How I treat my Seasonal Affective Disorder

It's getting darker earlier. There's Christmas stuff out at Costco. You know what that means? The flat, tired, disinterested feeling you may be starting to feel is seasonal depression — which all humans experience to one degree or another because of circadian rhythms, serotonin and melatonin. But the further you are from the equator, the more severe the symptoms. But you can treat it with a special light. 

The severe version, when diagnosed, is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). If you also have regular Depression the on top of this as I do, you must definitely arm yourself proactively. 

I knew I had the winter version but forgot how sensitive I was to any lack of sunlight until I moved from LA back to the Midwest. I forgot how bad it could get — until it did. 

I was diagnosed with S.A.D. in a study at University of Minnesota when I was 19 but was kicked out because my symptoms were so severe I was fucking up the control numbers. 

Anti-depressants work great for my "regular" depression but they didn't help with the increased symptoms from my seasonal affliction. My psychiatrist prescribed a light therapy lamp. I doubted it would do anything. IT TOTALLY FUCKING WORKED AND I WISH I'D USED IT ALL ALONG. 

But I had the right kind and used it the right way: 

  1. Light must be 10,000 Lux or more
  2. Start late September and stop in mid-March
  3. Use it 1-2 hours in morning if possible and at least 1-2 hours at night starting before it gets dark (I also leave it on throughout any cloudy or overcast day.) You're tricking your brain to thinking the day is longer. 
  4. IMPORTANT: Light must be 12-16 inches from face, just ABOVE eye level, and at a 45 degree angle off to the side—like the sun would hit your eyes if it were up (see photo). 
  5. Most of the cheap "SAD" lights aren't built to be used this way which sucks. They are angled up from below sitting on a desk and THIS DOES NOT WORK SO DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY
  6. You need a tall and adjustable one. The best I've found is the Theralite Aura Light Therapy Lamp. 

Ward off the inevitable. It was life-changing for me.

Standard model: Theralite Aura Bright Light Therapy Lamp

Deluxe model w/wireless phone charger, USB port & alarm clock: Theralite Aura Qi Light Therapy Sun Lamp