To Light My Way Through The Darkness

Last year I purchased this item, a Phillips brand alarm clock that uses light and bird sound to wake me up:

philips-hf3520-wake-up-light

The light simulates a sunrise, an important thing at 5:30 am in a dark room, in mid-November.  Compared to last year, the need to hit snooze has declined, and having my coffeemaker perk at 5:15 helps me get up and saves money in Starbucks runs. However, the dark still drags my mood down, my brain feeling like steel wool, making small setbacks looks like cataclysmic events. Also, add an early Winnipeg Snowfall, and suddenly the need for light comes a close first next to food. The winter doesn’t look all bad, sometimes I get moments of grace like this one:

Plus I have books and plenty of *cough* other things to keep me warm:

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Image: Me + Richard Armitage

Look, I have always written upfront about reaching middle age with the soul of a 15-year-old-girl. While Berlin Station makes me furrow my brow as I unravel the plot with the characters, I look forward to next week’s episode that I read so much about everywhere else. (Spoilers don’t bother me.) Once again I digress. (Shoo, Richard, I had a point to this post.)

Oh, yes, light.

One of my colleagues uses her S.A.D. lamp on her desk at the other campus. After looking at renting a lamp, one looking too big my space, from the Mood Disorder Association of Manitoba, I decided to buy a Verilux Happy Lamp:

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Image: Amazon.ca

It’s compact and can easily store in the summer. My clock also doubles as my bedside lamp and provides bedside light in the evening. Light therapy and reading lamp all in one.

How bad has it gotten this year? I scrubbed my participation in NaNoWriMo. I didn’t feel like writing outside of my journal and the motivation to go, even to an open mic stand up, blew out like a candle.  These factors create ruts and getting into one makes things even worse. Therefore invest in some situations to buoy mental health. The darkest day for 2017 will happen on December 21st, with January and February my most difficult months. The good news? I am not alone, and sometimes that’s enough to carry a person through. (That and Richard Armitage but that’s just me.)

Supplemental Reading

Winnipeg libraries switch on new light therapy lamps for SAD sufferers

A CBC article about three library branches offering therapy lights during business hours.

Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba

Whether you believe in SAD or not, mental health does not take a seasonal break. Besides information on renting S.A.D. lamps, a link to resources on issues such as Bipolar to post-partum.

Study Finds “Seasonal Affective Disorder” Doesn’t Exist

There are reason’s why I choose this Scientific American article:

  1. Links to two assessments one for S.A.D. while the other may help with depressive diagnosis. However, this does not take the place of seeking out professional help. I’ve done it and bucking up makes a person weaker, not stronger. The right person, the right meds do help.
  2. Always get a thoughtful, well-researched, counterpoint. I believe sunlight does affect people’s moods but not exhibit a slavish adherence to it.

 

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