A Visit from PoorMe

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A note: I wrote this in January of 2007 after I fell down our stairs and broke my arm. I came across it recently and was amazed at how much is different (we only had one child then!) and how much is the same (PoorMe is still very much a part of my life). I share it this week in the hope that you will laugh with me…and find encouragement in our shared struggles and the support of someone else who’s in the trenches too.

Every so often, PoorMe pops up her head. She peeks in for a status check, to make sure things are sufficiently depressing, and then wails in the other room about anything she can get her voice around. Maybe it’s the pile of dishes signifying what a poor housekeeper she is; maybe it’s the loads of unfolded laundry in the kitchen signifying how unorganized she is; maybe it’s the trash spilling out of the garbage can signifying what a slob she is. It could be a book-that-should-be-finished-by-now or an event that just-wouldn’t-work-out-right-now. It’s hard to tell what will set PoorMe off.

One thing’s for sure: a broken arm will DEFINITELY set PoorMe to wailing.

“PoorMe has to take showers at night so the cast can dry. PoorMe has to rely on help from others to get certain household chores done. PoorMe is tired from overworking herself and can’t get things done as fast as she wants.”

You get the idea. There’s more where that came from.

Last night, PoorMe was screaming in that compartment of my brain where I try to keep her penned in. She was pounding on the door and wailing in her best soprano. And all I could do, at that point in my day, was stand in the shower and cry as I said as much of a Hail Mary as I could remember.

Somehow, things are better this morning. The blessings outweigh the burdens by at least 50 percent. I can see clearly how the temptation for me is to quit, to let go, to be harder on myself than God is. I can feel how unjust I was…to myself. I am often hard on myself, but last night there was no loophole of forgiveness, and I was ready to disappear, to ask why I was even created, to chuck it all in favor of oblivion. Last night, PoorMe had me convinced that I was a failure at my work, a terrible wife, a lousy housekeeper (that part might not be so far from the truth), a sub-par mother, a horrible person.

But PoorMe is small again, and silent in her back room. What do you do when PoorMe pops up? Is there a special prayer you pray or something you do to remind yourself of what’s going on and that it’s temporary?

Copyright 2011 Sarah Reinhard

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah, lately I tend to have this happen in the middle of the night. I will lie in bed wide awake feeling anxious or worried. I’ve been trying very hard to pray a Rosary when I get the “PoorMe” syndrome and to do it for all of the moms around the world who might also be awake and suffering, or tired, or simply just needing someone to carry their burdens with them. Usually dwelling on someone else’s needs rather than my own will remind me of my blessings and help me to snap out of it…but not always! Thanks for bringing up a great topic!

  2. I’ve had a bit of this while fighting sick kids and post holiday let down. When I catch myself stuck in “poor me” mode, I usually complain to my loving and understanding mom, who makes me realize things really are not as bad as that little voice in my head makes them out to be. Talking it out with her always makes me move forward and shake it off. Thank you for the reminder that none of us are alone and it is just temporary.

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