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,
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.