Immobility, battles, and the journey of feeling alive: Women's metaphors of self-transformation through depression and recovery

Simone Fullagar, Wendy O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
269 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Australian mental health services have responded to the problem of depression by adopting an early intervention and recovery orientation. Using qualitative research conducted in Australia with 80 women aged 20 to 75 years, we examine how participants invoked particular metaphors to construct meaning about the gendered experience of depression and recovery. We argue that women's stories of recovery provide a rich source of interpretive material to consider the everyday metaphors of recovery beyond clinical notions and linear models of personal change. We identified key metaphors women drew on to articulate the struggle of self-transformation through depression and recovery: the immobilizing effect of depression, recovery as a battle to control depression, and recovery as a journey of self-knowledge. Our findings might be useful for mental health professionals in a range of clinical contexts to reflect on the power of language for shaping how women interpret their experiences of recovery from depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1072
Number of pages10
JournalQualitative Health Research
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Women
  • Depression
  • recovery
  • metaphor
  • qualitative
  • sociology

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