What’s that noise? The blogged lived experiences of mental health conditions (MHCs) through interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA)
Reimer, Megan Laura
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Subjectbipolar disorder; generalized anxiety disorder; health communications; major depressive disorder; mental health; noise
Mental health is a significant part of our lives, with one in three Canadians braving a mental health condition (MHC) such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), major depressive disorder (MDD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or bipolar disorder (BPD) (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2020). With the onset of MHCs becoming more prevalent, and the conversation around them becoming more prominent, it is imperative to dive deeper into the relationships between MHCs and communication. This study investigates if and how MHCs conditions present as noise in the communication flow, and create barriers to the meaning making process, shared understanding, and connection between someone experiencing an MHC and a friend, peer, or family member. An interpretative phenomenological analysis was conducted on the lived experiences of 10 authors who had written about their experiences with MHCs on their personal, public blogs. The analysis demonstrates the relationship between experiencing an MHC and rejection, miscommunication, or invalidation, which impacts self-disclosure and contributes to disconnection and lack of shared understanding. This study concludes that MHCs do present as noise to an individual experiencing an MHC at any stage of the communication flow, and that this noise correlates with misinterpretation of meaning, lack of shared understanding, and disconnection. It also offers recommendations for integration based on this research for those experiencing an MHC, their loved ones, and the community.
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