Too bad, so SAD

Have you seen Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus in What About Bob?

If you haven’t, go watch it, we’ll be waiting here when you get back.

All done? Wasn’t that great? I love the sailing scenes.

Anyway, one of the main points of the movie (that I can remember, I haven’t seen it in almost ten years. Okay, so I’ll rent it, too, since you did it for me). Where was I? Oh, yeah, one of the main points:

Baby steps.

No, babies don’t actually learn to walk in the movie, but Bob has to learn that he isn’t going to get from here to there in one giant leap. You have to take baby steps along the way.

I was reminded of this the other day in a comment about, er, taking baby steps. Cuz I’m literal that way, sometimes.

One thing about dealing with depression is that I don’t see that anything has a purpose. It isn’t worth working on a problem that isn’t going to have an answer. It’s so broken that it can’t be fixed. Because I want to just flip a switch, push a button, and have it done. I don’t want to fiddle with the bits.

Captain Obvious has been shouting “hey, idiot, that don’t work!” for a long time, but I’ve been ignoring him.

Now I’m trying, yes I am, to get started. To get moving. To get out of this rut. Little things – I bought some shoes. Then, decided I found a better pair on the interwebs, and they had free shipping. So hopefully they’ll be here soon. And I’m telling myself to eat better (that will start Any Day Now). And getting outside more (actually doing a little of this, the pretty weather is helping).

I’ve been doing some reading on SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. And before I say anything, I need to stress that I am not an authority on this. I talk about something (say, Emma Watson) and suddenly the internet is banging on my door, expecting to see boobs. Seriously, four of the top five searches that find my blog are looking for Emma Watson’t breasts. The top search string? Granny sex. Don’t ask.

I’m getting off topic, here, sorry. SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. I found a nice little summary here. In a nutshell – winter time is harder, because I’m not getting enough sunlight. My depressive tendencies (year round) are made worse by the season.

Change in sunlight exposure is the key. The amount of day light exposure one receives and the changes in sunrise/sunset reducing the daylight hours in the fall and winter can affect suffers of S.A.D. The most commonly believed hypothesis follows: although the body has natural daily rhythms, they are not fully precise and rely on the intensity of sunlight to provide adjusting cues. These cues originate in the retina at the back of the eye, creating signals which pass through the optic nerve to the mid brain, setting in motion a number of chemical changes. These changes include:

  1. Increase in the neurotransmitter serotonin, necessary for a sense of well being.
  2. Regulation and suppression of the hormone melatonin, which is a factor in normal sleep patterns and may influence sleeps recuperative benefits.

Okay, so looking at myself, I definitely have a tougher time in winter than summer. I work inside (no window), but during the summer there is three hours of fairly strong daylight left after I leave work.

    Brightness Values

  • Candle light at 20 cm 10-15 Lux
  • Street light 10-20 Lux
  • Normal living room lighting 100 Lux
  • Office fluorescent light 300-500 Lux
  • Halogen lamp 750 Lux
  • Sunlight, 1 hour before sunset 1000 Lux
  • Daylight, cloudy sky 5000 Lux
  • Daylight, clear sky 10,000 Lux
  • Bright sunlight > 20,000 Lux

What can be done? Well, therapy may help some. (We’ll soon find out). There’s something called light therapy, a special box that emits a full spectrum light (similar to sunlight) that you can use to augment what you are getting.

I’m still learning about SAD, and about light therapy, and how the two relate. Sunlight triggers a response in your body, no doubt.

Here is a list of articles that I’ll be reading throught as time permits. Here is a site by Norman Rosenthal, MD who practices a range of therapies to deal with ‘winter blues.’

Skeptical? I always am. The glass is not only half full, the govt is about to take most of it so it can give a stimulus package to someone who doesn’t deserve it. But it seems worth looking into. I’ll write more when I learn anything useful.

By the way, I’ve sprinkled this post with links, if you’re like me and have a hard time sleeping? Have fun doing a little reading.

It can’t hurt.

4 thoughts on “Too bad, so SAD

  1. “The glass is not only half full, the govt is about to take most of it so it can give a stimulus package to someone who doesn’t deserve it.”

    We were talking last night about me potentially switching jobs to get off the road. I said it would probably entail a salary cut, to which my husband said, “No worries, it would help with the taxes, and we’d probably end up keeping more of what you bring home.” so, what I took from it is that I have been getting penalized for being somewhat successful, and it’s not likely to get better for me in this administration. Way to motivate.

    btw, glad you’re back to more regular posting. 😉

  2. Yay for baby steps! I made one today, I went to a therapist here. 🙂

    I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and doggone it, people like me!

  3. SAD Lights are a great source of relief for Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’ve just put up a bunch of reviews and videos relating to the topic so feel free to add me to your reading/watching list too!

  4. Winters in Finland are really dark, so SAD is not uncommon here. I don’t have depressive tendencies or SAD, but I feel the lack of light in my body every winter (we didn’t have much snow last winter and all that rain and darkness was truly awful).

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is that I’ve heard those SAD lights really help. We even have a couple of them at work. You’re supposed to use them a certain amount of time every morning during the winter, and I know people who really feel better because of them.

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