Uplifting Depression: 15 Unexpected Lessons from Adversity

“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Two years ago, reading this quote, I would smirk and think, “What a cliché.”

In the last two years, I would read this quote and be in utter disbelief that anything can be learned when one is in the depths of hell.

Today, I read this quote and resonate confidently, that yes, even though I tried to end my life, even though I had to quit a high paying job, even though I still suffer from major depression, good has come out of my negative experience, and I have learned the lesson to take care of myself and listen to my body, albeit the hard way.

Around November 2009, my doctor said to me, “Noch, I think you are burned out. Your migraines are most probably due to stress. Please go see a psychologist.”

My fiancé dragged a reluctant me into the shrink’s office, and I came out, diagnosed with major depression. I had no idea what it meant or what would become of me. I just felt extremely unmotivated, had no appetite, only had negative thoughts in my little head, and was excruciatingly tired of life.

I was immensely frustrated with myself. I didn’t know why I was depressed, or burned out. I thought I had it all: the executive job, high on the corporate ladder at the young age of twenty-eight.

I spoke a few languages, lived all around the world, had a man who loved me for who I was, had my few soul mates and a wide network of friends. So what happened to me?

Indeed, I felt really ungrateful to be sick at all.

All the people who passed me everyday in the misty smog of Beijing seemed to live much harder lives, scraping by the wayside. So, who was I to be unhappy about my life? I had no answer. And the more I thought about it, the more I got caught in my web of negative thoughts and unreasonable reasoning of life.

I closed myself off from the rest of the world and disappeared off the social radar. I was forced to take medical leave from work, being physically unable to do any work or concentrate.

The few close friends who knew of my plight tried to console me.

“It’s a challenge and test, to make you stronger,” they’d say. They gave me examples of all these great leaders of the world who had to go through trials and tribulations to get to where they were. There was something in store for me, and it would end up a positive life changing experience, they reassured me.

But I could not agree with anything they said. I could not see beyond that dark tunnel of despair. I found no meaning in life.

I tried to end my own life a few times. Each time my fiancé stopped me or saved me in time.

This lasted for some nine months. I stopped caring how I looked or dressed. I spent each day in bed or on the beanbag in the living room. I was too aloof to even watch TV or read a book.

I was amused by the irony that when I was so busy with work, all I wanted was time to lie around to watch TV or read; yet when I did have the time, I had no energy or interest.

Somehow, a little spark went off in my head one day, and I decided to write my own blog. Perhaps it was after reading too many articles in the blogosphere on depression, or how to live a better life that I got such inspiration. So, I started writing and rambling.

I fleshed out my negative thoughts, amidst pain and crying as I recounted the days and livid emotions in those none months of my worst days of major depression. I searched within my soul.

I asked myself again those fundamental questions on what I wanted in life, what would make me happy, and what my passions were.

Through my self-reflection and writing, I finally learned, painstakingly, in no particular order:

1. Don’t ignore warning signals in your body. Frequent petty colds, stomach aches, and headaches may all be a sign of stress.

2. There is no need to be strong all the time, and even less of a need to maintain an image of strength in front of others.

3. Achievements and titles mean nothing if they’re not something you’re passionate about.

4. Creativity is therapeutic, and it’s in everyone, just sometimes suppressed.

5. We need to matter the most to ourselves—over any job promotion, meeting, excel spreadsheet.

6. Not replying to emails immediately is not the end of the world.

7. We all need spare time for ourselves—time for solitude and reflection.

8. It doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks, if we know in our hearts something isn’t right.

9. Most petty worries aren’t serious. So save some energy.

10. Everything will be okay in time.

11. Health is the most important thing in the world.

12. Sometimes it’s best to stop doing so many things, and instead spend more time enjoying what we have.

13. There is no point in being afraid of the uncertainty because it doesn’t change that the future is uncertain. Leap.

14. We don’t have to worry about being a disappointment to anyone, because we do not need to live according to anyone else’s expectations of us.

15. We will all hurt. Embrace the pain, and know that suffering is a choice.

Depression was a loud wake up call for me. It taught me to stop sprinting toward the vanity of titles, money, and achievements with a muddled vision. It was a signal that something was wrong in my life and change was needed. It took getting close to death for me to fully appreciate the value of every breath.

I do not purport to have learned everything there is to learn about adversity. Yet, my mind has opened to welcoming experiences that might seem negative, now and in years to come.

Whatever befalls, positive or negative, embrace it with open arms, experience it, and learn from it.

Today, I am still recovering from depression, but I’m learning to free myself from the traps of negative thinking, and establishing new habits for a new life.

So I say thank you sickness. Thank you depression. Thank you adversity.

We’ve all had our fair shares of struggles, and we’ll all have more—which means we’ll have new opportunities to learn, grow, and share it.

What are some of the wisdom you’ve reaped in your challenging times?

Photo by hang_in_there

About Noch Noch

Noch Noch traveled the world as an international executive for seven years. After an episode of stress-related major depression and other illnesses two years ago, she is redefining her priorities. She is now on a quest for clarity and self-awareness, jotting down her reflections at “Be Me. Be Natural.”

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  • SL

    I read a really good article title “How Will You Measure Your Life”, which was a speech given to Harvard MBA grads. It had a bunch of good information about 3., valuing titles over family.

    With regard to 6., I recently turned of all email notifications on my phone and the popup messages on my computer. This has allowed me to check email between tasks rather than being interrupted by email. I’ve found it immensely productive (in combination with Pomodoro) and you’re right, it’s not the end of the world if you reply an hour later.

