Personal illness experience of my adolescent self: a narrative inquiry self-study
Building on Dewey’s philosophy of experience, our personal and professional lived experiences are mutually informing. Thus, personal illness experiences may impact how we engage in professional roles. In this self-study, using Connelly and Clandinin’s Narrative Inquiry, I explore my experience of an eating disorder as an adolescent, and how this experience informs my nursing practice today. I crafted stories of my illness experience often using poetic prose. I analyzed these using the three levels of justification (personal, practical, social) through the theoretical lens of Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development. Four narrative threads (impulsivity: response to losing control, lack of autonomy, liminality, lack of meaningful relationships) emerged and coalesced into three narrative patterns (control, belonging, identity). This self-study provides healthcare professionals an understanding of the impact a stigmatized illness may have on one’s professional role. My intention is to inspire others to enter their own inquiry into their experiences of illness.