Stories are Medicine: Responding to Deep Sadness with Spirit
An encounter with a story that makes sense of troubling experiences is a powerful healing tool. This research explores the stories of 12 women who live with recurrent episodes of profound sadness and also manage additional social constraint(s) (e.g., cultural, ethnic, economic, racial, member of a sexual minority, having a physical disability, etc.). In addition to accurately conveying the lived experience of the women in the study, this organic inquiry was designed to assess the impact of sharing and bearing witness to participants' stories; of having their narratives reflected back to them creatively and accurately; and the transformative potential of connecting to a narrative circle of others who manage lives that are slowed by the ideations and behaviors associated with a Major Depressive Episode (MDE). Participants chosen for this study were women over the age of 30 who have lived with periodic disruptive low moods for a minimum of 10 years, cite creativity and/or spirituality as helpful tools in managing those lows, and self-identify as living at some point in their lives with social constraint(s). A formal diagnosis of a mood disorder was not a prerequisite for participation.
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