happy birthday


Happy Birthday to me – well, to my blog. Today my blog is TWO years old.

My blog has grown and I am proud of its development down the meandering path in the last 24 months since it’s inception. Sometimes I need to stop criticizing myself for everything I have not done and congratulate myself for what I have achieved.

I did not start writing to become a blogger, nor did I start writing to become a writer. I started writing to take care of myself, to reflect, and to think. It was my therapy – a therapy I hope would inspire others, and give those who need it, some encouragement.

On the subject of self-awareness, I am still in process of learning about myself. A lot of habits still need un-learning and re-learning. My mentality still needs refining. I still worry a lot. But I have come a long way since two years ago, since the days when I could not get up from bed, hospital visits everyday, shutting myself up from the world, attempts at ending my own life, and losing 15kilos because I had no appetite.

So despite the ongoing treatments and physical pains, I should be proud of myself.

However, it seems my writing has been all over the place. I still do not know who my target audience is, and who reads my blog. Sometimes a few hundred people read my blog in one day, and sometimes none. Yet, I have stopped caring about analytics and sharing statistics. I suppose I just have to write. For if I am all over the place, then my writing should reflect just that, because that’s the purest, naturalest me exposed, as my tagline would approve.

The art of writing wise, “state of flux” might be an apt description. I started from pouring out my thoughts in shambled paragraphs to rediscovering my passion for writing and literature. I tried to experiment with different forms of writing style. I tried to dredge out the vocabulary I forgot. If what I write resonates with at least one of you, then who cares how I write it and if I had no “lists” or “headings”?

A concoction of emotions inundated me as I read every single post from beginning to end this evening.

Some made me cringe – “I wrote that?”

Some made me giddy – “Ohhh, that was a good story written with eloquence.”

Some brought me to tears – “I can still feel the wrath, the disappointment, the anger… and the love.”

depression, how to recover from depression, what not to say to a depressed person, international executive, expatriate life as female executive, Gund Snuffles, Tiger Mother, DGS, Diocesan Girls' School, how to achieve self awareness, what is depression like

I regroup here some of my favourite articles for you, and hope you will celebrate with me today, the milestone as I turn two:

On depression

  1. i hated my own reflection
  2. why do I even need to be depressed?
  3. spinning out of control
  4. inspiring blog posts for recovery from depression (part I of II)
  5. inspiring blog posts for recovery from depression (part II of II)
  6. if I could choose a normal life, would I?
  7. a trip to ER
  8. 10 things not to say to a depressed person (and please don’t ever say to me either)
  9. letter to myself
  10. stuck under snow

On life and health balance

  1. are you ignoring these signs too?
  2. and in the beginning, there was stress…
  3. revamping thoughts
  4. “sorry, i can’t do dinner, got a conference call / meeting / work…”
  5. compulsive emailing
  6. are vacations really a holiday?
  7. the challenge of “just chilling”
  8. “do you need a retirement coach?”
  9. the balance model : stop “achieving”
  10. why “work-life” balance? advocating a 3.5 day weekend

On growing up

  1. the irony of religion
  2. the disappointment sweater underneath
  3. revamping the tiger mum style – to “be” or to “do”?
  4. confronting the past
  5. letter to my 16-year-old
  6. tiger mum in action

On inner peace

  1. smell the flowers
  2. the moment of now
  3. let it go
  4. someone I admire the most: Kung-Fu Panda
  5. “I believe I am changing the world”
  6. our monkey minds

On self awareness

  1. unnerving comparison
  2. do I look like I fly economy?
  3. pride & prejudice
  4. attributing blame
  5. masterchef to perfection
  6. apologies for my arrogance
  7. anger is good for you
  8. loss of identity

On writing and passion

  1. auguries of innocence
  2. writing poetry again
  3. writing poetry again – la suite…
  4. a new page

On Bearapy and creativity

  1. i am a baer and my name is floppie
  2. bearapy
  3. making life BEAR able – playful creativity, a rejuvenating force against depression
  4. stay away from crazymakers

On love and support

  1. an Angry Birds friend
  2. the partner in this whole ordeal
  3. a no-guilt-no-pressure friend
  4. “…if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world…”
  5. for me the bells toll – taking a break, getting married

So I will keep writing. I will keep taking care of myself.

I am proud of myself.

Be proud of you.

36 Responses

  1. Veeh Cirra says:

    Happy Birthday Dear!!! Yours has been one amazing journey.

    On to the next 😉

    Wish you many more beautiful ones.


  2. Ann says:

    Happy birthday!
    And thank you, NochNoch.
    Thanks, that you are with us,
    that you are so open,
    that you are so true, so close,
    without fear,
    without backthoughts.

