why I did not want to help myself out of depression


I had a revelation last week before going bed. Timmie was going through a bad space and time, glum and confused about the next steps. He lamented about a lack of motivation and drive.

Ah – motivation and drive. I miss them.

I equally miss determination and persistence.

This was why depression brought me down so hard. The depressed me was antagonistic to everything I had known of myself.
I was enthusiastic in my studies and in learning. I was inspired by intellectual discussions and concepts. I wanted to be better and improve. I was driven to achieve, to strive, to work, and to play.

When I had a goal in mind, I would accomplish it, no matter how impossible it looked. I had the determination. I sprung from an F in Economics class to A+. I was the slowest in the class but eventually represented my high school in athletics sprinting competitions because I trained without fail. The only thing I could not really change was shooting air balls in basketball competitions – so I focused on defense skills. Given a task, I could picture in my head the project timeline and resources needed. I prioritized before others knew they had to make a plan. I used spare time during the day to finish trivial errands. I drilled my French so I could argue with colleagues with native eloquence. I had no idea how many zeros was in one million, so I learnt it, memorized it, and conquered it.

I was a bubbly ball of zeal and giggles. The harder you pushed me down, the higher I rebounded. I had surplus impetus and initiative.

When depression showered me with lethargy, diffidence, and apathy, I berated myself for becoming someone so different.

I was livid with the change in personality. I could not bear to accept I had become someone so fragile, so weak, so dependent and so despondent that I did not even want to help myself.

I wanted to give up. I wanted to die. And I abhorred myself for thinking so.

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But then my psychologist explained to me – and to Timmie – that it was not me. That person who wanted to die was not me. It was depression strumming the chords. It was the sickness that overpowered my psyche.

I was still me. I still had resolve and perseverance – they were just drowned out by depression temporarily.

The moment I accepted I was still me at the core, I was able to step aside from rebuking myself in order to focus on issues I had to confront so I could out-swim the depressive inundation.

Depression plays tricks on our minds.

But embrace it; let depression teach you what you need to learn about yourself.

And trust in your own power to harness depressed moods.

You can do it too.

30 Responses

  1. The Vizier says:

    Hi Noch Noch,

    Wow you really know how to achieve your goals given your past history!

    Yeah I agree with your psychologist. Once you know how to do something, the knowledge cannot be taken away from you. Besides, you can’t change who you really are inside.

    If you were so driven once, you can be just as driven again and again. I suppose it is just a matter of finding balance and having meaningful goals.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

    Irving the Vizier

  2. Amy says:

    Hi Noch Noch,

    Something that i have learnt is…that the smarter you get the more miserable you become. Basically because you’re very intellegent, same here….the more we find out about the world, we’re not satisfied…but the more we learn…we become unhappy also because of that. Oh also, i couldn’t reply to another post, i’ll try to find it so i can reply >.<

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Amy

      I agree. But i also think that the more we see the more we can empathize, understand, confront and let go. But it’s just a long long long process and we have to be patient 🙂

      Noch Noch

      • Amy says:

        Thing is I lost my patience long ago…been dealing with this…since 4 years old…always felt so angry at the world…it only gets worse, also my paranoia is getting so hard to deal with…and Psychiatrists don’t really care about us, they just wanna get paid…they never cared…they’ve cancelled my appointment before christmas! This was an appointment I have been waiting for for AGES! She went and got sick and they didn’t even have a replacement…and that’s not the first time it’s happened when i was seeing other specialists…I’m getting SO impatient with all these setbacks and believe me this is an abnormal amount of setbacks…most of the people got their appointments…these psychiatrists keep messing with my head and they either cancel or change the day for appointment or time in which I can’t do then I have to wait LONGER….I’m not getting help at the moment, I’m trying very hard to get it…but they don’t care…they’re assholes and only want their paycheck, that’s all they care about, they don’t really wanna help us, they couldn’t care less…society is selfish so are doctors and psychiatrists…they always put us in MORE danger by either giving HORRIBLE medication which do awful things…and i mean when you get meds that make every muscle in your body spasm all at once…it’s painfula nd terrifying and I had to go to a hospital and I have like a really extreme phobia of them…and countless other times they cocked up and put my life and mental health in even MORE danger…I give up…it’s pointless even trying…too late, I’m broken, broken beyond all repair…

  3. jim says:

    You don’t know how timely this post is for me. Even though I know intellectually that I have depression, it can still cause my mind to go places I don’t want it to go. For the past week I had been planning how to give away things I don’t need and write my final letter. Yes, I was in that bad of a place. Thanks for opening my eyes again.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Jim

      I’m glad it was timely and it helped you! Depression is treacherous but it can also strengthen us. Dont write a final letter yet. Your time is not up yet! Embrace depression and let it show you life 🙂 write me any time okay?


  4. Jim says:

    Thank you I mean that. In the time I have had two car wrecks and a woman behave immaturely with me rather than just saying she did not want to go out again. Oh well.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Jim
      Hope life is treating you better these days?

