Sunday, February 02, 2014
My SAD Light
(so yeah, normally in February I am the red guy)
Last fall I bought a giant high-powered light for
treating Seasonal Affective Disorder. Prior to 2012, winter didn’t get me any bluer
than anyone else. But that winter my mood was complicated by some actual medical
problems I was having, and I became this sort of listless ghost of buried rage.
It was like the “before” part of a commercial for SSRIs. I figured things would
be better in 2013, because I had gotten on medications that were treating the
actual physical issues I was having, but no. Again, the listless shade
appeared. I would hover around the windows, turning my pale eyes upward into
the thin winter sunlight, while making grim pronouncements about the futility
of even breathing. Then we had an early spring – and all of a sudden, life,
which had previously been a sad trick played by an uncaring god, was all
BEAUTIFUL SINGING BLUEBIRDS.
(this guy is having an awesome time. Maybe it's the hat?)
I am not actually capable of remembering problems after they
are over, so once spring arrived and I was happy again, I sort of forgot I had
ever not been, and was prepared to go on just as before. But my husband does
not have my selective amnesia, and two years of Winter Slump spurred him to
action, researching SAD lights and then encouraging me to buy this crazy thing.
I say crazy not because it doesn’t work – I think it does – but because I’m not
sure that it should. The whole idea of turning a high-powered light on myself
in the morning for 20 minutes as an antidote to The Sads feels kind of like I’m
putting my faith in hippie tea and moonbeams. “Oh yes my chakras were out of
balance so now I put a lump of hematite in my belly button on Mondays and that
takes care of it.”
(I just can't deal with the chakra stuff.)
BUT ANYWAY. I started using it in October, mostly because
Jeff was convinced that my SAD was so powerful that we needed to get a head
start on it. Every morning I go through my emails under the influence of a contraption
somewhat reminiscent of my mom’s totally rad lighted makeup mirror from the 80s
(ooh, turn the knob for evening light!)
(do you remember this thing? It was so rad).
My SAD light is stupidly bright (it provides 10,000 "Lux", whatever a Lux is), and has that fluorescent, 7-11 at 3am quality – this is not balmy,
tropical sunshine. It would probably be the worst light ever to have in a dressing room, and it also doubles as a torture device if you are hungover in any way.
But it’s the second of February and I am feeling pretty much like a human being,
instead of a hollowed-out accumulation of anguishes. I haven't tried to suck all the joy out of anyone's life in, like, a year! So, regardless of whether it
ought to work, it does, and, bowing to American philosophical pragmatism, I will be keeping up my
(all your happy are belong to me. ME! Only ME! Sorry, the light has not cured me of being a jerk.)