Ok, it's SAD...

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merelle
New Member


Date Joined May 2004
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/27/2005 9:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi All,  I'm new to this depression forum, but I've posted previously with the migraine gang.  Been away for a while, but I plan to visit regularly again.
 
After reading an artical on my local online server, it's was blasted to my attention that my ongoing slight depression is SAD (as well as dealing with being a migraineur).   Always called it the winter blues and just hung in there like so many waiting for the sun and warmth to finally arrive again.  Being familiar with HealingWell, I immediately went to this site and found you all.  I plan to follow through with a light box (hope they work) and a visit to my doc for some meds.  I've been on soooo many antidepressants already as preventatives for migraines, but perhaps I'll try some much higher doses this time around. 
 
I'm a happy wife and mom of three teens, and I want my healthy spirit back full time!  I hope to return to my active "summer" life sooner this time and permanently!
 
Anyway, looking forward to reading all the posts here for some sharing, experiences, and the like.  tongue
 
~ merelle
 
 
 

snohare
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 2088
   Posted 2/27/2005 8:44 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Merelle !  eyes   Sorry to hear that you have more than one type of headache...  tongue

The good news is that there are quite a lot of different therapies for SAD, so there should be one that will make some difference at least, even if you don't have exactly the same energy levels as you'd like.

Some people prefer to have a blast of light from a light box early on in the day, as a "zeitgeber" (an artificial dawn that resets your daily biorythmns and sleep/wake cycle). My personal experience of this is that I had to be careful of how much time I spent next to the light - I had it on the breakfast bar - as if I let other errands take me away from it too much I had no good of it, but too much and I would either become very irritable or very sleepy ! So prior to work I had to force myself to sit down and read for thirty minutes, but no more than forty at the most.

That's my experience, but I am extremely sensitive to sunlight levels - I get SAD about as bad as you can get it, a week's rainy weather in mid-summer will trigger it for me.

The other ways of getting your sunlight time are via the "artificial dawn" type alarm clocks, that wake you with gradually increasing levels of bright light, and full spectrum light bulbs and flourescent tubes fitted to normal household or office lights. Because the effects are very much dependent on what distance you are from the light source - a difference of even twenty centimetres makes a big difference - if using full spectum light fittings other than in a light box, you will probably need to have them on all the time. I know that you can get full spectrum office lamps from The Sharp Edge for $99; I don't know about prices for bulbs, fluorescent tubes or light boxes, but I hear they are always getting lower.

There are also LED visors which are rather like battery powered baseball caps; they have a series of differently coloured lights on the underside in front of your eyes, and because the different wavelengths of light are all reaching your eyes at the same time they trigger the same neurological effect, even though the source looks very different to sunlight.

Failing all that, you can always do what I used to do, work outside, or spend a lot of time up amidst snowdrifts that recycle all the available UV....but I don't recommend it really !  (Although it does have advantages if you like ski-ing. smurf )

I spent years - a decade to be precise - trying hard to survive an unholy combination of Crohn's Disease and SAD - before I finally managed to get enough money to buy a light box. (The manufacturer had an payment by installments plan.) Thanks to that I gained enough energy to work full-time for the first time in years, and although my mood was still sometimes poor and my energy limited I never looked back. Eventually I gave up using the light box when I found Prozac did the same job for me more effectively and conveniently, as well as helping with my CD, but until the light box I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

Where I live - the North East of Scotland - the prevalence of SAD is considered to be almost the maximum possible (10%) and so many people have Sub-Syndromal SAD (yes, SSSAD !  eyes )that the standard home-grown treatment is a winter holiday away somewhere sunny for a couple of weeks. This "top-up" works for a lot of folk, so you never know, you might be lucky...fancy the Bahamas..? cool


merelle
New Member


Date Joined May 2004
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/28/2005 8:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Snohare!  :-)
 
Thanks for all your information!  I can certainly understand living N/E of Scotland why SAD would be so prevalent. I've already started some researching of those lightboxes, bulbs, etc. online.  Those visors sound interesting .... haven't seen anything on those, yet. 
 
