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A Phenomenological Study of Mania and Depression

BOWDEN, HANNAH,MARY (2013) A Phenomenological Study of Mania and Depression. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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In this thesis I develop a cohesive phenomenological account of mania and depression. Whilst phenomenological insights have been applied to a number of psychiatric disorders – most notably schizophrenia – mania, depression, and bipolar disorder have been neglected. In developing my account I challenge the common understanding of mania and depression as opposed. Through an examination of bodily and temporal experiences in mania and depression I unearth deeper structural commonalities. This allows for greater insight into the relationship between the two states and casts light on ‘mixed episodes’, where features of mania and depression co-occur. In my exploration of bodily experience I argue for an understanding of the depressed body as ‘corporealized’. I show how this helps us to understand common descriptions of the body and the world found in first person accounts. I challenge the intuitive distinction between the body as $\textit{active and invisible}$ and $\textit{inactive and conspicuous}$ by showing that the manic body is both conspicuous and active. I argue that we can enhance our understanding of this bodily experience through an appreciation of the associated temporal experience. Turning to the topic of time, I reveal the inadequacies of accounts that suggest that alterations in experiences of time in mania and depression are restricted to changes in temporal velocity. Using the Husserlian concepts of ‘retention’ and ‘protention’ I develop a new model of temporal experience in mania and depression, arguing that in addition to changes in temporal $\textit{velocity}$ we also find changes in temporal structure. This account allows us to understand common experiences in mania, including feelings of grandiosity, a loss of reflection, and the active yet conspicuous body. Likewise, it casts light on experiences common in depression, including guilt, a perception of recovery as impossible, and feelings of separation from others.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Phenomenology; Mania; Depression; Bipolar Disorder
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Jan 2014 10:39

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