    Thanks for the additional information,

  • Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

    This is a great article and it is so true. We can all learn from our challenges. I have been struggling with anorexia for 14 years, being close to death more than once. What I learned in those 14 horrible years? I am stronger than I think and, despite major phases of depression, I held on to live with shear power of my will. Recovery has brought me closer to myself. I have learned so much about me in the last year. Recovery made it possible for me to transform in ways that I could have never imagined. I have learned to trust myself and to let go. 

  • Hi Anne-Sophie
    How encouraging!!! It’s exactly that! “trust myself and to let go”
    Sometimes I thik it was fear that made me such a control freak
    thanks for sharing your experience here!!!Noch Noch

  • Hi SL – I just googled that speech to Harvard MBA grads. Englightening! Thanks for mentioning it!

    Hope you are wellNoch Noch

  • Hi Noch Noch,

    Ah your experience reminds me of my own struggles with depression.  I remember being aloof and cut off from the world.  I remember being totally unmotivated to do anything.  I never quite reached the point of wanting to kill myself, but every single day was a waking hell.  I just didn’t care or have anything to live for.  You’re lucky for having your fiance by your side.  I had to find my answers on my own.  

    I used to be a very toxic person, spreading gloom and doom to all my friends.  But over the years, I cut myself off socially like you did.  I also stopped talking about my problems because I realized it changed nothing.  Today, I have learned to focus on the solutions instead of the problems.  I may not be a cheerful Care Bear like Tenderheart Bear, but I am certainly not Grumpy Bear.  Maybe I am Zen Bear?  Haha!

    I agree with your 15 lessons, but yeah, I also learned many lessons from my pain and depression.  The only reason I experienced pain and depression was because I had not fully learned the lessons.  Thus, I had to have remedial lessons from life.  The key lesson was mastering my emotions.  

    Another important lesson was creating meaning in my life.  It’s amazing how much you can learn from a fellow Aries.  Viktor Frankl, the holocaust survivor and psychotherapist, taught me about meaning in life from his book Man’s Search for Meaning.  Since I am an INFJ, I can never live for material gains or for myself.  It is totally unmotivating to me.  I have to live to protect someone, for that special someone.  Since this is the way I am, there is no point fighting it.  I just have to go with the flow.

    In the end, it is not just one thing that enabled me to deal with my pain and depression but a combination of things.  It is not just one approach, but a combination of approaches.  I know why I must do what I must do and I know how to do it.  The rest, I leave in the hands of the Universe.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!  🙂

    Irving the Vizier

  • Hi Irving

    Good to connect with you here and thanks for sharing your story here too. Sorry about your experience in depression too 🙁
    It’s not fun

    But like you say, we have our lessons learnt. Sounds like you’ve also gained more self awareness through this incident and found your own solutions to your issues!

    Take care
    Noch Noch

  • Grace

    My heart goes out to you. I received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder (manic depression) many years ago and have experienced painful bouts of depression and mania.
    I feel I’m in the midst of caregiver burnout right now and I spend a lot of time trying to escape those uncomfortable feelings.
    I read this yesterday (from the Tricycle website) and have been reading it over and over:
    (by Douglas Phillips)Our practice is to meet life exactly as it is and to notice whatever fear, anger, or doubt gets in the way of direct intimate contact with this moment, bringing attention to that as well. Rather than changing something or seeking to get somewhere we imagine we should be, practice is about seeing clearly exactly how things really are and how we relate to them. Practice thus becomes an increasing intimacy with life just as it is, and there is nothing—including the ideas that we should be getting something or somewhere—that is unworthy of the clear, nonjudgmental attention we call mindfulness. ********I often feel guilty when depressed because I “shouldn’t” be. I’m learning to be gentle with myself and sit with the feelings in a nonjudgmental fashion. You’re right – suffering is a choice. I practice allowing everything to be as it is and experience it all in beautiful moments.Love to you,Grace 

  • Kboffuss

    Dear Vizier,
    I’m sitting on my couch, relating SO much to what you wrote.  Nothing in life seems to bring me joy anymore and I find myself cutting off ties with those whom I am closest to, (family and friends).  What I would really love to know is how do you learn to master your emotions?  I have tried various therapists but haven’t figured it out yet! 🙁  Also, what is INFJ??

  • I remember being so stressed at work a few years ago and one day I just started crying and couldn’t stop. Evaluating my behavior I realized I was slipping into depression and decided to quit the job before it really started to affect my loved ones. When I tendered my resignation my boss thought I was ungrateful. That just reinforced my decision and made me realize that nothing is more important than taking care of myself and my well being. Everything is a process and sometimes we just have to let ourselves immerse in that period of negative feelings, but give ourselves a deadline to come out of it.

  • Mikederrico

    Thank you Noch Noch!

  • unionmaid

    What has helped me is finding a talented therapist (yay!) and following the path of mindfulness. One meditation has been particularly powerful for me. It comes from a Zen teacher named Cheri Huber:
    “Today you live each moment. You know nothing. So there is nothing to keep straight in your head. Since there’s nothing you should know there is no possibility that you should have known better. You believe nothing, so everything is possible. You’re not holding onto anything, so you’re available for the ‘anything’ that CAN happen. You are present, open, and spontaneous, able to go with any twist or turn of life. Your mind is fresh and supremely creative because it is not limited by preconceptions. You are not worried, anxious or afraid since you hold no beliefs that there are situations you won’t be able to handle, and your EXPERIENCE is that you have always been equal to life. You are at ease and comfortable because that is the natural state of your body, emotions, and mind, and you have no reason to be otherwise.”
    I have printed this out and re-read it often whenever I feel the need. Thank you Noch for your wonderful article!

  • Whitney

    Your post resonates so much within me.  I, too, have had major depression as part of my life and the most important thing it has given me is meditation.  Without being depressed, I never would have looked for ways of trying to get better.  And since I started meditating and let go of a lot of sadness in my life, it has been a gift beyond just getting better.  It has given me so much more than that.  So thank you, depression.  And thank you, Noch for sharing your words with me. 

