Mental health is a serious issue many people have to deal with, and it’s not easy to be one of the “broken people.” Dealing with a mental health problem is quite tricky, but there are tools like peer support that we can use that might help us get through it. In this episode, Joseph Reid, author of Broken Like Me: An Insider’s Toolkit for Mending Broken People, discusses mental health. He shares how journaling has helped him personally. Tune in and hear from Joseph as he shares powerful insights into how relationships, especially friendship, helped him through.
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A Toolkit For Mending Broken People With Peer Support Specialist Joseph Reid
Joseph Reid has had a passion for loving and helping people from a very early age. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Broken People, an international mental health peer support group. He is also very active as a peer support specialist and family advocate with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. It’s an honor.
I’m delighted to get a chance to share your book and some of what you’ve learned with our audience. Broken Like Me, I believe, is the title, and you can give us a subtitle. Tell us a little bit about your book and how you came to write it.
The subtitle is An Insider’s Toolkit For Mending Broken People. I came to write it. The short story is that I lost a friend to suicide. That’s a big story, and he was somebody that felt broken like me and we talked to each other. We understood each other. He was a huge advocate for mental health, and I was trying to stumble along and find my way and trying to do things to survive every day. When he passed away, I lost that connection with the world.
I got the phone call. I was in a little town in Mid, Michigan, driving my FedEx truck, pulling out of a cheese factory, and I got the call that he had passed away. I hung up my phone and I got what to be the clearest call from the voice of God I have ever heard, which is to do this thing, to write this book. I connected with a bunch of people that are smarter than me, and they said, “You’ve got something here. Go ahead with it.” That’s the super condensed version and a lot of things have happened as a result of that, but that’s the nutshell.
When did you finish it and put it out there?
My friend died on January 24th, 2018. I started writing that February. I was in the hospital for organized pneumonia for a few days and I had it for two years. This is a rare form of pneumonia. I started typing in there, and I finished in May of 2021, so about three and a half years of writing. In the first week of June, it became an Amazon National Bestseller in 3 or 4 categories. I was pretty amazed that a self-published book would do something like that. I put it out there to help one person, and apparently, there are a bunch of people that feel broken like me.
There is so much in the book that we were talking about a little bit before we got the interview started and I was telling you that I have used your You assessment list, this mental health check-in assessment list with a patient I had previous to this. Tell us about this idea you have of being able to measure and label where you are on this ongoing platform.
It’s a scale. One of the things I saw that was helpful and useful was when I was taking my son into the hospital and getting him assessed for hospitalization psychiatric care. They put the scale in front of him, 1 through 10, 1 being you are doing great and 10 you are doing bad. I refer to that as a positive one scale in my book.
As 1 is good and 10 is bad, around the number 3 mark, things start heading downhill. At the very same table, at the same minute, they put another scale in front of my son, that 10 is good and 1 is bad. When I first got on this call and you asked me how I was doing, that question freaked me out. When you asked me, “How are you doing on the Joe scale or the You scale?” it gave me so much relief because it’s so simple to communicate.
I can tell you how I am and you, somebody I just met, has a pretty good idea of how I’m doing. It’s amazing to brag about me. I’m sure there’s something better out there. I want to get the conversation started about having a scale that’s communicated across the profession. The way the scale works is it goes negative 10 to positive 10. If you are feeling negative, spoiler alert, which side of the scale are you going to be on?
The way it’s lined up on your page, on the negative side, and that’s at the bottom of the page. That’s another thing I like it goes from negative 10 up to 0, and then up to positive 10.
If you are feeling negative, you are on the negative side of the scale. If I’m feeling positive, you are on the positive side of the scale. If somebody tells you, “I’m a negative one or whatever,” then you know they are having a hard day. That zero point is that moment where nobody exists very long, but you don’t know how you are feeling. You come and go over that meridian through different phases. A couple of things were important for me in making the scale and that’s to communicate 1) When I need to go to the hospital and 2) When I’m being manic.
