One of the biggest focuses of my project in the last few weeks has been highlighting ‘negative feelings’ without directly showcasing them. This divergent path was inspired by a story one of my participants told me over a coffee meeting two weeks ago. In this scenario, lets call him Victor:
When Victor was visiting his parents at christmas time, he finally mustered up the courage to talk to his father about his anxiety and the suffering it has created for him. It took years to get to this point, overcoming stigma and feeling comfortable enough with the issue to open a dialogue. Their discussion led to a conversation about his father’s own problems with his mental health. It shocked me how long it had taken to two of them to have this conversation even though they were both on the same page and had similar experiences. One of the most important support/empathic environments was closed off for longer than it needed to be.
Victor mentioned that he never felt comfortable enough to discuss his condition/feelings with his father because he felt ‘the issue was too fluffy’. He didn’t feel comfortable sharing his thoughts with his dad.
I started thinking about how to authoritatively quantify the ‘negative feelings’ associated with Victor’s anxiety which may have allowed him to open up a dialogue with his father sooner. How could you show how much his negative thoughts were consuming him without outright displaying them.
Though my project has been skirting around the outside of this focus for a while, Victor’s story gave me the push to jump into this and create something to quantify negative feelings while allowing them to remain unseen. -> A tool which may have given Victor a reference point to discuss his anxiety with his father.