  • Shawmacooley

    Thank you for writing this article, I really needed to hear these words today: “We don’t have to worry about being a disappointment to anyone, because we do not need to live according to anyone else’s expectations of us”. Thank you again! 

  • What a wonderful article. I can relate on so many levels, and ‘pulling yourself out of it’ is not easy, so Way to go! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  • I recommend the book “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. 

  • Andrea

    Hi Noch Noch, great blog post. I can relate to suffering from depression. I have my entire life. Based on my genetics/environment. In the past year I finally learned to manage it. Yoga/meditaton quiets my mind. Also and most importantly I journal every morning. I call it a brain dump because at times it feels like rambling but it’s actually freeing.

    I also agree with Vizier it’s a combination of things but it’s essential that you take care of your mind-body-spirit on a daily basis. Like Vizier I learned most of my lessons by life experience and on my own. Focussing on the solution instead of the perceived problem is highly effective. But I’ve taken it a step further and don’t judge it. I simply ask “what am I supposed to learn from this?”

    I hope this helps.

  • What a beautiful blog! Thank for sharing your story. I can totally relate to this.

    It takes hitting bottom sometimes before we realize how much we have and how much life is worth living for. I have such a different outlook on life than I did a year ago. Taking time for yourself, truly is so key.

    Most importantly, I found that it’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to admit your not really as strong as you want everyone to think. You are HUMAN! You are YOU and that’s OK!

  • What got me on the path of master of my emotions, if you will, was by not reliving the past hurt and just seeing it. My learning to do that, I slowly began to realize that I could be this way now. Why wait for things to happen and then figure out how to release the pain? Why not learn dispassion AND compassion toward my own self? Namaste.

  • I actually got through my depression with a change in diet & loving kindness meditations.  Compassion for others – even those who hurt you – can make a huge difference in your life.  I’m actually also an INFJ ,which I have been told is only 3% of the population.  To answer your question, its a personality type.

    I actually came from a pretty materialistic family & area where I grew up, so I am also able to have material wealth = happiness for me.  Honestly the most rewarding thing I can think of in my life is being the best wife and mother I know how to be.  Seeing the joy it brings my daughter and husband makes me happier than money or “stuff” ever has.

  • Yi Lin T

    this is lovely. Thank you 🙂

  • Kboffuss

    I actually started this book several years ago but didn’t get to far.  I picked it up again this afternoon at your recommendation and luckily the message (am on page 50) is finally starting to sink in!  As Tolle mentions, you won’t get the message until you’re ready.  Maybe now I’m finally ready! 🙂
    Thank you.  

  • Kboffuss

    Thanks Ashley.  I appreciate your feedback. 

  • Kboffuss

    I’m trying David, I’m trying! 🙂

  • Star-stuff

    I recently read a book called “Man’s Search For Meaning” and I realized that I have been living in, what Viktor Frankl calls, an “existential vacuum” for a very long time. I have suffered bouts of depression throughout my life.  I attempted to end my life when I was 16, but I realized that all I was really looking for was an escape.  So I left home a year later.  Only to find the depression following me.  I tried so many ways to distract myself…. drinking, men, going back to school.  I spent the last year dating a man totally wrong for me. He was self-absorbed and never cared one little bit about getting to know the real me.  After we broke up, I realized that I chose to stay with him for that very reason. I allowed myself to be completely absorbed in his life, so I wouldn’t have to think about mine and what I wasn’t doing with it.  So, despite the fact that his constant disinterest in getting to know me hurt me, I never challenged him, because I was very comfortable not having to address my own disinterest in my existence. Now, I sit here trying to find things to live for. Even small things.  I try to remember the fact that I exist at all must have some meaning and purpose in the world, since the likelihood of my existence was a miracle (in the sense that that one sperm had to fertilize that specific egg to create me, and that in itself is lucky).  I haven’t quite figured it out yet. But I feel like I’m growing just reflecting on my existence and the impact that I’ve made and can make. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Ivy Goh

    Noch Noch, thank you for sharing. I feel less alone with what I am going through right now. And felt even less alone when I read all the other ‘thank you’ notes you received from other people after reading your post.

    I’ve learnt that you DO get what YOU ask for in life. When I was flying hight on the corporate ladder and had everything at the young age of 26, I remember praying or talking to the universe as some call it… saying ” there has to be more to life then all this.”  And bam, I got married, had a beautiful baby boy, had a divorce, had 5 surgeries in one year, met an american man, quit my job, relationship with american man failed, I was left stranded with my son and no job. Today, after  few years of constant fighting with the world,  asking “why me?” or saying ” I don’t deserve this,this is not fair”.  Today, for the first time, and funny enough, it happened right before reading your post.. Today, I say ” thank you for showing me life”.

    I was just texting that to a friend when I read your post. Then read the other comments by people. Not only do I now believe in what I thanked God for, I now feel less alone and I know KNOW that everything WILL be ok from this moment on.

    (goose bumps just writing this)

    Big shout out and LOVE to Noch Noch and all of you out there. Hang in there! Be thankful for what you have, be true to yourself and one day…just like mine TODAY, you will understand why this is all happening.


  • Hi unionmaid

    Thanks for sharing that – it’s beautiful. I’m going to keep that meditation paragraph too!!! it’s very empowering!!!I’ve never heard of Cheri Huber, but I’m also exploring Zen and meditation as part of my therapy to rebuild my inner strength!
    I like that Buddha said, pain is inevitable, but suffering is by choice. i always remember that when my migraines come or when i start to feel really low in mood

    And yes, therapist is a chemisty. I ‘m glad you have found a good one. I got a cool shrink too. He’s from Jamaica and totally awesome!

