Pretty much when the fall begins each year, I dig way back into the depths of my closet and drag out the Day Light ClassicTM: Natural and Effective Bright Light Therapy. Do I have seasonal affective disorder—SAD as it is more commonly known? I don’t know. I do know that I really hate when the days get shorter and the weather gets colder and darkness outlasts the light.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.
Moody? Me? Moody? Ok, maybe I’ll admit to that. I certainly wouldn’t classify myself as depressed. In pretty much any season. I simply self-medicate with chocolate and find it to be quite effective.
That’s why it’s pretty inexplicable that each morning, for about 20 minutes beginning sometime in the fall and ending sometime after Day Light Savings time kicks in (oh happy day!), I rev up the Day Light ClassicTM. I always use the super daylight setting rather than the regular daylight setting, under the assumption that more is better.
My family and friends are endlessly fascinated with my Day Light ClassicTM. I’m not sure if it’s because of the stylish design—in a 2001: A Space Odyssey retro sci-fi kind of way—or because I attract people who have varying degrees of depression, but only in a seasonal way.
I’m starting to suspect that this light does nothing. Quite honestly, I don’t even think I experience a placebo effect. I notice no difference on the days I forget to use it and the days I don’t. Or even the years I forget to use it. (There is a lot of junk in my closet. I have no idea what’s in there. I must clean it out someday.)
Now that I’m writing this all down, I realize that a little more research is in order. I return to the Mayo Clinic site and learn that the major symptoms of SAD include oversleeping, appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, and weight gain. Hey, wait a minute! Doesn’t that make me a healthy mammal? One who enjoys a jolt of extra-strong sunshine with her morning coffee to be sure, at least in fall and winter.
Happy Autumnal Equinox!