Recovery as the Re-Fabrication of Everyday Life: Exploring the Meaning of Doing for People Recovering from Mental Illness

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Abstract

The notion of recovery from mental illness has become a significant force in mental health policy, practice and literature. As a process, recovery can been described as the lived experience of personal growth and search for meaning after the onset of mental illness. The following phenomenological inquiry seeks to understand the meaning of day-to-day activities for 13 people in recovery from mental illness. In the recovery literature there has recently been a growing interest in the everyday aspects of recovery. Routine interactions between people and the human and non-human environment have been recognised as being significant in the recovery process. Additionally, there has been a call within occupational therapy literature for research focused on exploring the experience and meaning of different forms of occupation.

This study aims to address and add to these areas of interest within the current literature. Recovery narratives were collected from the participants in two phases, using an open ended conversational style of interview. The first phase focused on gathering stories that reflected the lived experience of recovery for eight participants. The recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed using the hermeneutic philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In the second phase of interviewing a further five participants shared their stories. …