    Take care
    Noch Noch

  • Hi Ivy

    That brought tears to my eyes reading it! I’m sorry to hear of the struggles you went through but yes, that’s life! it’s beautiful you’ve embraced it!!!
    And yes you are not alone. Truth be told, i always felt i was alone until I started reaching out myself. and even today, as I turned on my computer and clicked open Tiny Buddha, I was surprised to see people’s reactions here. I hadn’t known so many would empathize
    It’s truly amazing

    Thank you for showing us life. And Hang on in there!

    Lots of love right back at you!
    Noch Noch

  • Hi Julie, Kboffus

    How funny, I was just picking up Tolle’s A New Earth yesterday!When we are raedy, the universe will give us what we need!
    Thanks for reading my post!Noch Noch

  • Hi Ashley

    Meditation seems to be a common theme for depression. I had not thought of that before but I’m willing to try and exploring the techniques, zen etc…

    But you are right, suddenly i look around me, i’m just happy with my fiance and my puppy. And all other material things, well, they can come and go. 

    thanks for being here
    Noch Noch

  • Hi David

    Yes – I have been doing some of that, confronting past hurt, and then moving on. You are right, need some compassion for self!!!Thanks for bringing that up!Noch Noch

  • Hi Andrea

    I love that – “I simply ask what am I supposed to learn from this”
    Sometimes we fall into the trap of judging, like you say, and picture something as postiive or negative, and hence box ourselves up
    But it’s all an experience indeed. And we just learn from it
    Positive or Negative, or any other adjectives has no real value in this case

    Thanks for hanging on in there and sharing your journey with us

    Noch Noch

  • Hi Star Stuff

    I’ve never read Viktor Frankl but maybe it should be on my to-read list! Yeh, sometimes we hide and find an escape through numbing ourselves. But i’m glad to hear that you are finding meaning and existence for your life, even as you say, in small things. I am learning to find that too myself

    Thanks for encouraging us!Noch Noch

  • Thanks Yi Lin T, glad you enjoyed it 🙂
    Noch Noch

  • Hi Mimi

    Indeed – I’m me and that’s ok!!! :)I’m human too
    it’s important to remember that!!!

    :)NOch Noch

  • Hi Deanna

    Thanks – hope you can pull yourself out too 🙂
    It’s not easy. But we keep trying. I fail sometimes, but up and down we go. All an experience 🙂
    Noch Noch

  • Hi Shawmacooley

    Live for yourself!!!I have to remind myself too 🙂

    Thanks for coming by
    Noch Noch

  • Hi Whitney

    Thank you Depression indeed. If not for this challenge in my life, like you, i wouldn’t have learnt so much more about myself too, and also like you, to let go of a lot of my past!

    Thanks for sharing your words too Whitney, take care
    noch Noch

  • You are welcomed Mikederrico 🙂

  • Hi Tammi

    So good to hear you pulled yourself out, and very wise that yes, sometimes we can immerse in negative feelings, but we need to give ourselves a deadline to get out of it
    I got tired of indulging in my low moods after a long period of time, and decided, ok I need to live now 🙂

    Noch Noch

  • HI Grace

    Lovely passage, I like the idea of practicing allowing everything to be as it is. It’s awareness of the moment, and living in that moment, instead of indulging in the past or planning too much for the future

    Lets all practice together 🙂

    Noch Noch

  • Nice Pic. I’m sure I have seen it somewhere before.

  • Anonymous

    Wow…your story is my life
    over the past two years. I struggle still with major episodes of depression,
    often brought on by anxiety related to something I have no control over.
     SI comes at times in hard waves. I hate not having any control over it
    because I need to be in control. I hate the expression  “Embrace the pain, and know that suffering is a
    choice.” When I am in the depths of despair the last thing I am able to do
    is “embrace the pain”.  I’ve found that when I try to do that it
    puts me in a deeper, darker hole, one that is much harder to come out of.
    “Everything will be OK in time”…sounds a lot like “this too shall
    pass”.  Lord knows I’ve heard that my entire life. Yes it does pass,
    then it comes back again.

    I’m glad that you have been able to come up with coping skills that
    get you through.  I’m still muddling my way through trying to find mine.
    As for wisdom? I agree that work was the trigger this past episode, my health
    the episode prior, and “life” the triggers for the numerous episodes
    over the past 15 years.  15 years is a long time to suffer depression, and
    it was/is definitely not by choice.

  • I too have a a depression diagnosis. Major, recurrent. What I had to do was totally change the way I think. I see a therapist each week….3 years now. Living a life filled with lies and deception makes it extremely hard to claw your way back. Sometimes things need to hit rock bottom before a change occurs.
    I blog, too. Major healing when I know people read it. There are so many people in the same boat, but every recovery is different.
    But, yes, I can thank adversity. I am better for having personally known the extreme nightmare others are suffering with. And so I advocate.
    Thank you for sharing your story.. I enjoy relating to people. Each story I read tells me again and again that I am NOT crazy. I’m downright NORMAL. I just choose to talk about it.


  • Hi Jenn

    hhaha you are downright normal indeed. thanks for sharing your story. wow! 3 years in therapy. i’m seeing a therapist for last 2 years too. i see him once every 3 weeks now. also trying things like calligraphy and taichi for meditation to help myself… but yes i had to hit rock bottom before i made changes to my life’s priorities!

    take care, and lets continue advocating!