One of the drawbacks to a 1 through 10 scale is there’s not a whole lot of room for feeling good. I feel like a scale should be fair for good feelings. When somebody’s feeling manic, when I’m feeling manic, I’m not bipolar, but I have little short bouts of mania, it’s a good feeling. I feel great, but my response to my actions gets me into trouble.
I have created this thing called a Manic number within that negative 10 through 10 scale. What that communicates is like, if I get to a positive six, I ask myself the question, “Am I manic?” If I am, what kind of coping skills can I put in place to help the inevitable fall from grace, the fall from this wonderful feeling, but also acknowledge that I feel good?
We should celebrate any good feeling we have. Let’s celebrate that. Let’s acknowledge that and let’s enjoy it rather than being afraid that, “I’m manic. I’m going to crash and burn,” which is a constant fear of my fear of mine. The crisis number is on the other side of the scale. It’s a negative number and this is the number that my family, my friends, my pastor, my therapist, and my doctor all know. If Joe hits this number or approaches this number, which is a negative six, then we need medical intervention, hospitalization. There’s this constant moving between these two extremes for me.
I had a friend in Ireland, and I don’t remember if I shared this story with you or not. He traveled to Ireland and his wife was a therapist and his friends that went with him here from West Michigan was a nurse and another guy. Four people in Ireland. They land in Ireland and his knee starts hurting him. He was like, “This is weird.”
The next day, he starts getting a fever. The next day, he’s in complete psychosis. He’s out of his mind. He is not making any sense. They went to the doctor the day before and were like, “It’s an infection. We’ll give him some,” whatever you give for infections. I’m not a doctor. Let me emphasize it for the purposes of this show. I’m not a therapist. I do peer support.
The doctor was sent home back to the hotel. He’s talking with his wife and he’s not making any sense. He talked about these few things. He says one thing. He says, “Tell Joe I’m at a negative seven.” Right away, they rush into the hospital because they realize it’s bad. He couldn’t make sense of anything except being able to say, “This is where I am.”
I feel like rather than seeing all the thoughts that come to my head which for me are constant suicidal thoughts, it gets tiring to talk about it, I can say one of those numbers and you, a complete stranger, will know how I’m doing. If you journal and you can keep track of your scale or what I call the Mental Health Number, that number where you are presently, then you could do a lot of interesting studies.
For example, at the top of your journal or wherever, you put it’s the weekend. You are averaging out your weekends versus averaging out your weekdays. Averaging up seasons. Mondays versus Fridays. You can do a lot of math with this thing that I haven’t attempted, but I see its potential. It would bore the crap out of me and it’s not what I journal.We should celebrate any good feeling we have. Click To Tweet
Before we move over to journaling and move away from the You scale, one of the things you have on the second page of the scale is the listing from positive 10 to negative 10 and then a column for behaviors that would indicate that I’m in one of those behaviors. In another column, I can list positive coping strategies I can use at each of those levels. It is, to my mind, a wonderful tool for planning and empowering people. It’s very much like what we had done for years with people before we had some of the more advanced tools for mind, body, and energy work that we have now.
We used to have people make a simple list of 3 to 5 things they would start to do when they began feeling anxious. The core of it is it’s them initiating. Now they are focusing on things they control and immediately start to feel more in control. There’s not 1 or 2. There’s a minimum of 3 and we are shooting for 5 to 7 things they can do if the first 2 or 3 didn’t work. Here’s my next step. It’s right here on my list, and I have got it memorized. I thought that list of coping mechanisms paired with the scale of intensity of the negative state was brilliant.
It’s so hard. When I’m in a tough state like I referred to as a storm or my worst broken feeling, who’s responsible for fixing me? Who can do it? The answer is only me, but what we can do is when we are not in the middle of that storm, is this process or skill of coping ahead? It is planning for those things so that when your friends know you are at a negative three, maybe you are not capable in that situation to carry yourself across that Meridian of zero by doing the positive thing. If your friends know you are in a negative three, what can they do to be an encouragement or a safe place to land and feel comforted? My friends will drop off chocolate milk at my front door.
