Subjective experience with mental illness: the case of depression

  • Cecília Neto
  • Fátima Alves


There have been few studies in Portugal on experience with mental illness, and above all on the way in which those who live with it in their daily lives experience and co-exist with in on a day-to-day basis. This article is based on empiric evidence from an exploratory study supported by in-depth interviews of ten people with a psychiatric diagnosis of chronic depression, in which the interviewees analyse concepts about their own illness and their perceptions of their impacts in daily life. The authors look for meanings that can be pieced together from these daily personal experiences, with special emphasis on the interviewees’ concepts about and representations of their own illness, highlighting the tensions between “normality” (past) and the subjective experience of the new “I” (current identity).