Hello November. Goodbye Sunlight.
The day of the year I dread more than most the day the clocks go back and this year that was on 28th October, I didn’t mind the extra hour in bed, or that day, in general. It was a pretty good Sunday, but the loss of light which was ahead was stuck in my head. Knowing that it wouldn’t be until March when those long nights became longer days all over again. Sat my desk that day, knowing when I started it was only just getting light and when I finish the light will be completely gone. Limiting myself to going out in the evenings because the dark is something I fear. The person I become not having those extra hours of light struggles through the next few months. SAD also is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression which comes and goes throughout a seasonal pattern. Most of us struggle with change which is out of our control, but this goes deeper than that. The change for most of us who struggle with SAD is unbearable. The lack of light makes us a shadow of who we were in the summer. SAD doesn’t just affect people who struggle with the winter months, it can be the same for the summer months too.
Seasonal Affective Disorder brings out the worst parts of our depression and there’s nothing we can do about it. For me personally, it makes me want to hide out in my bed a lot more, as the idea of going outside is not something I want to contend with. Getting up and going to work seems to become more of a struggle each and every day. The energy I had in the other 5 months of the year, zapped from within me. Looking forward to the months of being able to open the curtains and feel happy to be awake. SAD can often make us feel like we want to hibernate and not see our friends, not go out, and finding it hard to sleep at night and then almost impossible to stay awake in the light. One of my bad bouts involved me failing to sleep at night due to constantly waking up, then sleeping all day until it was dark again. I think I went 4 days without seeing any natural light and it made me feel so ill, but I couldn’t overcome it.
Despite this, Christmas is still one of my favourite times of the year, and this is something which helps me to get through those really bad days. The upcoming excitement of the streets being covered in lights, a huge tree making its way to the middle of the town, my house is filled with bright and quirky ornaments and of course the best Christmas songs and films around. The spirit of people coming together churns out some of the people who has been hiding inside. I find it a lot easier to cope on days when I feel like I have things to look forward to, and as much as I hate to admit it on the days when I eat better, I do feel the benefit. Taking those daily vitamins is a great way to boost your mood from within also, I often don’t realise how much they do for me until I stop taking them. Vitamin C and D are my best friends for giving me an extra boost.
Until recently I had suffered in silence about Seasonal Affective Disorder and when a work friend and I started to discuss how every single morning at work felt like we had to wade through water whilst feeling like we have weights on our ankles which was pulling us back down, no matter how hard we tried to stop it. He told me about SAD lights and what a difference they make to each day, this is called light therapy. Most light boxes emit 10,000 lux, which boosts the serotonin in your brain and helps you cope day to day during these times For someone who didn’t even know these existed, it was a huge relief to learn such things are available in these bad times. This year, I’ve started to research in purchasing my own lightbox. Sad.uk who sell these lights also have a huge section of information on their site about the different types of lightboxes you can get to suit your lifestyle as well offering information on SAD itself, which can be useful to share with friends and family. Sad.uk also recommend getting light in as early as possible to boost your energy throughout the day.
For now, until the sun returns for another summer ahead, I will try to make the most of the light around me, whether that is real, or artificial. It all makes a difference.