Sometimes they can remind you like, “You’ve done this before. These are your coping skills and it can help break the cycle.”
That’s the powerful thing about friendship and journaling. It is this idea of reminding someone that gets so complicated in how we treat other people. My friends, to hear them reminds me that I have value and remind me that I have helped them, and not with a general scene, but like with a story and having a tight group of friends like I do. They have those stories.
You leapfrogged past the hammer in journaling, but I like it. Let’s go with this friend business.
I have got turtles everywhere.
We love turtle, but in your book, you talk quite a bit about friends, friendship and boundaries and friendships and choosing intentional best friends. Give us a little teaser about that because many of the things you write about in that book are useful and there are a lot of things that people aren’t taught about and don’t think about unless they get a book like yours.
For me, it’s acknowledging that there’s something complicated about having friendships and being an adult. Before my first hospitalization, just to put a personality, I’m an empath, an INFJ. I want to help people. I was married in 1997 and my first hospitalization was in 2002, which is interesting because I found my journal in 2002 talking about that experience and I was helping everybody.
I was doing children’s ministry. I was working full-time. I was doing an outreach ministry with my church. I was helping everybody, and I got burnt out. I said, “I have got to find a way to feel okay not being everything for everybody.” Pastors all the time talk about this principle of, “Have twelve disciples like Jesus,” or whatever.
I have heard and I like the idea of you are the average of the five closest people you have to yourself. It’s important to me to have people from different walks of life in my life because their perspective is different and very helpful. I’m 6’4’’ White guy, middle-class. I feel like I’m missing part of society. I’m very intentional of thinking about who am I letting into my life as the closest people I connect with? What has this done? What has been helpful is when I need somebody in my life, I have this thing called intentional best friends. I know who to ask.
I have a literal list of people that I make every Thanksgiving. I redo the list, and about who are people in my life that I love the most. Who are the people in my life that need me? The word relationship, the root of it is relate. If you can’t relate to them, the ship doesn’t float, so it’s not going to work. I don’t know if you readers had friends where they feel like either one, they are constantly giving, and the friend is not giving anything back, or they are receiving pain constantly and don’t feel like they can share their pain with their friends. It’s got to be this balance.
There’s an ebb and flow to relationships where maybe you are going through something and it’s going to be more of them comforting you, but there’s got to be this balance. I’m limited by my budget. If I want to buy birthday gifts for anybody, it’s going to be for this group of people. I have four intentional best friends. I have told them, my intentional best friends, this small group of people, this tight circle of friends, if they ever need anything, I want them to think of me first. A friend texted me, “Would you help me with some housework?” I have hundreds and hundreds of friends, people I care about dearly, but I can’t do for all of them.
That one friend, my intentional best friend, asked me for something, and then if another friend comes to me and says, “I need your help with this,” it’s a no brainer to me. I’m going to always go with that person I have made an intentional part of my life. It’s like every Thanksgiving, I talk about making this list, and for me, it’s like a covenant. It’s like this promise to this group of people, to these friends that I make to them to care for them to support them in any way I can that’s reasonable and a promise to come to them with my problems. They are the friends I have fun with. The friends I have learned from. If I’m the average of these four guys, I’m an incredible human being. My friend passed away, during that time, I had eleven intentional best friends, and losing him was hard.
What year was that?
2018 of January.
You talk about boundaries, which is very nice. A good topic. You mentioned one of the books that I frequently recommend to people about boundaries because it has that as the title, Cloud and Thompson’s book on that. There are some earthy, very down-to-earth ways that you talk about this to make it understandable for people that it’s okay for me to have preferences and communicate those, and let them drive who I spend or I choose to spend a lot of time and energy with. It’s not an insult to somebody else. It’s a preference based on who I am and who I want to be and how I like to be.
