JUS: Design for vulnerability

I was lonely for most of my life, I don’t have anything too complicated with my family and I had a few friends while growing up but I’d never let anyone in. I had never exposed myself or talked about my feelings. As time went by I got better and better at it. A very good listener my friends called me. Even today I still find myself shifting the subject of the conversation whenever it gets to me.

I tried to act like I was Ok, or maybe I was just not aware. I had an eating disorder and a sleeping disorder and it got pretty bad at some points. Almost every night I’d stay in bed awake waiting for my family members to go to sleep, then I’d storm the fridge eating like 4 hungry people, go back to bed feel horrible and couldn’t fall asleep.

I lived like that for many years, sometimes it was better sometimes worst. I can’t tell what drove into seeking help but around the age of 22 I told my mother I think I need help. She was very happy that it came from me rather than her as she was thinking the same.

I started going to therapy. It took me nearly 4 months to gain the trust I needed to open my heart but with time my therapist and I became closer and through our conversations I slowly began to understand what my life was missing: love, family and friends. Yeah I’ve had my loving family, a few friends and a number of short romances but none of it real because I didn’t allow it to be, I’ve never been me.

4 years later I’m studying industrial design and doing Erasmus in UdK Berlin.

As part of our human centered design course “Hacking Utopia”, my partner Pauline and I are focusing on the challenge how we might boost each other’s mental and spiritual resilience. After posting here story to Edgeryders, our team member Nele was recommended in a comment to watch Brene Browns Ted talk, The Power of Vulnerability. We have found it so inspiring, it was exactly what we were talking about.

At the moment we are trying not to have any idea of how our product will look like so that we can have a neutral research and hopefully a surprising result, but we are looking in the direction of a design intervention that will encourage people to be vulnerable and share their feelings with their loved ones.

Both Pauline and I went through therapy and we both agree that what was missing in our lives was the ability to share our difficulties with our close ones. We discovered that both of us had to use objects in order to speak to our therapists. I had to put a cushion over my knees and Pauline was always keeping her hands busy by playing with hair bands or ripping pieces of paper, avoiding eye contact.

We were wondering whether you might have made any similar interesting experiences/observations to share with. Do you feel comfortable sharing your feeling with others? Can you get people to open up to you?

We are trying to gain insight on what kinds of stressors people find difficult to talk about and how we might make it easier for people to overcome shame and share their feelings, drawing inspiration from any culture, any time.

Also, if you have any other Ideas, thoughts, articles, projects, products or whatever you think can inspire us further please let us know.

Thank you so much for reading so far,

Team JUS.

P.s. - We really liked this short video and wish we could make a sofa that feels as good as the hug in the picture above.

JUS Team

Here are the links to @NeleG original post and my own experience on sharing feelings



sehr gut


Caring for one another in death and in life

Hi Omri and Pauline,

this is an interesting question. A couple of years ago I met someone whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, a university pal. We had a long conversation about death because his Dad was unwell. Without thinking much of it I wrote a post about our encounter here. Check out the comments, you may find them of interest.

When younger I found it quite difficult to even acknowledge feelings let alone talk about them. Especially not if it was a space where I knew I would be meeting the same people again and again. Something about not being able to shed skin and then move on made it feel like a trap. Then something snapped last year. I felt unable and unwilling to not be sad and let others know what was going on and what I needed to be ok + how they could interact with me. I unpublished it from my personal blog, but if it’s helpful to you I can republish it here. Let me know.


We would love to hear it unless you are uncomfortable.


“Some days are harder”

"Some may call it depression. Let’s say I am wary about medicalisation of the human condition, so to me it is just sadness.

When I was younger these dips were more profound. Debilitating even. At some point a psychiatrist prompted me to take medication. I refused, opting instead to deal with what I thought might be the root causes….by changing my profession, lifestyle and social environment.

Eventually I developed some resilience towards these inexplicable bouts of sadness. I would channel the nervous energy into doing meaningful work, and supporting the efforts of others in trying to do something that matters to them. With hindsight it has been a better choice for me than spending a fortune I don’t have on having a shrink try to figure out what is the matter with me…and how to fix it.

Last week, the sadness returned. This time I am unable to find solace in the work. I am unsure as to why. It is not dramatic and there is no cause for alarm. However, I’ve noticed that the less time I spend on online, the better I feel. In part I think it is because communication for work purposes and to stay in touch with people about whom I care increasingly happen in the same channels. Which is not sustainable in the long run. So I am leaving Facebook, Twitter and linkedin for now. I will not cancel my accounts, but will not be checking them on a regular basis or keeping them updated.

If you wish to stay in touch with me you have several choices:

  1. To be kept up to date with information about Edgeryders, unMonastery and future projects and opportunities I am involved in building, subscribe to Nadia at Work.

  2. If you are interested in reading me on more general topics like culture, tech, politics, art, religion, science, travels and life in general, subscribe to  News from Nadia.

  3. If you want to hang out you can always call me on skype (my alias is: niasan) or come visit me in Brussels, where I now live.

I do hope you will choose to stay in touch one way or another. To those of you who choose otherwise, thank you for the time we have spent together- I do wish you all the best and hope our paths cross again sooner rather than later.

With love,


Thanks for sharing

Your insights are important to team JUS.

All about humans

Great sharing, JUS team and @Omri_Kaufmann in particular!

I am out of my depth: I have been sad but never depressed, exhausted but never burnt out. I have emotions, but they never seem to become medical conditions somehow. Lucky me.

But many people seem to think it’s the human touch that makes the difference in care. Even the best designed sofa will not make you any less lonely.

The point is made (towards 12.00) by @Yara_Al_Adib in this video, since you want to be inspired you will probably like it!

Thank you for your kind words

This talk is very intersting