“I Do Not Really Belong Out There Anymore”: Sense of Being and Belonging Among People With Medically Unexplained Long-Term Fatigue
In this article, we explore relations between health, being, belonging and place through an interpretive thematic analysis of autobiographic text and photographs about the everyday lives of 10 women and men living with medically unexplained long-term fatigue in Norway. While interpreting their place-related illness experiences, we ask: How do they experience their being in the world, where do they experience a sense of belonging/not belonging, and why do places become places of belonging/not belonging? The participants describe experiences of (a) being socially detached and alienated, (b) being imprisoned, (c) being spectators who observe the world, and (d) senses of belonging. They describe senses of being and belonging/not belonging as closely attached to physical and symbolic aspects of places in which they reside, and they wistfully reflect on the question of “why.” The study illustrates the influence of experienced place—material as well as immaterial—on health and illness.
Published version available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732316629103