    I’m reading your blog for several months. First time my English wasn’t so perfect to understand some sophisticated words, but I felt that I understood you, even if I didn’t understand every distinct word.

    I was sad and happy with you together, even when I wasn’t talk about it.
    I want you to feel my support, as the support of those hundreds that are still unspoken.
    You are making a great deal – you help others by sharing youself with us. Your heart is very kind.
    You make me better.
    Wish you all the best.

    Thank you.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Ann

      Thank you for the sweet message. That was great support and encouragement for me. Sometimes I am worried no one reads it but messages like yours make me feel warm and that I can help someone with sharing my thoughts. I am most touched you took the time to share your feedback with me
      Hope you are well, wherever you are, and if you need to feel free to write to me

      Noch Noch

  3. Annie B says:

    Happy birthday dear Noch Noch. Thankyou so much for sharing your personal journey, it has helped me enormously in understanding the journey my beautiful daughter is going through. I cry at some of your posts and are given a lot to think about in others. They are always wonderful and welcome. You are an inspiration and a gorgeous soul. Be well, lots of love. Xo

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Annie B

      How is your daughter doing these days? Hope she is improving. I am happy to know I can help you understand what we go through. It means a lot to me. Thank you for sharing your experience of being with your daughter with us. She is not alone – and neither are you, in dealing with a closed one who struggles. Thank you for being there for us!

      Noch Noch

  4. Congratulations Noch!

    This is a special time for you and your blog. Wow, I wouldn’t have guessed that your blog is only two years old! It’s very mature for it’s age. But then, it’s no wonder. It’s been a tool of inspiration to so many.

    It’s not defined by its age or the number of posts. It’s defined by the impact it has made on the lives of its readers. By the light it has shed on the otherwise dark crevasses of psyche. By the hope it promised to the hopeless.

    Keep shining Noch. Happy Birthday!


    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Vlad

      Oh thanks for the compliments – and very poetic too 🙂
      Its been quite a road as I search for my ‘online identity’ and you have helped me come to where I am today and how I write. I will be back online more these days hopefully to catch up on your blog too and continue to write more.
      Thanks again for your continuous support

      Noch Noch

  5. Nigel Chua says:

    Happy birthday, Nochie

    It’s the beginning, and more good stuff is coming your way still, in the everyday. =)


  6. jim says:

    Happy birthday! Please don’t ever think your blog does not do good in the world, even if sometimes that world is just yours. You write very well, and it really shows how much your writing has grown from the beginning. Thanks again

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Jim

      That’s a great point – sometimes that world is just me in it but that’s okay too 🙂 thanks for being my reader and journeying with me as my writing develops!!

      Noch Noch

  7. Ani says:

    Happy birthday to your blog 🙂

    You have come a long way. Nice that you have taken the right direction and are getting closer to where you want to be!

  8. Evelyn Lim says:

    Congratulations for having made it to the two-year mark. It is certainly an accomplishment and there is every reason to celebrate!!

    Keep writing!!

  9. Happy birthday and congrats on two years! That’s really fantastic, Noch.

    I just wanted to chime in quickly to say “stay with it.” Your blog and your writing is very inspirational and encouraging to me. Without going into too much detail, I left a job/career I held for 11 years because of massive burnout, crippling anxiety and depression. I went through a very scary period where suicide seemed like a pretty good option. My fears, my doubts, my lack of confidence and absence of optimism for the future nearly killed me. Six months later, with a lot of help from my husband, family, friends, counselor and doctor, I’m still recovering, but I’m making progress. I now have more good days than bad days. I can smile and I feel like all the agony and struggle will not defeat me, nor define me. This transition from being too-busy-for-my-own-good to underemployed – completely “in flux” – has not been easy, but it’s great to know I’m not the only person out there going through it. Your honesty, your authenticity, your bravery to put your thoughts and feeling out there, is admirable and I genuinely appreciate it. I look forward to your posts and follow your blog with pleasure.

    Wishing you all the best,

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Kate

      Thanks for openly sharing your story – in flux is one great apt description and I hear ya! I guess we have both come a long way to realize the bad days can be overcome and managed and that it will go up and down. The anguish still strikes and on some days I feel desperate again but like you I am better can dealing with it. There are many out there like us and we can be support for them
      Thanks again for supporting my blog, thoughts and writing. We are in it together and good things will come!!

      What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger — literally!! 🙂

      Noch Noch

  10. jim says:

    As hard as your journey has been for you I am greatly encouraged your passage happened relatively quickly. Mine, similar to yours in the anxiety, lack of direction, etc, has taken years.
    Don’t ever give up!

    • Hi Jim –
      Thank you so much for your kind words. Some days, I feel like “progress” is so slow or minimal it can’t be seen, or that I’m even sliding backwards, but from my initial trauma to now – you’re right, I have come a long way. Every day presents it’s own challenges and opportunities and little by little, I’m making it.