It’s so hard to make decisions as an adult. I feel like for me, and especially when I wrestle with, “Am I going to hurt so-and-so’s feelings?” they get it. They understand the struggle. Everybody struggles with it. The problem is we don’t talk about the struggle. It continues to be a struggle. It continues to be this issue that’s hidden beneath the skin.
There’s another important point that you make in the book, which is people are out there trying to think they are going to go look for themselves or go find themselves. You make the point of being yourself and living into what feels good to you, giving yourself permission to be yourself, rather than trying to be what you think somebody else wants you to be. This is one of those tenuous points where you mentioned, “If I’m going to be the average of the five people that I choose as intentional friends,” for some people that would nudge them into, now that they have chosen these intentional friends.
Now they want to try and be who they think these five people want them to be. They want to be more like those. The point you were making in the book is that won’t work. You need to be yourself, get comfortable being yourself, and then choose friends who are in alignment or at least compatible with that.
That journey to finding out who you are, that’s where the journal has been such a huge tool. That’s the second one I bring in. Being extremely honest with your opinions about things, to the point where you would offend a lot of people, but if you can get those honest thoughts out there like your fears, your prejudices, and your biases and all these other things out there, it’s not a problem to have them as much as what you do with those things. I don’t like opera, but I didn’t like Anne of Green Gables, but I used to watch it because all the girls would watch it and I wanted to impress them. I told everybody I liked it, but I was suffering the whole time.
It’s so important because if you don’t decide who you are, then the other people around you will decide it for yourself. You don’t want other people deciding for you. I keep reinventing and rethinking about who I am in this present space and trying to live honestly and faithfully. The thing is, we want to impress people. I want to impress you right now and everybody reading, but I also want to help and I can’t do both. Maybe I can but I’m going to err on the side of helping as opposed to telling you might maybe what I think you would want to hear or your readers.If you don't decide who you are, the other people around you will decide for you. Click To Tweet
That gets off the rails very quickly because that’s a moving target. Whereas who you are and what you feel comfortable with iss more stable. It’s more here in the moment and it’s so much easier in another sense to take a breath, check in with yourself, and then talk from what feels right rather than trying to think and do all the mental math about what will this person like.
It’s like trying to tell a lie and it leads to more lies. There’s a great poem out there. I don’t know it word for word and I forget the author, but he talks about trying to find happiness. Happiness is like a butterfly. If you chase that butterfly, you are never going to get it, but if you sit still and be, then that happiness or that butterfly will land on your shoulder. I think that’s about our purpose and our success.
You can’t chase happiness and find it. You got to find out who you are and then be it, and that requires a level of honesty. I didn’t like myself for a long time. I went to this transformation to try to figure out what do I believe in and why. Belief in itself is a tough cookie to swallow especially when you are brought up in a Judeo-Christian environment like I was. There are so many other things out there, like, “Am I going with the crowd that I grew up with?” Asking the question why was huge for me.
Another tool you call the hammer in your work is a journal. You’ve got some unique perspectives on journaling and you start with going to the research and citing how there’s substantial research that says journaling is good for you. It’s good in all these different areas. Can you talk about how you use journaling for yourself?
Journaling is like whatever you feel and think. Whatever you need to do, just put it down on paper. It’s making the frustrating and overwhelming things that are on the inside that is burning me and exploding on the inside of me and putting them out there for me to see and analyze on the outside. It’s not even journaling that there’s journaling and writing on paper. There’s a whole bunch of information that relates to the benefit of you even writing the kinesthetic value of focusing and drawing the letters on a page and focusing on that to get your mind away from some of those darker thoughts.
Thinking about what you are thinking about. That’s what mindfulness. Having a space to be able to openly and safely share that. That’s what a journal is and it can take on a lot of different forms from a written, video, and to an audio journal. It’s been a place where I can ask the tough questions about life and make big decisions without the fear of anybody judging me or me disappointing anybody because those have a tendency to muddy who I am because I want to impress or not offend another person.
Let me challenge you a little bit and see how good your memory is. How much can you share with us of the story about journaling at the smaller end, on that day where you wanted to stay in bed and you started listing, and then the next thing you know, it led to the ketchup on the ice cream?
