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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cure for depression?

A thought struck me yesterday: I'm too busy to be depressed.

Not exactly the stuff of which great insights are made but it struck me like a bolt of lightning--or a bolt of sunlight.

See, I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder). Every summer, I watch the changing of the light with trepidation. I crank up the antidepressants in August so that I don't suddenly find myself in October barely able to crawl out of bed and screaming at my nearest and dearest when I do.

This year, however, I have revisions on one book due in a couple of weeks, the full of another due in mid-December and a job which is just part-time enough for me to forgo benefits (it's the American way!) but full-time enough to occupy most of the day. Oh, and my brother is coming from England to visit in November and my daughter graduates from college in December.... But I'm actually taking less medication than I was a year months ago. Some of it is because I'm a pharmaceutical cheap date and the smaller dose helps me keep my edge, both in writing and in snarky blogging etc.

There's also something that may have inadvertently helped the SAD, which I believe, in layperson's terms, is the brain not getting enough light and throwing the body's chemistry out of whack. People who suffer from it generally invest in light tables; I used to have a lamp that turned on at 4 a.m. every morning to fool my body into thinking it was still summer. My commute consists of taking the Washington DC area Metro (subway) and then waiting outside the station for a shuttle bus to take me the mile or so to work (yeah, I know, if I got up earlier I could walk it which would be even better). And while I wait, I face due east--the sort of squint-at-the-sun due east that hits me right in the eyes. And on the way home I walk back, due west, toward the setting sun. So I'm actually getting quite a lot of sunlight, and have been for over a year.

I'm not sure whether it's being busy or the fortuitous juxtaposition of the sun and public transport, or maybe I'm in a better place than I was a year ago, but I'm not complaining.



At 3:42 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

That's great that you're seeing an improvement. I have a couple of the lights for SAD, but I didn't have to use them anywhere near as much last winter. I bought them during the previous winter, aka The Winter of the Never-Ending Rain. :) I do think staying busy is a good way to combat it too. Sounds like you've got that covered.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Jennifer Smith/Ila Campbell said...

Since you and Trish had lamps, here's a question: What brand did you get? I have to invest in one of those this year. Last year I took a week in Thailand in therapy, but I'm not going to be able to afford that every year!


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