I can understand your sensitivity to the "right" amount of light, even during your summer.  As wonderful and healthy sunshine is for us, I actually get a migraine from too much "piercing" sunshine - similar to your mentioning that you get sleepy or irritable with too much.  Such delicate systems some of us have indeed. 
 
Glad to hear "ol reliable" Prozac works for you and that you've found relief from the CD and SAD.  I can't wait to choose the light source best for me and get my prescription for an anti-D.   Bahamas isn't a bad idea either yeah !
 
  tongue  thanks ~ merelle

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 3/1/2005 1:54 AM (GMT -7)   
merelle,

I was diagnosed by my doctor with SAD two years ago and she said, "Do you just want to eat pasta and hibernate?" She understood because she has it. People of northern European ancestry have it because they adapted during the ice ages to eating stored grains over the long dark winters and the increase of carbs induced more sleep. Carbs elevate seratonin levels and help with sleep. The ones who survived the ice ages were fully adapted to sleeping a lot in a state of semi-hibernation, not hunting a lot in the extreme cold. Hunting used up more energy than the amount of food aquired supplied so they used more grains in their diet.

I got a happy lite on e-bay for about $150 U.S. Doctor started me on 4 hours a day because the amount of lumens you receive is dependant upon how far you are from your light. When I find I have forgotten to use it in my office or at the work bench at my bakery I will find myself dragging around like the walking dead. Usually it gets bad enough that a nap is necessary but the light will work through your eyelids while you sleep if it's right next to your face. The best thing about the light is how much it alters your energy levels. The first winter I got it I ripped out the bathroom floor and installed ceramic tile, was cleaning carpets, cleaning closets.. it was wonderful!

Now my fibromyalgia is a bit more intense but the light is still a wonder for me. It's my new buddy. Good luck with your SAD.
~ Jeannie

"As one goes through life one learns if you don't paddle your own canoe you don't move."
-Katherine Hepburn


merelle
New Member


Date Joined May 2004
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/1/2005 5:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jeannie,
 
Thanks for the encouraging words about a sunlight therapy.  I've been researching it on the web and have found interesting information.  I think I would find help  from those dawn simulator types because I have so much trouble waking when it's dark out.  I would also benefit greatly with a tabletop one next to my computer desk.  I'll keep researching .... Cost surely becomes a factor. 
 
Actually, even folks without SAD would benefit from one of these!  I'm thinking of also using it as an aid to waking my teen son up for school - always a task!
 
Sorry to hear that your fibromyalgia got more intense recently.  I've read how difficult that is to deal and live with.  I have a friend who suffers from CFS, which I'm told is linked to fibromyalgia.  Hopefully, you'll find relief soon. 
 
Thanks so much! ~ merelle
 

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 3/6/2005 11:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Merelle,
You're sweet... but fibro doesn't get better, we just get better at coping with it. But, hey, I can walk and drive and do lots of things if I budget my energy. And there are lots more people out there with worse problems..

About the light therapy... I do know people who have used 'tanning beds' as a treatment as well. They feel better after a few minutes of time each day. Do you have any tanning salons in Scotland?
~ Jeannie

"As one goes through life one learns if you don't paddle your own canoe you don't move."
-Katherine Hepburn


merelle
New Member


Date Joined May 2004
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 3/7/2005 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jeannie,
 
Ooops, sorry, I confused fibromyalgia with polymialgia. My mom slowly recovered from the poly. years ago, although she had difficult side affects from the medication.
 
I live on Long Island, USA, not Scotland.  I've heard the tanning bed salons do help, and we have many of them here.  I ordered a sunlamp product online and I should have it in about a week.  I hope I have success like you've had with your Happy Lite. 
 
Actually, the sun is up earlier and the days are longer here now anyway.  I'm still glad I ordered the light though, because I plan to use it year round.   I'm sure my entire family will benefit from the mood and energy boost it will (hopefully) provide.
 
You mentioned your doctor has you on four hours of "treatment" per day, which must be difficult.  I'm assuming you have the type with a far distance range so you can have it on at your bakery whilst you create. Do you find you use yours year round?
 
~ merelle
 
 
 
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