|dc.description.abstract||Background: Studies on bipolar II disorder have covered a wide scope; many report the importance of a cohesive self-concept for recovery. In spite of this, there is a dearth of research explicitly investigating how bipolar II impacts one’s self-identity.
Aims and objectives: This study employed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to investigate in what ways bipolar II disorder affects a person’s sense of self.
Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven individuals with the chronic illness, who are members of Bipolar Scotland. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and subsequently analysed in accordance with Smith, Flowers and Larkin (2009).
Results: Four super-ordinate themes emanated from the transcripts and the researcher’s interpretations, the key findings, (i) Liminality: On the Threshold of “normal” and “mad”, (ii) “Going off-kilter”: Unscrambling the Self, (iii) Paradoxical Feelings Towards Being Bipolar, and (iv) Bipolar “It’s the boss, not me”: Predictably Unpredictable.
Conclusions: Bipolar disorder causes major disruption to the individual’s sense of self. Throughout the interwoven themes lie issues regarding views of self, views of illness, sense of belonging and others perceptions of oneself. Such concepts are experienced with much ambivalence and confusion.
Discussion: Understanding and gaining in-depth insight of the impact of bipolar on self-identity is of importance to those with the illness, for self-management purposes, but also to clinicians, friends, family and partners. Future investigation is warranted to explore findings further, and examine whether these findings are exclusive to this help-seeking sub-population, or could be extended to the general bipolar II population.
Key words: bipolar II disorder, recovery, self-identity, chronic illness, sense of self||en