Exploring the Experiences and Communication of Living with Bipolar Disorder among Latinx College Students in the United States

Gamboa, Leonardo
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This study seeks to explore the multiple ways in which Latina/o/x/Chicanx college students in the United States, who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, experience and communicate their conditions of living with the disorder and whether and how their understandings about their health, illness, and identity connect with the dominant discourse related to mental health. This research draws on critical theoretical perspectives and employed a qualitative research design to collect and analyze data, specifically autoethnography and in-depth interviews in the forms of pláticas. Using Anzaldúa's (1987, 2002, 2015) concept of nepantla, participants and the researcher (who was also a participant of the study) illustrate how they communicated conceptions of identity, health, and illness within ambiguities. Findings show that participants experienced ambiguities stemming from competing discourse and expressed feeling caught between worlds as they simultaneously coped with stigma from multiple directions; participants appropriated and resisted domination through agentic efforts to emancipate themselves; finally, participants grappled with normative discourse that informed their logic as they negotiated what is normal vs. what is abnormal.

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Bipolar Disorder, Identity, Latinx, Mental Illness, Nepantla, Plática