      “What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.”


    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Jim, Kate again

      I’m reminded of a saying: “there is a time for everything”… and hope you both will get to where you want to be in your own good time. Sometimes I am frustrated at how slow my recovery is, but I know my body needs its time to heal, and I should let it heal instead of rushing it through

      Take care
      Noch Noch

  11. Lily Lai says:

    Happy birthday deariee!!! Your words are always wonderful and heavenly and hit just the right spots!

  12. jim says:

    Thanks Kate and Noch. Plain and simple, depression is a bitch no matter someone’s age, race, creed. It just isn’t fun. But blogs like this that help everyone to share and not feel alone do wonders for the rest of us.
    I know personally dealing with the stigma associated with depression adds a whole other layer to trying to deal with the disease.
    I recently ran across a website that was started by Glen Close in response to her sister having mental illness her whole life. It is called Bring Change 2 If you feel it is appropriate to pass this on to others you know, please do so. This is the only site or resource I have found specifically focused on stigma. Reducing or one day eliminating the stigma associated with depression or other mental illnesses will go along way towards helping to find a cure. In other words if people don’t have a stigma involved, they are much more likely to help find ways to search for a cure, either money, time etc.
    Thanks again.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Jim
      Completely agree – I was myself, too proud and regarded mental illness with a stereotype and so delayed and resisted treatmet initially. Thanks for the website link. I also found Time to Talk, a UK website dedicated to destigmatizing. Partly, it is also our ‘responsibility’ to talk more abt how we feel and let others understand us, thereby dispelling the stigma

  13. TonyB says:

    Congratulations! I’m glad I came across your blog. It’s helping me a lot.

  14. Maureen says:

    Hey Noch …

    I stumbled upon your blog as I was roaming through, and all I wanted to ask you was, How are you doing today?

    I am also no self-help guru … but the first thought that came to mind was to ask how you were. The fact that you are challenging this depression and working through it, shows you are DEFEATING it. Sometimes, there’s this strange desire to WANT to become absorbed in the depression, for whatever reason it may be …. but think about the MOMENTS OF JOY that you do encounter each day. ANCHOR yourself with those moments. It could be a joyful interaction with a stranger, a uplifting comment from a fellow blogger, the sun shining and warming your skin, or even puppies! lol

    EVERY MOMENT we have a CHOICE to make the best of this life, the will power is always in YOU, surround yourself with uplifting books, uplifting videos, uplifting ppl, and less of the things you may gravitate towards your depression. Sometimes we must hear this a million times until it sinks in.

    I have recently started a blog, with some inspirational writing. I have dealt with depression before, dealt with a lot of painful trauma, but my blog is dedicated to the INNER ME, the JOY that squashes the fear, in hopes it can help be the pick-me-up someone may have needed one day.

    Please be well. 🙂

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Maureen

      Thanks for the positive energy 🙂 It’s true, sometimes we indulge, but with every indulgence I learn a bit more about myself, my thoughts, my emotions, my behaviour. And then each time I get better at picking myself out of those relapses. Getting to know our inner selves is a process, there are good bits, bad bits, strong bits, not so strong bits but each bit is beautiful
      Thank for the uplifting message, and it’s encouraging to know others have gone through their share of pain and have risen to the other side

      As for your question – I am doing quite good today. The sun is shining, I’m writing, typing, and hanging out with my bears….

      Hope you are well too!
      Noch Noch

  15. Christina says:

    Hi Noch Noch! Congratuations on your two years of writing this blog. I started reading your blog in May and I will continue to read it as long as you keep writing. You inspire me a lot to be a better person with dealing with depression. I don’t want my depression to win and not let me do the things I want to do in life. Thank you for your blog and happy writing:)

  16. Christina says:

    Thank you for the advice. Instead of making depression my enemy, I will make it my friend.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Christina – hope your new “friend” will give you some energy and insights about you to make you a better and stronger person!
      Embrace it 🙂
      Noch Noch

  17. Hi Noch,

    It’s amazing to me that you were just beginning to think about starting a blog when I met you. And now look at what you have accomplished–a beautiful, raw, honest, and inspiring body of work to share with the world.

    Happy birthday!


    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Ann

      THANKS! Have been thinking of you in Vienna. Yes it has been a long journey and you have definitely inspired quite a few posts. The universe has its ways of sending messages. I was just in a moment of self-critique when I read your comment, and it reminded me of what Timmie always says, to give myself some credit and focus on what I have done instead of the million things on my to-do list yet to be tackled. Thank you for reminding me! Always grateful for your love and friendship


  18. […] with my trophy filled life to allow a different thinking into my mind. I did not even know what blogs were […]

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.