Trying to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD light therapy visor

One of the many light therapy visors out there. I probably won’t look as handsome as this guy when I wear mine, but I don’t care. If it helps my SAD, it’s worth it.

‘Tis the time of year that I hate more than any other–Daylight Savings Time.

Yes, I’ll get an extra hour’s sleep on Sunday, and that’s nice. But, considering my mood swings that almost always come when the sun sets so early, I would gladly give up that one hour to avoid Daylight Savings Time all together. It’s a concern of mine, because my downward spirals have all occurred during times when there’s less sunlight.

I’ve always lived on the East Coast of the United States, but this didn’t really hit me until I moved to Boston 11 years ago. When I was growing up in Florida, the sun would set maybe a little after 6ish. But up here in New England, it’s pitch black at 5 p.m. And to me, there’s something inherently and absolutely WRONG about that. Some people find this hard to believe, but it’s been easier for me to adapt to the cold and snow than it has been for me to adapt to the early darkness. The bottom line with me is that I need lots of light, whether I’m indoors or outdoors.

The good news is that there are lots of light therapy options for those of us with SAD. Many of my friends have indoor light therapy lamps or light therapy boxes that are specially designed for people with SAD. The main issue for me, though, is the darkness outside. Years ago, I wore a light therapy visor with light that emits downward. That helped a lot, but people said that I looked ridiculous wearing it. You look like a coal miner. Are you planning on excavating the ground you’re walking on? Things like that. This made me very self-conscious. I stopped wearing the visor and threw it away.

Well, I’ve now gotten to the point where I don’t give a fuck if I look strange with these things on. I know who I am and I know what I need. I’m obviously not alone, because I’ve noticed an increasing market for this type of lighting. The other day, I discovered a company that makes winter head caps that have LED lighting. I immediately ordered one. It hasn’t arrived yet, so I don’t know if I can recommend it or not. But apparently, you can adjust the light so that you can get the rays you need, without blinding anyone walking with you or near you. This is my definition of “ingenious.”

So, with a deep sigh, I approach Daylight Savings Time once more. But at least I know that there are lots of products out there that can help me cope better than I have in the past. If any of you have discovered your own products or remedies for dealing with all the darkness–especially outdoor darkness–I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

Excuse the corny pun, but the more light that is shed on this subject, the better.

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