We’ve Been Too Patient: New Anthology Features Lived Experience Narratives, Creative Solutions

On July 9, a new anthology edited by L.D. Green and Kelechi Ubozoh entitled We’ve Been Too Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health, will highlight 25 stories of people with lived experience of trauma, mental health challenges, and navigating systems of care. 

The stories include hard-hitting testimonies as to what can happen when “help” hurts. In an excerpt from the book published at Truthout, contributor Chris Anastasia reflects on the legacy of being misdiagnosed and heavily medicated as a child: “The thought that I will never know that most vital part of me, and that I can’t get back what I never was allowed to have, is never far from my mind. If anything has ever made me feel like life is not worth living it is the knowledge that my body and brain were profoundly and irreversibly violated, and that not only will there never be any accountability, but that the burden of proof is on me, the adult who was once a child who was, in a very real way, punished for my hardships. ‘What did this do to me?’ is not a question that anyone should have to answer.”

But the stories in this book go far beyond what’s wrong, and point the way towards what could be, providing solutions and reasons for hope. According to L.D. Green: “I hope this book will facilitate dialogue and deepen understanding and forge alliances between people who may or may not be familiar with each other or each other’s work in the world. I hope these dialogues will lead to movement building, a shift in the culture, and effect policy changes.”

As Sally Zinman, executive director of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations, states in her review: “I share the vision of this book: a mental health system that is not based on forced treatment as its default, where people choose services and supports because they serve their needs as defined by them.  This would be a system that does not reduce people to chemical imbalances, but sees them holistically, with myriad needs and influences. We’ve Been Too Patient moves us all toward this substantially different perspective of mental health.”

A theme that runs throughout the book is the power of human connection to restore and heal us, both individually and collectively. As L.D. Green noted in a recent Salon essay: “When we are in a relationship of mutual respect and equality, when the connection is between two peers struggling along the same road together, working to love one another, we can become powerful and beautiful beyond measure. I believe that mutuality can transform ‘patients’ into people and restore health beyond expectation. More than this, I also believe that as people come into wellness and self-love, society can be transformed.”

Mark your calendars for two local book launch events coming up next month:

  • Tuesday, August 13, 7:00 pm: Books, Inc, 1491 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley
    with Kelechi Ubozoh, LD Green, and others TBD
  • Wednesday, August 14, 7:30 pm: Reading at the Bindery in San Francisco, 1727
    Haight St, with LD Green, Kelechi Ubozoh, Jenee Darden, Ramon(a) Rio, Shizue Seigel
    Seating is first come, first serve. You can guarantee your seat at this event by purchasing an advance copy of the book from The Bindery here

Come out to one or both of these events to support the editors and contributors, and to celebrate this new and invaluable contribution to the national dialogue on mental health!

What you can do to raise awareness about this book:

  • Buy the book at your local independent bookstore or order online here.
  • Leave a positive review for the book online; this helps to raise awareness.
  • Ask your local library to carry the book. 
  • Start a book club in your community this summer.
  • Follow the book on social media and share information with your networks.
  • Post about the book on social media using the hashtags #wevebeentoopatient and #wbtp