    Noch Noch

  • Hi Jmeee

    oh dear, 15 years would not be fun! I’m so sorry to hear that. I can see where you are coming from for not liking to “embrace the pain”
    i find it hard to do so too when i’m so emotional and devastated. usually i can only remind myself after the fact, and try to remember it next time it happens. i find it takes practice. 
    and you are right, it will keep coming back, it comes back for me too. i just try to think that it’s all an experience

    I hope you will find a way out of this one day. or rather, maybe that’s just who u are and you will find peace with it

    Take care
    Noch Noch

  • Thanks Vic – maybe on my blog? haha 🙂

    Noch Noch

  • unionmaid

    Hi Noch…If you get the chance, take a look at Cheri Huber’s book Suffering is Optional — Three Keys to Freedom and Joy (available on…I have found it very empowering…peace & joy to you, unionmaid

  • I hate hearing “This too shall pass” as well. It’s not like I’m stupid. I just want to feel better NOW!! I can have all the tools in the world (and I do) but it doesn’t change the way I feel inside.

    The ugly bottom line is this: Recovery needs to be WANTED with every breath you take.

    I hated typing that just now. So cliche. But so darn true.

    God intervened in my situation. I hope there’s a way for you to make it through the day on a positive note. I’ll pray anyway. No one deserves torment like this.

  • It’s hard…when we don’t know what will help us. When we don’t know exactly what we like to do because we’ve been robbed of any kind of zest for life. I see the tremendous opportunity in rediscovering things, but it can feel like an eternity in the meantime.

    One reason I am loving advocating. I’m in a place where if someone can’t speak out because of fear or whatever, I’ll do it. I’m someone that when I say I know how you feel…that’s the God’s honest truth. And people’s general ignorance infuriates me. People don’t have to like us or even understand, but don’t turn your nose up to information about it.

     Maybe I should advocate against ignorant people? 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Jenn…actually every breath I take I consider a success 🙂
    I will gladly accept prayers and have learned to ask for them as well. I also have all of the tools and try to use them as much as possible.  There are good days and bad.  Used to be the bad outnumbered the good. After leaving mgmt, getting health issues stablized, and finding a job that I really enjoy, the good are beginning to outnumber the bad.  It helps to have someone around that I love and that loves me unconditionally.  She’s learned to protect me from me.  Peace to you…

  • Hi Noch,
    Great to see you guest posting here.Most depression is caused by being burned out because of excess stress on the adrenal gland. Some are even suggesting that a stressed adrenal gland is the cause of post partum depression.

    take care…

  • I’ve traveled a similar journey on the rough high seas of life + come to a similar conclusion. I look upon all my depressions with a bittersweet appreciation. If I had not gone through them, I would not be the person I am today; fighting for what I am today.
    I’ve also left a high stress, high demand field of design to rejoin the working poor. I work with my hands (Gasp?! Yes, manual labor:) + wash cute little doggies all day long. I’ve never been happier + I’ve never had more time/energy to accomplish my passions in + outside of work.

    Specifically being a voice for the voiceless. Advocating for persons w/mental illness among a myriad of other marginalized communities. One such ways is through a blog, Demystifying My Depression:
    I’ve been through the hell of depression 13 times + lived to tell the tale… just barely, but I’m still kicking! It is possible. It does get better, You will claw your way out of the abyss + be so much stronger for it. I’ve been there. You’ll join us here on the other side soon.
    Thanks for a great article on challenging so many assumptions + living life uninhibited.

    Keep in keeping on:)

  • Tinarose29

    I too suffered from severe depression a few years ago. And all I wanted was to die. Nothing and noone would make me change my mind. I got my wake up call when the last time I tried to end things I woke up alive, I was so angry but than realised that there must be a reason God did not want me with him just yet. So I decided to take life and its chanllenges by the horns and just run with it, good or bad. I’ve learnt to love myself dearly and I’ve learnt to say NO, which was  a truly amazing feeling the first time I said no to someone who was used to me always agreeing with  them. I’ve been called so many names since I decided that life was firstly about me then about them and then whoever else, dive, bitch, selfish, dreamer, you name it, but I love all the names beacuse at the end of the day people calling me these names willl never be me and I am wonderfully made, and so blessed. I hope you get over your depression soon, beacuse at the end of the day there is really nothing to be depressed about, easier said then done, but it can be done. And I for one can say I did it. If ever you need to chat on  personal level just hola :))))

  • Hi Stephanie

    Appreciate the encouragement… it’s great to know there have been others before me who have come out of this tunnel. Helps to remember that I’m not alone too. Washing cute little doggies sounds like fun!!! ahhaha at least you have to smile when you go to work and see the dogs so happy to see you!!!
    there is a lot of support when we look for it. when i first went through it i had no idea what depression was and how to deal with it. i was too unmotivated to read anything about it. it’s only this last year as i slowly plod along i found this blogging community which has been great solace. 
    great to see that you do the same!Take care wherever you. Lets keep on together!Noch Noch

  • Hi Justin

    THANKS! Great to speak with you here!! I’ve heard of the adrenal gland stress as possible cause. I’m not sure how to test for it though. Have been going through other forms of therapy / medication etc… Trying to find out any root physical cause… 🙂

    Talk again soon!Noch Noch

  • First of all, beautiful name Noch Noch 🙂 I suffered alot through high school. It’s such a long story and it tires me tell it all; but I would never take back that suffering I experienced. It’s been almost five year now since those years that felt like a prison to me. I was so lost and so stuck. Those years would later teach me an eminence amount of lessons about life but the MOST important lesson was the one of compassion. I feel so much love for others. I look deeply at things. I look beyond the surface. And I have so much compassion for others that it radiates from ever cell of my being :D. We all suffer; but the question is what will you do with that suffering? 😉 You’re doing well with it sweet<3


  • Tamra0713

    I to am suffering from major depression and anxiety. I’ve tried to end my life without success. That’s all I think about is wanting to die. I can’t seem to get better. I can’t see the light through all the darkness. It’s good to hear that you ate doing better. Maybe there’s hope for me. I’ve lost everything. My job, apartment, car, family and friends. I just can’t seem to get better.