      • jim says:

        Hi Noch
        I am trying to make it better. I am trying new medication (hate taking it) and meditation and practicing gratitude. I did find myself writing a letter to my friends, but it just sits there. Thanks for asking.
        It bothers me a lot that I don’t have a lot of the things I thought I would have at my age, mostly because I made bad decisions growing up due to depression and anxiety. So I need to figure out how to get some of those things. I feel very overwhelmed and lonely, but your email helps, even from someone I don’t know.
        Thanks again.

  5. Louisa says:

    My heart goes out to all of you who are suffering from depression. I have been a victim for a long, long time. Happy to say I have recovered to a great extent with professional help, energy healing, Chinese medicine, Buddhism and a new job hat I enjoy. I wish all of you good luck and speedy recovery. Cheers…

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Louisa

      Good to see you here 🙂 Thanks for reading my blog. I am also taking Chinese medicine and started reading some Buddhist teachings. I hope you are well!


      • Louisa says:

        I am well, Enoch, enjoying my work, my family and friends and taking part in housekeeping matters, for the first time. Cheers ….

  6. Tania says:

    I came across your blog and have spent a large part of the last few days trawling through the archives. I want to applaud you for your candidness and showing your vulnerability. Part of me can’t comprehend how such a beautiful, accomplished, privileged and successful woman could be in such a bad place. However, I completely understand and identify with your writing because I have been there too. I well know the feelings of despair, hopelessness, the worry and the constant nagging feeling of “I’m not good enough.” Depression is very pernicious but ultimately it can make us more self-aware, authentic, and compassionate – to ourselves and others. I look forward to following your ongoing journey of recovery.

    • nochnoch says:


      I appreciate your support for my blog and also your encouragement. It has indeed been an enlightening period of self discovery in the last few years in depression, and also indeed, raised my self awareness. I sometimes look back and also wonder why I fell through the bottomless pit. These days I can sum it up to say : I underestimated my environment, and overestimated myself, so adjustment was needed, and it came in form of breakdown, burnt out and depression. For the better

      Take care and I hope you are well
      noch noch

  7. […] to all of you out there who struggle with clinical depression, anxiety, bipolar, illnesses, or whatever it is, kudos to you […]

  8. Robyn Major says:


    For Christmas, my lovely boyfriend has set me up a website that will later become my guide to depression. I’ve suffered from it for over ten years now and I mentioned a while ago that its something that I’d love to do. Even if I can just help one person somewhere in the world, I’ll be happy. I admire your strength and I can’t tell you how much every one of your words makes me say out loud ‘YES, i totally felt that way!’

    Thankyou for being inspiring. I hope I can one day too.

    Ps. My boyfriend used your site to for inspiration to create my website and copied some quotes, I will be removing them and creating my own, but he put them there to inspire me.

    Yours lovingly,


    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Robyn

      I went to your site and left a comment. I am happy for you and for your boyfriend who’s there to help you. Glad to know I can be of some inspiration. I think others would be encouraged to hear from your experience too. Hope your blog works out well for you and becomes your therapy as it has been for me

      Noch Noch

  9. […] did not take care of myself. I had no energy to. I was unmotivated […]

  10. Sara says:

    Hi there,
    I just wanted to say thanks so much for writing this post, it sounds exactly like my experience of feeling like I had lost my former (active, achieving, energetic) self, and having to deal with that loss on top of everything else. I haven’t read any other accounts that talk about this in a way that chimed so much, so I was grateful to read it. And your reminder at the end that you do still have parts of yourself that can address the lethargy and the dark feelings, and so some power to gain control again, seems really important to me. It is hard to talk/write about this stuff publicly, but I am very glad that you do.
    I hope you are well,

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Sara

      I am happy to hear you resonate with my description. It’s a vicious cycle and I am learning not to judge myself or compare myself or think ‘when I am back to who I was’. Rather I try to think that this is a growing process and I will metamorphosize into a new me thats stronger and more self aware. The depression is part and parcel of the big picture

      Hope you find strength and a way to motivate yourself too
      Write me any time

      Noch Noch

  11. […] Instead of asking “How are you?”, to which the response would inevitably be “Sh!t” from me, my friend Slo simply sent me a message every day to talk to me about irrelevant topics. Modern technology definitely made it easy and inexpensive. Even though this had nothing to do with my health or depression, these quips distracted me from my consistent drone of crying bouts and stimulated my curiosity to poke my head from under the covers. […]

  12. […] aids in lifting us out of depression. The irony is that with clinical depression, one has no energy or impetus to want to roll out of bed or the couch, and go do exercise. Others, like myself at one point, […]

  13. […] & burps, the aches, the soreness, or the lethargy…? Bear in mind that all these are but the minor sufferings for I have a healthy pregnancy. There are women who end up with elephant-like swollen feet, […]

  14. […] last few months have been hard for me. I had relapse episodes. Mood sunk. I kept up appearances for some time but eventually I dwindled. I lost energy. I stopped my […]

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.