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Why the Broken Diaries?

Why the Broken Diaries

It’s my turn to write for the blog! Hi, I’m Joe. Broken People has had a blog for as long as its had a website, a little less than two years. I know blogs oftentimes go unread - it’s a fad that seems to have its own tide. So, why do we do this? Here are a few stories that may explain why:

I saw and participated in something extremely beautiful this week. It was a fundraising event for a local non-profit in Holland, MI. They asked me to come and share my story and read a

little bit from my book Broken Like Me. They had pre-purchased dozens of my book to give to everyone who got a ticket for this event. They paid a lot of good money for my book. I was just hoping they’d make it all back. For a while there, it looked like they might not. Eleven tickets had been sold by the time of the event - which I knew put their income from this event nowhere even close to what they paid for my books. I was worried and dealing with a lot of guilt.

Bill Phelps and some of the amazing people at the Lakeside Clubhouse

My concept of value always seems to be centered around money. Thankfully, this keeps getting challenged and improved. After spending a few weeks in Malawi, Africa with my daughter and father-in-law hearing about how rich America was, I felt the need to share with my new friends my personal frustration with government spending and the national debt. “We’re not rich - we just pretend really well.” My Malawian friends William and Duncan looked at me a bit bewildered. They asked me about our water faucets and electricity. Did they work every time I turned them on? What happens to our trash? Where did it end up? My friends didn’t think of wealth in terms of dollars or gold, it was more about the stuff I take for granted so easily every single day: water from the tap... always drinkable, electricity in every room of the house, and trash that someone takes away every week. Their water was fairly consistent, but nowhere near consumable. The hot water we used for bathing was cooked in a 30 gallon pot over an open flame every morning by women in the community. And electricity...not reliable at all. Sometimes recognizing how rich we are isn’t easy.

Olivia and William washing dishes after dinner

When I went to the fundraising event in Holland I was again taught another very important lesson about value: Sure, they tried to run a successful fundraiser, but it was so much more than that. You see, this was a mental health non-profit existing to create community and to support and encourage self-sufficiency for people who struggle daily to believe in themselves. This event was organized, marketed, communicated, and put on by the community of beautiful people at this non-profit. They were given the tools and resources, permission, and confidence to put on this event and it was a wonderful success. My hat goes off to all the amazing people at Lakeshore Clubhouse (Bill, Nicole, Jess, Scarlett, Russell, Ray, Dorothy, Greg, and a few more I am not remembering at the moment) for putting on such a beautiful event.

As you read through the various articles in this blog, or maybe even consider contributing something, I would like you to know the value of what you are contributing. The value of what you and I do has nothing to do with where it goes - like in this blog. It’s much more about the value of sharing our experiences. Broken people write stories and put them in our Broken Diaries for other broken people to read. It’s not traditional therapy, but the battles we fight, the wars that are waged inside of our minds and that suffocate our souls, are probably very similar to battles other people have or are fighting. You and I are learning every day to survive brokenness. As often as possible, I think that these stories and lessons need to be told. People who have support and a story may want a place to do just that, and then there are people in our world that simply don’t understand what our struggle is like. Our blog exists for them as well. All they need to do is open the Broken Diaries and learn a thing or two about what it looks like to walk in our broken shoes.

If you’d like to tell your story and contribute to this beautiful collection of stories of battles fought and won, pease email the Broken People Director of Advocacy, Johnna Paraiso, at

We’d love to hear about it!

Joseph Reid, May 2022 Just another broken person

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