  • Clark

    My journey has brought me the wisdom of incredible understanding of suffering of many different kinds. I had my first suicidal thought at the young age of 12 and they didn’t stop, even if they were buried deep inside, they were part of me and my soul, the yin to the yang. It is a spiritual gift that I have since been able to transform and help others work through their own suffering. The wisdom and connection to something greater within is truly amazing. At a certain point you may even get to the place where you still feel it but it doesn’t have to hurt anymore, keeping an open heart and exercising it as much as possible. Bless you all!

  • Tinarose29

    Hi @be71de3efa1c2cbf120e10e74f72449c:disqus 

    I too suffered from major depression a few years ago. I lost my hair and each time I look in the mirror it is a constant reminder if the pain that I endured. But now my hair is growing back and I know that I am healing or even healed. Its hard to feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel when you are down, but I tell you what…there is light and a big one. I too lost everything just like you. When it came to my ‘friends’ I asked myself, if they were really my friends would they leave me and the answer is no, they wouldn’t. True friends stick by you through thick and thin.
    Being alone and finding out who you are and what you like is the best thing you can do for yourself, real friends will come along when you elast expect it just like love. I am here for you if you need to talk to someone who will not judge but but will definately understand you. Sending you loads and loads of love and light. xxxxxx
    The Bible says, ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’ Do you know what God expects of you? Faith! He wants you to trust His Word, His character and His track record of faithfulness. It is impossible to please Him if you don’t. The difficulty you’re dealing with right now may have to do with where you are in your faith walk with God. That doesn’t mean if you’re going through trouble, you don’t have faith. But while it may not be a lack of faith that got you into trouble, it’s the strength of your faith that will bring you through it. You say, ‘But shouldn’t I be rational?’ Yes, but don’t be so rational that you fail to leave room for the supernatural. Narcissism is the worship of our own intellect. We say, ‘If I don’t understand it, I don’t believe it.’ Then, in essence, you are your own god! You don’t really believe in God, you believe in you. What are you going to do when life hands you a problem you can’t solve? Before Christ raised Lazarus from the dead He asked Mary and Martha to take Him back to the grave, the place where they stopped believing, the point at which they gave up because of human limitation. Why? Because only when you reach that point, do you discover that God ‘…is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that [you] ask or think…’ (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV).        

  • Tinarose29

    Hi @be71de3efa1c2cbf120e10e74f72449c:disqus 

    I too suffered from major depression a few years ago. I lost my hair and each time I look in the mirror it is a constant reminder if the pain that I endured. But now my hair is growing back and I know that I am healing or even healed. Its hard to feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel when you are down, but I tell you what…there is light and a big one. I too lost everything just like you. When it came to my ‘friends’ I asked myself, if they were really my friends would they leave me and the answer is no, they wouldn’t. True friends stick by you through thick and thin.
    Being alone and finding out who you are and what you like is the best thing you can do for yourself, real friends will come along when you elast expect it just like love. I am here for you if you need to talk to someone who will not judge but but will definately understand you. Sending you loads and loads of love and light. xxxxxx
    The Bible says, ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’ Do you know what God expects of you? Faith! He wants you to trust His Word, His character and His track record of faithfulness. It is impossible to please Him if you don’t. The difficulty you’re dealing with right now may have to do with where you are in your faith walk with God. That doesn’t mean if you’re going through trouble, you don’t have faith. But while it may not be a lack of faith that got you into trouble, it’s the strength of your faith that will bring you through it. You say, ‘But shouldn’t I be rational?’ Yes, but don’t be so rational that you fail to leave room for the supernatural. Narcissism is the worship of our own intellect. We say, ‘If I don’t understand it, I don’t believe it.’ Then, in essence, you are your own god! You don’t really believe in God, you believe in you. What are you going to do when life hands you a problem you can’t solve? Before Christ raised Lazarus from the dead He asked Mary and Martha to take Him back to the grave, the place where they stopped believing, the point at which they gave up because of human limitation. Why? Because only when you reach that point, do you discover that God ‘…is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that [you] ask or think…’ (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV).        

  • I think one of the most useful things one can learn about depression occurs in retrospect which is the acknowledgment that you got through it. During a time in my life when I was experiencing stress and depression from a serious loss, a friend insisted I accompany her to a lengthy silent meditation retreat. I cried through the first several days and then I had the experience of getting through a minute on the cushion with a sense of peace. I realized if I could get through one minute, I could get through another minute and then another minute.
    That realization was pivotal in my life, it deepened my understanding of impermanence and strengthened my sense of resilience. 

  • Guest

    Hi Noch,

    Thank you for sharing your powerful story. I am going through a similar experience, struggling with a mixture of anxiety and depression and not coping with a demanding and high paying job. I am, however, very luck to have a very loving and supporting immediate family.

    Your story not only highlights that I am not alone, it also shows the importance of embracing and acknowledging the sickness as essential steps for becoming healthy again. The latter is very tough when you are an ambitious male, who has been working during the last 10 years as though he is “bullet proof”.

  • Sarahliz1624

    “There is no need to be strong all the time”

    I disagree with this. Having suffered from bipolar disorder since I was 12 — for more than 10 years — I know that giving up on being strong is just as good as giving up. If you stop trying to be strong, you stop trying. You start making excuses for not fighting like hell every step of the way. You need to be strong. No one else is going to fight this for you.

  • Evan

    That I don’t have infinite energy.  End of delusion about omnipotence.

  • Evan

    Don’t master them.  Welcome and learn from them.  They are responses to something, find out what it is.  Then you find they become part of the flow of your life – informing (not dictating) your decisions and direction.

  • Hi Evan – i like that ! end of delusion about omnipotence indeed!

