Dressing Up to Change your Mood


I rummaged through the closet and came across a fake Max Mara red & white-checkered dress. I decided it must be worn today to fit into the summer sun. I wet my hair, threw off the oversized Mickey Mouse T-shirt and the fake BAPE shorts, and slipped in the dress. I ruffled up a slab of leave-in hair conditioner and started the fusillade of hot air from the blow dryer to whip my hair into a more presentable bob.

Grabbing my yellow bag with a rubber duckie in the front, I packed some draft paper, the Mont Blanc pen

from the days I used to carry daily as a banker, slipped on a pair of Jimmy Choo wedges that had undoubtedly been imitated and reproduced from a sketchy factory in Southern China, and walked out the door. I decided against any accessories, but thought the pair of Ray Bans that I purchased from Taobao for a fraction of store retail price was indispensable to shield myself against the sun’s glare.

Randomly, I chose a coffee shop, bought a cappuccino, sat on the deck – as far away from the smokers as possible – and started to scribble the first thought that came to mind: jigsaw puzzles.

I visualized and took my emotions to the process of playing with jigsaw puzzles – an activity that serves to distract me from my depressive thoughts. I looked up into the sky as I contemplated the vocabulary choice, crossing a few words out. Then I bent my gaze back down onto the paper, fleshed out another sentence, twirled my pen around my fingers, sipped the foamy milk and looked around me.

It was that moment I realized I was feeling good today.

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The trees were a mesmerizing green, resilient in the midst of car fumes buzzing into the air I breathed. I was writing on my own. That very moment I was happy – not an hysterical excitement, but rather, a calm serenity of fulfillment. The worries of doctor appointments, health treatments, my life in general, and whether Bamboo (my dog)would poo, vanished with the echoes of the car honks.

I smiled a little smile to myself.

The moral of the story is two-fold:

1. Dressing up in bright colours and cleaning up our appearance could help dissipate a depressive episodeI know it is against the very nature of a depressed person to do so, but my plea: Try.

2. Everything I was wearing was fake. But I was real. My thoughts were real. I was me — and for that I felt contented.

As to the ethics of wearing non-genuine items, well, you can call me in on that one…
depression, recover from depression, how to get out of depression, suicide, international executive, expatriate life, self awareness, finding yourself, balanced life, overachiever and depression, burnt out cause depression, stress cause depression, prevent suicide, Beijing depression, Beijing suicide, Noch Noch, Bearapy,

12 Responses

  1. carrie says:

    It is good that you are sharing your journey. Though there are tremendous superficial differences, I feel akin to the experiences you express. I applaud your courage for sharing, that is often the hardest step of all. Bless you.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Carrie

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to leave me a message. I hope you have found your way to live through life’s challenges.

      Take care
      Noch Noch

  2. Lily Lai says:

    That sounds lovely, Noch!

  3. Michaela says:

    Hello Noch Noch,
    Today has not been a good day for me, depression wise, I was not sure how I was going to make it through the day. Fortunately I have passed through the worst of it and am now only feeling sad and drowsy. I put how I was feeling into google to see what would come up and this is how I came across your blog. For the last two hours I have been reading old posts and comments. You are an inspiration I will be coming back to regularly. I feel lonely most of the time, not for a lack of friends but because no one quite ‘gets it’ I guess. Right now I feel less lonely. And perhaps even a little hopeful, something I was worried I had lost for good. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Michaela

      I am so touched by your message, and yes hope is the antidote to depression, though sadly, the symptom of depression is a state of hopelessness and helplessness. But it is great you are searching – literally via google and figuratively through expressing your thoughts and self reflection. I know that we can all feel lonely despite having a lot of friends. I also find sometimes I feel lonely, that no one identifies with the changes I am experiencing, albeit a lot of loving friends around me. Others might interpret it as being “ungrateful” but you and I both know it has nothing to do with gratitude, but rather a journey of the soul we are going through. I hope depression will bring you good things as it has done for me. If anything, I am more self-aware and emotionally mature than before, but lots more work needs to be done.

      Take care my friend
      Noch Noch

  4. Hello,

    You and your readers might find inspiration in some of the articles I have written about happiness. You can find it here:

    I think that deep down happiness is still a choice even though we are having hard times.

    Anders Hasselstrøm

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Anders

      Thanks for sharing. I am sure my readers find it helpful.
      Indeed happiness is a choice. I know a lot of people use the phrase “I’m depressed” very easily. For these people, happiness is a choice, and there could be changes in life to make themselves happy. For those, however, with clinical depression especially those with suicidal intent, it is not a simple matter of choosing to be happy or not. Indeed most of us will choose to be happy, but biological and mental and emotional factors make it seem like an impossibility. Therefore, through various treatment methods, whatever suits the person best, the person can be helped to find the state again where they have the strength physically and mentally to choose to be “happy” again. Clinical depression, and other mental or mood disorders, is like when we get ill with the flu or cancer, except the illness is with the mental sphere, whilst flu is the physical sphere. We can all choose to not be sick of course, but once sick, need proper care for the body in order to get back to the state where we can choose to be healthy, eat healthy, exercise etc. Likewise with mental disorders.

      Thanks again for your insights. I hope more people will share your inspiration

      Noch Noch

  5. Mar says:

    Do you ever dress up and never leave the house? I’ve done it a few times.

  6. Dawn says:

    Hi Noch,
    This post inspired me to make an extra effort regarding my appearance. I wore a green open cardigan, a white tee, jeans, and flats. The color of the catdigan alone boosts my mood!
    Your post also reminded me of some steps that I would take when I would have a mild to moderate relapse. My steps consist of : take a shower, wear clothes that make me feel pretty, get out of the house, listen to some upbeat music, and one or two more steps that I don’t recall at the moment. (I think one step was to read inspiring/motivational material.)
    Anyway, thank you so much for sharing. I hope that you are improving!
    Hugs to you!

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Dawn

      Sounds like a great outfit! Sorry for the super late reply. I have been dealing with some issues lately and did not have much energy 🙁
      But I got myself a new orange dress and that helped!

      Noch Noch

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.