"The old me could never have done that": How people give meaning to recovery following depression
Depression is usually a "self-limiting" condition, and recovery is likely, even if people do have subsequent episodes. However, despite considerable research into depression, little is known about how people actually go about understanding and organizing their recovery from depression. In this article, the authors draw on one-to-one interviews with people who have experienced mainly severe depression to explore the approaches and meanings attributed to overcoming depression. They used unstructured and semistructured interview phases to collect data and a modified grounded theory approach to analysis. They interviewed 38 men and women who had previously experienced depression (selected using the principles of maximum variation sampling through general practitioners, support groups, and newsletters) in late 2003 and early 2004. The authors explore the specific components involved in recovery (e.g., authenticity, responsibility, rewriting depression into the self), the stories people tell about their recovery, and the strategies deployed to revitalize life following depression.