    Noch Noch

  • Hi Sarah Liz

    Thanks for sharing your experience. You are right in this sense, we all need to be strong and not give up. I guess I should have written more clearly that not being strong all the time meant we didn’t need to be too proud and not ask for the help and support we need to get better. That’s the mistake I made. Once I had some medical help and identified the problem, yes, it takes a lot of strength on one’s own to get better.
    It’s encouraging to see your fighting spirit for so long. Keep it up and thanks for encouraging us toO!
    Noch Noch

  • Hi!

    I hear ya – it’s esp tough for people like us – I’m assuming you are also ambitious Type A alpha male or something similar? It’s almost a realization that we are not who we think we are. But then, I think that’s still who we are at the core, just that we might have stretched ourselves too far and need to breathe a little
    Glad to hear you have a family to support you. It’s very important. MY fiance literally saved my life

    And no, you are not alone. At lest there’s me. I hope you continue the battle. Better things will be around the corner for us!

    Noch Noch

  • Hi Toninixon

    You are so right! It’s hard to see all this whilst in depression. More so in retrospect or as we get better. I saw more light as I got better and with every little relapse i can pick myself out better
    the understanding of impermanence i think is crucial in this case – that we know we will not forever be down in the dumps….

    Thanks for this enlightenment
    Noch Noch

  • Hi Clark 

    That’s an interesting perspective. I still have some suicidal thoughts which my shrink and I are working through. It seems that I”m thinking of suicide as an escape, but an escape from what, I can’t identify
    However, it does seem that, when others tell me their sufferings, I can empathize better. and there is a deeper connection from that. It doesn’t have to hurt as you say, but I still need to practice and exercise it more, this open heart…

    Noch Noch

  • Hi Tamra0713

    I went through a phase of “i can’t get better” or “what’s wrong with me”. I dont know much about your situation, but at that time, my psychologist told me to not focus on what is wrong with me or why i came to this state. rather, he worked a lot on my cognitivie thinking with me, challenging my negative thoughts and fears. I was also put on medication , so maybe in the worst times you might consider that just to bring up your energy physically.

    What gave me comfort was that i keep thinking, what is in store for me in this trying time? what lesson am i supposed to learn, painful as it is

    I hope Tinarose29’s Bible passage and message below can give you some solace. We all dont know each other personally, but to be connected here, yes, do write to us if you ever need to ramble. We won’t judge, because we know what it’s like

    Saying a little prayer for you
    Noch Noch

  • HI Tinarose
    Thanks for sharing this Bible passage. It’s one of my favourite ones too!!!
    Noch Noch

  • Hi Sarah

    Thanks – I like my name too 🙂

    And thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, it’s what we do with the suffering that counts. And I echo what you say, I’m learning a little more compassion for others too and to look beyond the surface. When I meet new people now i don’t think so much “what job do you do” but more to get to know them as “who are you?”

    Thank you depression. I think you can say that too 🙂

    Noch Noch

  • Hi Tinarose

    Amazing – i had the same experience. I was so angry at God for a while that He won’t let me die each time then after a few times, I finally relented, and said, ok, maybe there’s a reason I’m still alive even though I might not know what it is yet… 

    And also, leaning to say No, and in a way, be a bit more selfish in the sense that if it makes me uncomfortable, i wont do it and tolerate like I used to. I think we all need to take care of ourselves first

    Wonderful story 🙂

    Take care – same here, if you ever need to ramble, can find me via my blog 🙂

    Noch Noch

  • Kf Family

    Thank you for your very kind note Noch. As you said it is very tough for people like us who thrived on challenges all their lives.

    I don’t know if I would classify myself as an alpha male. I do know that I just worked dam hard all my life to get to where I am and now that I am there, I am becoming afraid of loosing it all.

    I am scientist who has found his niche in the corporate world. Until 2011, working long hrs and then going to work functions was the norm. In fact,  I used to wonder why people say that you can pull this kind of load only for so long, as my seniors were working even harder.

    Similar to you, I used to travel a lot. Furthermore, going back to work the next day after getting back to the country was a non-issue for me.

    However, during 2011 everything changed. A  couple of unexpected workplace related problems pushed me  over the edge. I had a major panic attach that had most of the symptoms of a heart attack. I then spiraled downwards very fast after that.    

    Now I am going through the hell of depression (and anxiety) and having to accept that I cannot pull anywhere near the load that I used to. In fact, these days, I don’t have to do much before my heart rate starts going through the roof. This is very frustrating when I know my normal capacity. However, logically, I understand that I will have to re-evaluate my priorities.

    One of the many scary parts is that when I am in my deep lows, self harm become attractive and even appears to be a very logical. As I have a young family this is very scary to me.

    I am seeking treatments and have promised my wife to fight this with all my might. I am finding exercise to be helpful at times.  Suggestions of any other tools will be appreciated.

    Thank you for sharing your story!      

  • Stefanie

    you have spoken from my soul, it is good to see one is not the only one out there at the moment. thank you for your words, especially sharing your own personal learning experiences.

