"the nicest and the sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple pleasure, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
Lucy Maud Montgomery

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The mysterious Mama Pajama...

...In a recent post I alluded to "Mama Pajama," and a few people asked/commented/e-mailed me wondering what/who/where that is.   

For those of you who have been with me awhile you know that I suffer from clinical depression.  With medication and lots of vitamins and light I am usually able to keep it controllable.  Though in doing so I often lose a part of myself...it's like pushing down one thing to keep from feeling another if that makes any sense at all.  And I have no doubt that it makes little sense to anyone who has not suffered with depression.

I am not talking about the blue days we all have or the down times we experience occasionally. Nor am I talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder, although I am quite sensitive to light changes.  I am talking about the soul sucking, life draining, all enveloping darkness that comes to stay, sets up camp, and won't leave...ever.  The kind of darkness where you can see a light, oh so far away and so very, very small, but you have no way of moving toward it.  No way of climbing up, over or out.  And the days go on and on and slowly turn into a nightmare and you begin to wonder if there might be another way out.

There is always a way out right?

I have named her "Mama Pajama," since all I want to do is stay in my pajamas, crawl in a hole and block everything else out of my mind, and my mind's eye.  I have known her many, many years and I suspect that she often controlled my mother and my sister.  (Though in those days it was never spoken of and, heaven forbid, treated.)

In the last few years and with the help of blogger, I have learned to make friends with Mama Pajama.  I know when she is near, I know her knock at the door...after all she does have manners!  I know what to expect and finally, finally, I know how to cope.  It is not easy and takes a lot of work to keep her at bay.  It takes constant vigilance and much help from those closest to me.  But I know, and I always will, that it is a slippery slope and that at any moment I can be shoved over the edge into the darkness again.  I can't ever let my guard down...and it is exhausting.Posted by Picasa

So when and if I reference dear old "Mama P" you know that she is coming down the street with her eye on my home ready to crash in and suck the life and light out of me.    Guards up though and the security light is on...


  1. My mother suffered with the same thing and like yours...we didn't know what it was, therefore, we didn't speak of it...it was just a "mood". And now, I suffered with panic attacks. Out of nowhere, just going through my daily life and BAM, I'd panic and want to run...where who knows...
    After years of this and seeking advice from doctors, I have finally agreed to medication, because for years I told myself that I was strong and determine to overcome this...
    Well, guess what?...I got tired of being strong (stubborn) and the medication works wonders with me. Now, like you say, I keep it at bay and I know when it's near.
    Walking, exercise and keeping busy helps me. I have found that accepting our weaknesses makes us strong...


  2. Oh, JoJo, I'm so sorry. I too am familiar with Mama Pajama. I have on occasion gone through bouts of depression that I describe as being stuck in the mud at the bottom of a very deep ocean. So I know exactly what you mean. Thankfully it hasn't happened to me for a while...!

    I sometimes can chase Mama Pajama away by going for a walk and buying myself tulips. :-)



  3. I love that you share yourself with us! And you know what? There are a LOT of us like you! That darned Mama Pajama...she does like to travel around and has hit so many in her travels. I get hit with her pesky attacks in the winter when I have to spend so much time alone. It does help to be busy, so I try to do that, but I totally can relate to your post! We have several in our family who also suffer from her need to destroy, and we are constantly looking over our shoulders to fight back. Thankfully medication has helped. I wish you a day of light and sunshine! I hope Mama Pajama passes your house this time!!!

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  5. I’m so sorry to hear this! I am glad that you have some control over your situation, but I can only imagine how hard it is to stay that strong. But you are strong; everyone who takes advantage of the medical treatments and copes with it is strong. I admire you for being a gracious host when Mama P comes to visit but giving her a cup of coffee and sending her on her way.

  6. Hi Jojo. Thanks for explaining Mama Pajama, I wasn't sure what to think.
    I grew up with a mother who sank into the depths of depression most of her life. At first they didn't know what to call it but as the years went by it was manic depression.
    And my mother being the strong-willed person she was, refused any type of medication.
    This of course made everything a lot worse. Sometimes we wouldn't see her for months....she was in bed. As a boy I would try to 'get her up'. Sometimes it worked , other times not. Depended on how far 'down' she was.
    I wish she had had your attitude and resilience Jojo. You know what you are up against and are doing what you can to remain afloat.
    I've told you in the past how much I admire you. And I say it again!

  7. sending you lots of hugs and prayers! I am glad you can see her coming and know how to keep her at bay.


  8. Ms. Paxie Panicker feels exactly the same way about her panic disorder.

    I get it. It's different, but it's the same. Many, many years...

    When I lay down to take a nap, I put the covers over my head just for a few minutes to shut out the world...knowing I'm safe. All the little things we do to cope...

    No choice is there? Just live for the GOOD days...love you!

  9. I've been there. Many times. And I don't think I could give mine such a nice name. I will never stop my medication ever again. Hugs to you.

  10. Mama Pajama meds have been in my life for 20 yrs now, and I would never stop taking them. Honey, I so know exactly how you feel, you can just put it into words better than I. I call it the "Dark Hole", and I hate it!! Some times, I think life isn't work going on, then I think of my precious grandchildren and know it's worth it. My sister couldn't see that I guess, and the pain I feel over that is hard. I wish she had looked into her baby grandson's eye's at that time, and made a different choice. I love you, Jojo. We are so much alike. Thanks for sharing yourself with me. We will get thru the Mama Pajama periods, TOGETHER!!!!

    God Bless~

  11. I'm amazed how many people suffer from some sort of clinical depression. I wonder how many suffered long ago and had no where to turn.
    You do a great service to others by sharing what you go through. Maybe someone will read your blog and your words will give them the strength to find help.
    I think that you are a wonderful person and you deserve better, but you live with what has been given and I admire this so.


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