It was a random day. It was in the summer or something. I don’t know. I share it in my book word for word, the journal entry. It’s nothing edited out. The whole bay is in there. I started off this day at 10:00 or 9:30 in the morning and I couldn’t move. I have all of these things that I feel like I have to do. I then start to journal about the struggle and all of that.
I don’t remember what I wrote in the journal or what would get me moving in the right direction, but I remember this concept of forward as forward and doing little things to move myself forward. I went to the gym and helped my mother-in-law with something, and then I had to drive up to someplace to get my boys from the grandfather. There’s this guy eating, putting ketchup on ice cream. I’m like, “This is the weirdest thing in the world,” as I’m trying to write this passage about journaling and it ended up being like potato salad or something, which isn’t even better.
It’s about the blessings that you talked about that came from that. Here’s this whole idea of you didn’t even want to get out of bed, but rather than lay there and soak in it and implode, you started listing the thoughts in your head, which opened up the flow and let you even get out of bed. As you talked and journaled about, it led to this magnificent, goofy interchange with this gentleman who had his own issues and was homeless. You started giving him resources and it ended up being a blessing for you and him because you used journaling when you were feeling so negative in the morning.
When we are struggling with thoughts and we try to bury those thoughts, we are burying ourselves and we are hurting ourselves. A journal is a great place to get that out there so you can begin healing. One of the most helpful things for me is to go to the gym and I knew if I could get to the gym, I would feel better, but I had to get all those feelings out.
One of the things I was struggling with is I wanted to watch pornography. That’s something that I approve of for myself. I put it out there honestly because I knew I’d feel like crap afterward. Some people questioned me putting that in my book, but we got to talk about real things. Opening that gate for all those feelings, it gets it out of here so then I could begin to fill up myself, my head, and my soul with the good things that I could do that day.
It led to a series of blessings. I enjoyed it as an example. It wasn’t like, “Here’s the project I’m going to do to solve all the world’s problems.” It’s just, “I’m stuck in bed. Let me get that stuff out of my head.” When I did, the day unfolded and all kinds of good stuff happened. That wouldn’t have happened if I had stayed in bed.
I have always been the one person that wants to save the world, but nobody can do that. All we can do is help one person. That’s my goal. It’s to help one more person. If that’s you, reader, none of us has the capacity to carry that weight on our shoulders. There’s this idea I love and I have talked about this with police officers. It’s the greatest commandment that Jesus mentions, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What Jesus does there is he sets the bar for our capacity to love other people by how well and how much we love ourselves. If I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of you. How well am I taking care of myself?
Sometimes we can look at ourselves and say, “We can look at how we treat our friends,” and we say, “I must not be taking very good care of myself because I’m looking out and being to my kids or my wife.” That bar doesn’t go very far above how well you are caring for yourself. I have trichotillomania. It’s a hair-pulling anxiety disorder. A lot of times, I won’t know I’m anxious until I get an infection on the side of my face and I’m just picking and picking.
It was like a red flag goes off in my head, “You are doing this. There’s something happening inside of you. How are you going to deal with that?” Those things can help you. A lot of times, you can’t see what’s going on the inside but you can see what’s happening on the outside to indicate what you are struggling with on the inside.
What’s an aspect of either your personal journey or things that you’ve had people share with you that was most useful, or another aspect of the book that we haven’t talked about yet that you want to get in here?
There are two things in the book that strike me as significant. One of them is a story of this Mars orbiter where NASA and Lockheed worked together to create this $6 million orbiter that’s going to fly to Mars and test the weather and send all this information back to us. Lockheed Martin, when it’s constructing and building the software for this orbiter, uses the metric system to program everything. NASA launched the ship. It goes out and getting ready to orbit Mars, but the way NASA is entering information into the computer to send the directions to the orbiter is in the Imperial system. Right off the bat, there was this massive miscommunication between NASA and orbiter, which led to the orbiter crashing on Mars and them losing $6 million.
