As it is, here in central Maine, the sun comes up over the horizon around 7am and it's dark by 4:30 pm. I am SO glad that I do not live even further north, because the days are even shorter and because then I would be in Quebec and my French is atrocious at best. However, if I did live in Quebec, I would definitely live in old Quebec City - probably in the basement of Le Chateau Frontenac because I'm sure we couldn't afford housing in the old city. Mulletman and I would make our living strolling the streets and singing/playing guitar for our supper. Naturally we would continue to homeschool.
Um...What was I talking about? Oh yes, S.A.D. The symptoms of S.A.D. include depression, hopelessness, the desire to sleep too much, cravings for excess carbs, lack of energy, lack of motivation, difficulty completing tasks, and an inability to find enough chocolate to make it all better. Some folks even get suicidal, but I think they all live in Quebec.
I had all the symptoms except the suicideal tendencies. I told one friend about it and she seemed totally shocked. "You don't SOUND depressed," said she. I reminded her that I am an actress and I am a sanguine. Sanguines compartmentalize quite well and can buoy up into a bubbly fountain of cheer even in the midst of darkness, at least they can in short spurts. But once they are off the stage (either literally or figuritively) they melt into self-focused, teary, unproductive messes.
So I did a bunch of research (ie. I read info on 2-3 websites) and made some interesting discoveries. One is that my PLME (Polymorphous Light Eruption) and my S.A.D. are probably related. Mulletman and my FIL, as well as my MIL and my BIL are all related too, but that's another story entirely.
The PLME started 2 summers ago. If I was out in the sun for any length of time, I broke out in a nasty, itchy, yucky, stupid rash wherever my skin had been exposed. Some folks call it a sun allergy, though that's not strictly true. This meant that Groovy had to do some serious covering up to go outside which, in turn, means Groovy made virtually no natural vitamin D. This was/is a major bummer because Groovy likes to ride her bike OUTSIDE (Can you imagine?) and she likes to hike and garden. Now she could only do those things, in the SUMMER mind you, whilst wearing pants, long sleeves, tons of sunscreen, and big ugly hats. Yes, Maine is cold in the winter, but - and I know this comes as a shock to you folks from away - it gets quite hot and humid in the summer.
How comfy and festive. (I'm not complaining here, just reporting.)
(Well, OK, I AM complaining just a little!)
So, no sun in the summer. And then, no sun in the winter. That's enough to make ANYONE SAD!
Now I'm making a 3-pronged attack on the S.A.D.: I take St. John's Wort from October through March, I am now taking supplemental D3, and last week we bought a $250 Therapy Light.
Each morning, shortly after I rise, I sit in front of the light for 20-30 minutes for my Light Therapy. It's slightly above my eye level and it gives off 10,000 lux of joy and happiness and energy. While I'm sitting I either read or work on the computer. The first couple of days it just seemed to make me agitated, but after that I noticed the agitation went away. After only 9 days I am waking up easily and fairly clear-headed. I'm not falling into the horrible slump of doom after lunch. (Though I am occasionally falling off of ladders!) I have considerably more energy and more motivation to start and complete tasks, I'm much better able to keep up with the girlies and their schoolwork and housework and writing. I am noticeably more cheerful! I'm not wanting to crawl into bed at 8pm. I'm not teary all the time and I'm finding it easier to NOT be self-focused. I'm not glaring at the phone every time it rings.
Folks, what I'm saying is, THE LIGHT, SHE WORKS!
Now I have to work on my other health theory. I've been taking St. John's Wort, like I said, from October through March every year for the past four years. St. John's Wort can make you sensitive to the sun. What I'm wondering is if the herb has altered my body chemistry so that I am STILL sensitive to the sun in the summer when I am not taking it. If so, then I have started my own vicious cycle: Feel moderate depression in winter, take St. John's Wort. St. John's Wort increases my sun sensitivity in summer, so I finally have to avoid the sun altogether. This in turn decreases my vitamin D and increases my winter depression, necessitating more St. John's Wort and lights that cost way too much money.
Hmmm....Now that the light seems to be helping I may taper off the herb just to see. Maybe I'll substitute chocolate instead!
Whoa...Is that ME, or what?????