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'Rip that book up, I've changed': unveiling the experiences of women living with and surviving enduring mental illness

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The lives of women with an enduring mental illness have been little researched within occupational therapy. This study explored the experiences of five women living with enduring mental illness in their communities. The women were interviewed over a 2-year period using the life history method. Data were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The data set was analysed in two ways. First, from the narrative analysis, an individual unique narrative of each woman's life was created. Secondly, the data were analysed using the constant comparative method. This paper presents the findings from the constant comparative analysis.

Six themes were identified, which lifted the veil on the experience of living with and surviving enduring mental illness. Each theme represented a section of the women's lived experiences: a specific frame of the bigger picture of their lives. The themes were present life, life roles, relationships, illness transitions, help and cultural context.

The findings highlighted the complex life roles and needs of the women over time. They unveiled how the women became agents in creating a better life for themselves and others. Practitioners have a role to play in creating meaningful and safe environments that encourage social inclusion and recovery.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4276/030802210X12682330090370

Publication date: March 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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