‘Chaos, restitution and quest’: one woman’s journey through menopause


Address for correspondence: Marcianna Nosek, School of Nursing and Health Professions, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
e-mail: mnosek@usfca.edu


Menopause, a natural stage in a woman’s reproductive life, is not an illness; yet some women experience severe enough symptoms to cause a breakdown in the body similar to illness or other major health disruptions. As part of a larger narrative analysis investigation of distress during menopause, this case study presents one woman’s transformational journey through menopause, analysed through Frank’s health and illness narratives – chaos, restitution and quest. The narratives were retranscribed using Labov’s elements of a true story and Gee’s poetic restructuring. This report of one woman’s experience of distress during the menopause transition describes a poetic chaos narrative of incessant night sweats resulting in a loss of physicality and a deep-rooted belief in self-healing; a restitution narrative of restored health that mandated the surrender to a new healing discourse, experienced simultaneously as a victory and a defeat; and a quest narrative of seeking meaning, insight and new-found values and identities.