That teaches me or what I feel like that shows me is that as you as a therapist and me as a person that feels broken, if we can’t speak the same languages, there’s going to be a lot of crashing and burning. Maybe we can avoid that by communicating in a way that we both can understand because it’s not happening, at least in my experience. The other thing that I love about the story in my book that I appreciate is the idea of ripples and chain reactions.
I look at journaling as a Keystone habit, and a Keystone habit is one habit that other good habits can be built on because it’s very basic. When I was camping with my son, we were dorks and throwing sticks into the water. I was equating the idea of writing my journal to throwing that stick. As soon as I get my thoughts out on paper, I have no control over what happens next. I have tossed that stick, and then what happens so beautiful with that stick, because you know happens when it lands in the water, it makes a splash and there are ripples. Not just one ripple. There are several ripples, which are like a chain reaction.
When we throw that stick or we write in that journal, there are all these side effects that happen from making the good decision of self-disclosure. It’s beautiful to know that good decisions can snowball for the benefit of us when we know very well that bad decisions can snowball. They have this chain reaction of good decisions. It’s transformed everything for me. It’s like to be able to write up a few hundred-page book, it all started from one good decision.
You mentioned self-disclosure there as a phrase and I was thinking as I listened to your book, and as you were talking about it, my ear picked up self-honesty, being more deeply honest with yourself. That’s one of the things about the journaling. I can’t screen and censor myself when I’m journaling and get any benefit from it. I need to let it all spill out there.Happiness is like a butterfly. If you chase it, you'll never get it. Click To Tweet
There are several books in the past few years that I have read where people are speaking beautifully about that. Whether it’s Untamed by Glennon Doyle or We Are the Luckiest by Laura McKowen. These two books speak powerfully about how surprising they were, how difficult it was to get more honest, and how essential it is to be brutally, fundamentally, and radically honest.
You can’t shy away from things. As you said, some friends were saying, “Should you put that in your book about you wanted to watch pornography?” If that’s what was happening, then you can’t be honest about it, you don’t necessarily need to write a book about it. If you journal about it, you can’t even be honest with yourself about it, you can’t move past it. You can’t heal.
There are so many people that I am so supported and I have so many safety nets that I have created for myself that I can do things like that. Be honest to the point of what may be embarrassing or even damaging for other people to share, because I do have that support system. People need to hear that somebody else will struggle with things like trichotillomania. That’s a bigger issue than what gets discussed out in the world.
The suicidal thoughts that you mentioned.
Every ten minutes. I have something like that. I have gone two weeks without suicidal thought, which is pretty freaking amazing. I just got to make sure I’m not being manic.
That’s the thing that people won’t often be honest about. As you point out in your book, it’s so fundamentally helpful to have a core group of people or intentional best friends where you can voice that when it comes up.
I had a friend I called and it was like things were going well with his son and I was becoming bitter. I called them and I said, “I am envying you right now, and I don’t like you very much.” Just to be able to have that. He loved to conversation because I was telling him I didn’t like him because he’s been such a good dad and I want to be that.
We get into the discussion of what’s the difference between envy and jealousy. That’s another whole episode, but we need to be honest. We need to be able to share our hearts and then when we can do that. We are more apt and more likely to find our passion and our purpose because what happened for me was tragedy over here and my passions collided, and that’s where I found purpose. My friend dying and my passion for helping people collided. I got a book and I have got this organization called Broken People and I want to help somebody.
Before we close out here, let us know a little bit about the organization Broken People, your website, how or where people can find your book.
The book is on Amazon. I have a link on my website, which is www.Broken-People.org. I started writing a book. A friend of mine who was mentoring me through the process, just like you said, “If you buy the book, you are only going to help the people that read it. You should start a ministry.” I’m like, “Please don’t say that. There are enough ministries out there and we need better people to run the ministries we have.”
