|Title||‘I didn’t want to be Psycho no. 1’: Identity struggles in narratives of patients presenting medically unexplained symptoms|
|Tag(s)||Agency, Chaos Narrative, Conversation Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Identity Dilemmas, Identity Struggle, Illness Narrative, Medically unexplained symptoms, MUS, Poland Restitution Narrative, Medical Interaction|
The aim of this article was to explore identity struggles related to the experience of living with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) in illness narratives of patients with MUS. These patients pose therapeutic and communication challenges as their symptoms do not have an obvious underlying diagnosis. Previous studies have shown that their stories can best be described as ‘chaos narratives’, lacking a chronological development of symptoms or ‘legitimacy narratives’, through which patients seek to legitimize their invisible symptoms. The study draws on 21 interviews with MUS patients. The examples were selected from two contrasting cases in order to show how the patients accomplish their identity struggles through distinctive discursive tools, such as metaphors, modality, personal pronouns, evaluative devices, as well as characteristic interactional structure, navigating around the three identity dilemmas: continuity and change, self and other, and agent or undergoer.