.

    Like yourself, I look at the problems I had as something I had to experience in order to get to what I ended up becoming.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Hiten

      So happy you like the Bearapy concept. I’m still developing it and thinking of how it can help others over and above just my little obsession with bears ahha

      It’s great encouragement, what you said – I think indeed it’s experience we have to go through so we become who we are!!!

      Thanks for coming by

      Noch Noch

  4. […] choose to be well enough. In the same way, I am thankful for depression, for it helped me rediscover my creativity once again, and my writing. I am thankful for depression for it gave me a husband. I am thankful […]

  5. srini says:

    Hello! Noch

    what happened? you have been quite for past 10 days. are you busy travelling?

    I look forward to receiving a positive cheerful reply soon

    take care and have fun

  6. […] high to somewhere in the unknown. We know we will land in a soft pool of cotton candy and care bears and yet we are afraid to […]

  7. […] was nothing I could do except play with my bears and my dog Bamboo. I got worried and more frustrated at my migraine for it prevented me from […]

  8. […] was when a friend, who knew I wanted to explore my creativity in depth, recommended I read the book, The Artist Way, by Julia Cameron. The book is about how we […]

  9. […] to my bears makes me giggle Then why do I muse over the most efficient way to die the next […]

  10. […] Way. A good friend of mine suggested I read and follow this 12-week course to expose myself to my inner creativity. At week 2, Judith talks about “Crazymakers” – those who destroy our mood just before […]

  11. […] is a story of someone who is “making it.” One day I will change the world too, and for now I am healing, and […]

  12. […] of different colours and sizes, all staring up at me with their soft eyes, welcoming me home with their cuddliness. I sink deep into the red chaise longue by the window, the first significant procurement I had made […]

  13. […] some of you are aware, I have been developing Bearapy – bear therapy to help those with depression and anxiety issues. This is a project I have been […]

  14. […] of these comments remind me of those I received during my worst depression days. “You should be grateful.” “You should not say that.” “You should feel like […]

  15. […] spaces are where creativity is in its fullest, where play and imagination […]

  16. […] is a big bubble of confusion. So many things I would like to do, a gazillion different things I am interested […]

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about Noch Noch

Noch Noch is 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. Noch Noch loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive for the last 7 years in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2011 due to her illnesses and now spends her 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.