“Radical Authenticity”: Leslie M. Browning on Sharing Our Stories About Trauma, Dark Times, and Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness

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Leslie M. Browning set out to understand her own trauma, not to write a book. But, as Leslie discovered, intentions can have their own glorious and wild mind, and she ended up with the powerful memoir, To Lose the Madness: Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity, born out of her journals. She and Susan explore the ways in which mental illness, suicide, and the social pressure to “do well no matter what”  hide in the shadows in our culture of ‘informed denial.’


Meet This Episode's Guest

Leslie M. Browning

L.M. Browning is an award-winning author of twelve books. In her writing, Browning explores the confluence of the natural landscape and the interior landscape. In 2010, she debuted with a three-title contemplative poetry series. These three books went on to garner several accolades including a total of 3 pushcart-prize nominations, the Nautilus Gold Medal for Poetry, andForeword Reviews’ Book of the Year Award. She has freelanced for several publications and has a biannual interview column in The Wayfarer magazine in which she has interviewed dozens of notable creative figures such as Academy Award-Nominated filmmaker Tomm Moore, Peabody-winning host of On Being Krista Tippett, and celebrated poet David Whyte. Balancing her passion for writing with her love of learning, Browning is a graduate of the University of London, a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Writers and sits on the Board of the Independent Book Publishers Association. In 2011, she opened Homebound Publications. In early 2018, following the release of To Lose the Madness and the TEDx Talk she presented at Yale University’s TEDx Conference based on her own journey with successive trauma and search for transcendence,Browning founded the RadicalAuthenticity.Community  website, a community of storytellers who, by sharing our own journey with emotional struggle, help to normalize mental illness and dispel the stigma surrounding it. She is currently working to complete a B.A. in Creative Writing with a double minor in Journalism and Psychology at Harvard University’s Extension School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 
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