CEO, NS Ideas, LLC; Senior Fellow, Long-Term Quality Alliance
Living with depression and anxiety

Nora Super works on her mental well-being every day. This dedicated effort helps her live with less stress, more purpose, and plenty of time for self-care and connections with people she loves. Nora navigated her career while struggling with depressive episodes and now hopes to help foster understanding about mental health conditions in the workplace.

Nora’s Story

How has your condition impacted your life? 

I have been hospitalized multiple times for Major Depressive Disorder and suicidal ideation. My condition has interfered with my work. When I’m severely depressed, I find it hard to function. My husband and two daughters have cared for me when I’m in a depressive episode. I am currently in remission.

When were you first aware of your condition and what was your most difficult time?

I was first diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder in 2005. The summer of 2005 was my most difficult time. I was hospitalized seven times over three months. I had to quit my job.

What is your life like now? What does success and living well look like for you?

Now, I am healthy and happy. Success and living well means living with less stress, more purpose, and plenty of time for self-care and connections with people I love.

What help or specific strategies helped you to get well and move to stability?  

I have used talk therapy for years. I also take anti-depressants on a regular basis. Recently, I left a toxic work environment, which has greatly improved my stress level, although initially I was quite anxious about the loss of income.

What do you do to manage your condition and stay healthy on an ongoing basis?

I have to work on my mental well-being every day. I find if I exercise for at least 30 minutes every day my mood improves, and I feel better about the world and my place in it.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition?

Yes, definitely. Living with a mental health condition has made me more empathetic of others. You really never know what is going on with individuals. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt, even if they are acting hatefully or angrily. They may be experiencing their own mental anguish. I try not to take their behavior personally.

How has your condition impacted your work and your career? 

I have had to take long periods of medical leave. I have only been honest about my condition to co-workers within the last five years. I’ve had a very successful career, so I feel fortunate that my depressive episodes have not impacted my career negatively. Once, I had to apply for high-level security clearance to work at the White House. Luckily, I hadn’t been hospitalized for over seven years (the cut-off date on the application) for my mental health condition. I have friends with mental health conditions who have been denied security clearance.

Recently, I was demoted because I was perceived as “angry” and “irrational” – both of which were symptoms of my depression. I’d like to make employers more aware of the ways in which mental health conditions can present in the workplace.

What words of encouragement would you give to someone struggling with a condition similar to yours? 

Never give up. You will feel better one day; you might not believe it when you are in the depths of depression, but you will feel better. It would be much more devastating for those who love you for you to die by suicide than to accept that right now you are not functioning as you would like. Your mind plays tricks on you.

What motivated you to join The Stability Network?

I met Katherine Switz at a One Mind event in Napa Valley. She invited me to join. I love that The Stability Network works to eliminate stigma against those of us living with mental conditions and allows us to speak freely about our lived experience while also demonstrating leadership.

What resources have helped and/or inspired you on your journey?

Two of my favorite books that have inspired me are Lost Connections by Johann Hari and The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van de Kolk. I’m also a big fan of Brené Brown and really enjoy her Podcast, “Unlocking Us.”

Is there anything else you want to say or share?

I’m proud to be a member of The Stability Network.