  • hiya
    sorry for the late reply – i had a rough week myself. like you, i got frustrated that i wasn’t doing much. i had a bit of energy and started to write and write and write, and then i collapsed. migraines came back, and i went into a rut again 🙁

    slowly i’m learning too, to reevaluate my ability and energy. i don’t think it’s because u or i deteriorated, probably just because our body is going some repairing and since more energy is needed for repairing our body, mind and soul, less is available for achieving other things

    i had moments where i thought about self-harm again. it’s scary. i even googled methods last 2 years. i know how it hurts the most and how is most efficient. but i’ve learnt to distract myself. i went cooking and played wiht my jigsaw puzzles. i think for achievement type people like us, it still gives us some achievements (i made a cheeseckae and hung up 3 more puzzles on the wall). but at the same time, activities like this send us to a zone where we don’t think anymore, just do. almost therapeutic. is there something like this you can do when you catch yourself thinking so?

    my psychologist told me, that people in the worst bits of depression actually don’t harm themselves, because they have absolutely no energy and no mood to think. it’s only when they start to recover they think about or act on harming themselves – because they start having energy and motivation to think more, albeit negatively. so on the bright side of things – you are recovering 🙂

    i went through cognitive behaviour therapy with my shrink. but what i found most useful was that my fiance went to some sessions with me and also by himself to learn how to deal with me and the reality of me in depression… i hope your family will support you. sounds like you have a good partner who will take care of you

    the fact you made a promise to your wife is a good start!

    i also started with finding out whats wrong with my body. my migraines and panic attacks. what made me get them again, what were environmental factors
    and also had help of traditional chinese medicine and acupuncture. 
    i learnt to avoid loud places with too many people etc

    and then i wrote. writing was my solace. i cried alot. but i needed it. to deal with my inner frustration and anger

    i hope some of this helps. let me know how you go and stay in touch. we journey through this together 🙂

    Noch Noch

  • Hi Stefanie

    Thanks for the kind words. I hope you will carry on the journey too!! 
    we are not alone – even though I also felt very much like it when I was going through the worst days

    Noch Noch

  • Kf Family

    Hi Noch,

    Thank you for your kind response.  I have had a difficult week, because I
    learnt earlier that I needed to take an extended leave from work. It was not
    easy to accept that. In addition to that, I was also worried about the
    financial ramifications of my leave. Not a very healthy attitude, is it?:(

    You may have experienced the same thing: I am finding it difficult to calm down
    after different triggers. I also tend be specious at times. For example, even
    though one of my seniors was supportive towards my extended leave, I come up with
    different scenarios of “what if…”.

    I realize that my inability to deal logically is purely out of my anxiety
    and I do not need to be suspicious. However, this is easier said than done.

    On the bright side, my scary thoughts have become less last week. In addition,
    I am finding exercise to be an excellent medicine.

    In have also started reading Victor Frankl book, Man’s Search for
    Meaning”. Similar to other people on this site, I recommend it as a must
    read book.

    I am not even half way through this book. However, I am already baffled by its lessons.
    For example, one of incredible points in this book that was a big eye opener to
    me is in the Preface to his book. In this part, Victor Frankl explains that
    success and happiness are not something that can be perused. They should come
    about as an unintended by-product of dedicating yourself to a greater cause.

    I agree with the environmental factors that you mentioned. I am also finding
    that I am especially sensitive to loud noises and crowds.

    Lastly, I am enjoying writing as well. even my comments on this site is helping
    me to put what I have gone through in a logical order, which helps to create a
    better order in my mind. I hope that one day I can use my experience to help

    I wish you all the best and thank you for sharing your journey:)

  • Guest

    Sorry for the bad formatting. I thought copy and paste from Word will work:(

    Keep in touch

  • Kimricci69

    You only need one book for anxiety; “Hope and Help for your nerves” by Dr. Claire Weekes

  • Geekgyrl36

    Thank you so much for your honest article Noch Noch. It is so nice to know I’m not alone in this situation or experience called Depression. I ended up having a Severe Anxiety Attack in November 2011 and was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and wanted to take my life, actually a few times. This all came about due to a toxic, unsupportive work environment that took a toll on me. The more I tried to prove myself, the deeper I feel into the depression until I ended up laid up in bed, crying and crying, not being able to eat, my son watching me not being able to move out of my bed and slowly going downhill. The painful part is he had to witness my condition and I felt helpless to get better so he would’nt see me in that state. Dealing with a workplace that cut off my benefits while on Short Term Disability made things worse, they’ve since termininated me which as my doctor says is a blessing in disguise. I am now taking each day as it comes. I have been journalling daily along including a gratitude journal and am learning to accept this is thew way it is for now and I won’t be this way forever. I am spending time figuring out how and what I would like to do employment wise from this point on. It has to be something I’m passionate about, or being my own boss. I’ve learned much, learned who my friends are, who they aren’t, to be kind to myself, know it’s okay that I don’t want to interact with others now, appreciate how far I’ve come, know there are things that still need to be unearthered. I am learning not to be upset because I wanted to end my life, it became unbearable and the darkness overtook me to the poiunt there was nothing anyone could say to make it better. As much as I love my son, the pain was so great that I couldn’t even think about him or anyone else. I’m not feeling that way now, but still have to be mindful. I’m looking into seeing a psychologist to deal with the deep issues.

  • geomark

    We are affecting by stress and depression
    commonly in this modern era so practicing depression
    is necessary.

  • Paul

    Thank you for your beautiful essay on the very special subject of depression. I myself try to recover from it. I’m 23 years old and it’s been almost 5 years since I began to cope with depression. I think that depression is indeed a fantastic opportunity to look at your life and change it for the better because it’s too short to be wasted in meaningless pursuits. Thank you again and hope that you’re well.

  • Your ray of hope

    Give it time, time will heal all. I know it is tough, but when you feel like all is lost and it will never get better, hold on to the mere fact that this too shall pass in time.

  • Thomas

    Thank you for such an interesting post. Four years ago I was in the grips of a major depressive episode. I walked around like a zombie on autopilot. I just barely functioned in my job, a job I eventually lost due to what I attribute to concentration problems and several lapses in judgement. I thought about suicide with alarming frequency. Thanks to a concerned family member who urged me to seek help, I eventually started a regimen of anti-depressants and gradually clawed my way back to finding some joy in life. Today I am happily married with two beautiful children and have at last found some inner peace. I believe I would not be where I am without having been in the depths and going through such a difficult period in my life. So in a sense I agree with your thanking the sickness. You do appreciate life more once you come through the other side.

  • Jacqueline Ashley

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