The fragile process of Homecoming - Young women in recovery from severe ME/CFS
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Purpose: To explore the recovery narratives of 13 young women who had fallen ill with severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), during childhood and adolescence, with the focus on what they had to say about their past experiences from the perspective of the present. Method: A qualitative narrative approach, informed by a phenomenological theoretical perspective, was adopted to explore what the women found significant and meaningful in their recovery process. Data analysis of in-depth narrative interviews was performed which are presented to readers through the stories of two particular participants. Results: The first story describes how one participant made a recovery by testing her body’s tolerance and working to create a more confident self. The second story describes a complex exploration of possibilities for action in recovery, along with a struggle to make sense of setbacks and hold on to what has been gained. Conclusion: Recovering from ME/CFS emerges as an inter-personal, contextual, fragile and nonlinear process of homecoming, based on gradually rising bodily based self-knowledge. Illness slowly fades away into the background, and there is the prospect of a healthier tomorrow.