Seasonal Affective Disorder

I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD. This means that when the days get shorter, my brain chemistry gets messed up and I become sad. I treat this by using a lightbox, which is a small box that puts out thousands of lumens of light. So what is SAD like for me? Does it mean that I’m just depressed? I can tell you, because generally in early September, the symptoms kick in.

  1. I get very irritable. PMS levels of irritability kick in, no matter where I am in my menstrual cycle. 
  2. I can no longer sleep through the night. I begin to wake up 2 or 3 times in a night, as in, wide awake and not a bit drowsy. 
  3. I cannot summon up the energy to get out of bed in the morning. Getting out of bed is the hardest thing I will do the entire day. If I can’t think of a good enough reason, I simply will not get up. Hearing my daughter call to me, the cats meow at me, even my husband talking to me is not enough. I crave sugar. If I can’t think of a way to get a giant amount of sugar into my body immediately upon rising, I will lay in bed. 

Not everyone with SAD is like this, of course. It’s a unique experience for everyone. I am fortunate, in that 20 minutes in the morning in front of my LED lightbox resolves all my symptoms. Within a week of light box usage, I am no longer irritable, no longer unable to get out of bed, and most importantly, sleeping through the night.

SAD is on top of my existing high levels of anxiety, which I currently treat with both medication, meditation, and talk therapy. Do I think I’m crazy? No. I think I’m healthy, but that I have to take action to maintain my mental health. Don’t let the ridiculous stigma attached to mental illness keep you from getting the treatment you need!

Similar Posts