Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Are You SAD, Down, Blue?

posted by Linda Mintle

Feeling down and blue? Has the gloom of winter gotten you? The sky is cloudy and dark. You feel tired, unable to concentrate, want to eat, crave carbohydrates, and feel like being alone. It’s hard to get out of bed. You feel irritable, anxious and down. It seems like winter will never end. All you can think about is sitting in the sun somewhere in the Caribbean. Actually this is not such a crazy thought. You, like 35 million Americans, may be affected by winter depression. The “winter blues” has a name, “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)”. It usually begins mid October and ends around April. It’s real and treatable.

Most sufferers of SAD are women in their 30’s (although the disorder affects others including children). SAD is a form of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. The farther north you live, the greater your chance to be one of 10 million diagnosed or 25 million suffering some symptoms of SAD. Why? Because during winter, people in the Northern states get half as much sunshine as those in the South. People with SAD need more light. During late fall and winter, days shorten which means less sunlight. In some cases less daylight can activate depression. So what can you do to stop being an irritable or depressed family member? Move to Florida? You could but there is a cheaper and easier solution.

Treatment for SAD is surprisingly simple. Get more light. The theory here is that light therapy regulates brain chemistry. When light interacts with the eye through the optic nerve, things happen to affect mood. In very simple terms, light  increases brain chemicals that help depression.

Some people are helped more by using intense light in the mornings, while others respond to increased light anytime of the day. There are commercial lighting devices and florescent light boxes. Some insurers will even reimburse you for the light devices. Or you can try 30 minutes of morning light by walking outside, sitting under a fluorescent light while watching TV, reading, etc. However, you shouldn’t  stare into a light source. You’ll only get a headache! Just do a normal activity with the light in your field of vision.

You should be careful not to self-diagnose SAD because you may confuse symptoms with other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. And if you suffer from severe depression you should consult a mental health professional. Light won’t hurt you but it may not help either.

Isn’t it amazing that a source of God’s creation–light, can improve mood? Remember the Sunday School song, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine?”  Don’t hide it under a bushel like the song exhorts. Let it shine.  Let it shine. Let it shine!



Previous Posts

Have You Found Your Soul Mate?
People tell me in therapy that they have or want to find their soulmate.  I'm really not sure what that means. Murray's new book, The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead defines  soulmate as your closest friend to whom you are sexually attracted. I like this definition because of the importanc

posted 7:00:17am Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Should You Marry Young?
Friends of ours married off their son when he just turned 21. Another is getting married at 20 and hey, I was married at 19! Yes, I know, that is really young. But is marrying young a good idea? Well, for me it obviously worked. I'm about to celebrate 40 years of marriage this year. Yes, we ha

posted 7:00:59am Apr. 21, 2014 | read full post »

The Hope of the Resurrection
It’s Good Friday. Do you sometimes feel as if your life is lived  in a perpetual Good Friday mode? Like the movie, Ground Hog Day, it seems you are replaying the same bad day over and over, fighting despair and struggling. Disease, broken relationships, prodigal children...the landscape looks

posted 7:00:41am Apr. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Honey, Do Your Know Where My Glasses Are?
It's a running joke in our house. Where are mom's glasses? Mom, that would be me, is constantly putting them down and forgetting where they are! I don't think it is an aging thing because the misplaced glasses have been misplaced for years. Oh and this happens to my cell phone on a regular basis

posted 7:00:14am Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

It's Tax Day But How Is Your Emotional Bank Account Doing?
Yes, today is tax day and many of you will make that last minute run for the post office before midnight! Why? Because you don't want to be penalized by the federal government. But what about your emotional bank account?  Do you need to make more deposits when it comes to your relationships? An

posted 7:00:26am Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.