A personal crisis is a crucial stage or turning point in someone’s life. A “Crisis of Meaning” is characterized by a loss of purpose, feeling of pointlessness, rejection of values once taken for granted, or shattering of a familiar self-image. Initially, it may be triggered by a traumatic event such as injury or by a seemingly insignificant, mundane situation–say, a random conversation on a subway or a friend’s passing comment. Crisis of Meaning may or may not bring about changes in one’s lifestyle, yet in all cases it involves a period of intense introspection and searching.
Conducting a Crisis of Meaning Interview: Instructions for Students
Selected Student Interviews
“I still dream of running”
interview with Maureen by Jordan Simons
As a result of the chronic illness, Maureen suffers devastating emotional and physical losses. Coping with the new reality requires extraordinary patience and wisdom.
“I wasn’t threatening anyone’s ideas of what a boy should be”
interview with MS by Lia Gabrielle
MS shares his personal experience while offering an insightful critique of the society’s prejudices and stereotypes.
“She learned the one thing I never did: to let go”
interview with Caroline by Danielle Silva
Danielle speaks to her sister about their parents’ divorce.
“There was an elephant stepping on my chest”
interview with Mr.Lee by Kevin
A victim of vicious bullying, a high school student attempts suicide. Years later, this experience becomes a catalyst for his choice of profession as he helps students with disabilities.
“I lost the person who meant the world to me”
interview by Seda Akman
“Giving up was not an option”
interview by Gabriella Roostaie
“I don’t care what anyone has to say. Cancer sucks”
interview with MN by Lily Zappulla
At just the age of 40, MN had to find the strength to face her stage-three cancer as well as the patience to salvage a rocky marriage.
A Journey to the Truth
interview with Mr. Soto by Mariana Soto
After spending nearly 14 years following a spiritual leader, Mr. Luis Diego Soto began to question not only this man’s knowledge, but also his own spiritual beliefs.
“Happiness is All Perception”
interview by Lydia Gottwald
Lydia interviews a family friend whose multinational journey of self-discovery brought her to realizations about herself, her world, and happiness overall. Through philanthropy, philosophy, and meditation she purposefully changes her perspective on life.
interview by Isis Almazan,
Siblings Isis and Maria reflect on their strained relationship with their mother, and on the story of Maria’s abandonment. She explains how her mother’s betrayal led her to find herself, and her love in life.
“For You, I Had To”
A mother refuses to give up when her very young child is diagnosed with cancer. Years later, her now healthy child discusses the impact this event had on the mother’s idea of meaning.
A mother of three recalls a time in her life without hope or happiness, from which she had to “claw her way back up.” She went on to advocate for suicide awareness and encouraged those who empathize with her to seek help.
Absent Father Returns, interview by Elise Kapitancek
Overcoming Depression, interview by Anne R.
Conversation with a Stoic, interview by anonymous