Plus, I didn’t want to deal with only Christians or whatever. I didn’t want to limit myself to that. That’s another reason why I self-published and didn’t go with a Christian publisher because the stories don’t change when you have different beliefs. The struggle is all the same, and it’s just I have this different aspect of how I view the world.
He’s like, “You need to start this thing.” I was like, “I’m going to call it Broken People because when I’m at my lowest point, I feel broken, and I wanted to see who’s out there.” He feels broken like me and we have members in 43 countries. I was helping somebody in Daytona Beach, Florida. She messages, “I don’t know where to find food and I’m struggling.” It’s things like that as somebody that’s used to making cold calls and being out there with people. I started calling churches in Daytona Beach, “Where can we find food?” There’s a Methodist church right on the beach that has food available on Wednesday from 8:30 to 11:00. For anybody that’s reading from Daytona Beach.
Little things like that. We helped a rape victim in Berlin, Germany, find support. I’m speaking at NAMI State Conference in Michigan, where they do the same thing. We are not in competition. Even I, NAMI and all these other things, we are not in competition to help people. We are all trying to do our best to help people get through this struggle we call mental illness. I’m trying to do my little part. If there’s somebody reading right now that’s struggling, maybe my story can help you. My emails, book and website are there. We are the host here. We are trying to do our best to help you out.
It’s Broken-People.org. The book is Broken Like Me: An Insider’s Toolkit For Mending Broken People. I greatly appreciate your taking the time out of your busy life to share this with us and for the work you are doing and good luck with your presentation at NAMI.
Thanks, and if I could say another thing in closing about the stories we tell ourselves. Brené Brown is great at highlighting vulnerability.
I love the fact that at the end of your book, you list several books. You say, “Here’s a topic, here’s a book. Here’s another topic, here is a book.” You listed one of her books in there too.
Even now, at the end of this interview, the story I’m telling myself in my head is that I have disappointed you. Me getting that out there to tell you that it helps me feel better.
As I remember Brené Brown telling that story, this is a phrase that she uses and has saved her marriage a number of times. Maybe it can save our relationship. “Anyway, I love you.” The idea that she and her husband have talked about it and said, “When I get triggered, I want to say what’s going on for me, but I’m going to use this phrase. The story I’m telling myself now is this and that.”
She said, “He comes home one day and he says, ‘Did you have something planned for dinner?’” She goes into this slow burn that’s not so slow and thinking, “Just because I’m the woman, I have to plan all the meals.” She’s fuming and stomping around in the kitchen, and finally, she decided to tell him. She stops and she says, “The story I’m telling myself now is you think that just because I’m the woman, I have to do all the domestic work.” He says, “Thanks for letting me know that. The reason I ask is on the way home, I stopped and got the fixings for lasagna, and if you didn’t have anything planned, I will make lasagna tonight. If you had something else planned, I will make it on another night.”
Those voices, they lie so much.
It’s a wonderful tool, and I’m glad that you bring that thing up because it’s right here about the honesty. Can I be honest? The honesty that’s useful is when I can own that I’m the one creating this story and emotions. I want to share it with you and that’s not blaming you. It’s been delightful and I hope people take advantage of whether it’s the Broken People ministry that you have going and/or the book or reaching out to you personally through your website. I greatly appreciate your taking the time, and I look forward to the next book you write.
Don’t just buy my book. Don’t just get in my website. Even connect with the stuff that’s happening on this show. It’s helpful tools. I don’t care where you get your help, but reach out if you are struggling. Get the help. This show has amazing resources. Whatever it takes, just find it.
Thank you so much for being here and good luck with your presentation. Thanks for being here.
Joseph Reid has had passion for loving and helping people from a very early age. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Broken People, an international mental health peer support group. He is also very active as peer support specialist and family advocate with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI.
It’s the nation’s largest grassroots mental health nonprofit organization. He is passionate about following God’s direction. Loving and serving his wife Melissa for many years, and trying to keep up with his four awesome, growing kids. He is the author of Broken Like Me and oversees several other brilliant writers on his website’s blog that can be found at Broken-People.org.