26 Feb Introduction to Thesis Topic
My interests lie in the exploration of ill-being and the behaviors that emerge from that state. I live in a culture that tries to avoid the phrase “mental health” mainly because of the stigma that shadows it. My aim is to raise people’s level of resilience and to raise awareness about this topic in general. Investigating and recording the path to well-being is a complicated process that I would like to simplify and express through serious, but light, art and design. My goal is to uncover sides of well-being that I haven’t seen before, spark thoughtful conversations between people, and compel them to try new ways of dealing with feelings of ill-being.
My inspiration arose from the regular daily observations I have of my own and of others’ behaviors that suggest the lack of harmonious living. Others include family members, friends, peers, professors, etc. Everyone experiences ups and downs in life, yet we treat the downside of it as an unwelcome stranger that we don’t want to talk about.
And I want to talk about it.
Lack of awareness and open conversation about well-being…
…in the multi-cultural society of Doha, Qatar.
It is our nature as human beings to want to belong to a certain group [society], we constantly fear being left out, which leads to us ‘faking’ our well-being to be more likeable and approachable. Survival mechanisms. By doing so, we create an idea of what is ‘normal’ and what isn’t, therefore, whoever is abnormal is left out. But what we don’t know, or what we seriously doubt, is that we all have emotional ups and downs in life and that it is, in fact, very normal not to be feeling OK all the time.
Raising awareness, real awareness, about this truth that hides behind social norms would make people feel more confident and better about themselves as they will have a new perspective on how others see them. Which is another thing we tend to do, it’s called ‘the Looking Glass Self,’ when we see and shape ourselves based on how we think others would see us. Complicated.
Our society in Doha is very diverse in terms of culture, yet most cultures here have a unified basis—Islam. In a nutshell, through the lens of well-being, Islam is a religion that focuses on peace, appreciation, patience and kindness. This, to us Muslims, is a constant reminder that we should be thankful, grateful and satisfied with what life brings our way… which, at times of ill-being, can feel quite contradictory. Some parents tend to tell their children to pray or to read Quran when they’re feeling down, instead of talking to them. According to our religion, prayer and Quran should make you feel better (when experienced holistically), but that doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about it, or try to tackle our imbalanced mental states it in other ways.
The stigma of being unwell is highly feared. As if it is something to be ashamed of. Getting professional psychological help would mark you as ‘crazy.’
People are evil. And stupid.
Primary & Secondary Research:
- I conducted a short survey/questionnaire just to get started. Click here to answer the survey! Or click here to see what I learned from it.
- My secondary research was through people and through this invisible thing in the air called THE INTERNET. You can find these on my Blog feed, the title starts with “Research” or “Precedent.”