Illness & Identity

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13 Dec 2010
Illness and Identity
David. A. Karp
sense of self...
Karen: Student of Karp who used to suffer from illness
x (}v]vZPZ}µPZ^]v_uÆoµ]ÀoÇ(}u]((]µo]Z}ue
x 11th grade her idea shifts: she feels that something is wrong specifically with herself
o Æ]v^Z_ÁZ]Z]µv]vP}]v]v]v]Ç
Karp interviews people of all ages and backgrounds who have experiences with clinical depression (also
experienced it himself)
À,µPZ[(]v]]}v}(WZ moving perspective in which the person sees his life as a whole
and interprets the meanings of his various actions, and things which happen to him.
Each stage requires a redefinition of self
Four turning points experienced by the clinically depressed...
1. A period of inchoate feelings during which they lack the vocabulary to define their experience as
x Aware of unexplainable differences between how they feel and how others feel
x }v[ooÇ}Pv]Ì]vPv}uoµZÇZÀv}(]v]tion of normalcy
x Longest phase for most
2. The period during which they conclude that something is wrong with ME
x They move from having vague inchoate feelings to having a clearer sense of something
being wrong
x This period involves a search for a remedy
x This period involves the issue of whether or not to go public and tell other people they
have a problem
o Going public is central to the development of an illness identity
o And it must happen in order to seek a remedy
3. Crises stage: A period during which they are thrust into a world of therapeutic experts, most are
hospitalized and put on meds
x Involves hospitalization for most
x Hospitalization can be positive or negative
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