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Light box and BP


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I have bipolar 2. I tried a light box for 30 minutes once and it made me feel really anxious and agitated. It's interesting, cause when the days get really long in the summer, I get super anxious, restless and energetic. It feels like a more dysphoric version of my hypomanias. I dunno if it's truly hypomania though. I should ask my pdoc. Anyway, I understand being hesitant. Can you ask your pdoc what they think? 

 

I certainly think light has something to do with my illness. Decreased light seems to make me depressed. There's no pattern to my hypomanias (that we can recognize anyway), but I do get mildly depressed every November like clockwork, then have a major depressive episode every three years in November. Very interesting!

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I use a light box first thing in the morning, but not every day. I only use it for about 15 minutes on high, and then I get up and get ready. It helps me some. However, I tend towards mania in the winter and depression in the summer, so take from that what you will.

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I have one, I use it during the mornings and it does help with low energy (not really with low mood). If I use it too much, especially in the late afternoon, I get trouble sleeping and get very agitated. The first few days I used it too much (the whole day) and I was bouncing of the walls out of nowhere, I went from mild depression to hypo within 12h, it was quite absurd. I'd say start slowly and monitor your mood/energy.

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I'm SZA but my pdoc said I could use one for depressive episodes. He said to start off slow then slowly increase time under it.

I never did try one as I didn't have enough money to get one. Plus the thought of it inducing mania scares the crap outta me.

But as you can see, people here do use them and have success. I'm just being too afraid.

I hope it helps you out. Good luck!

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my light box came with the same warning.  my pdoc still wanted me to try it, and instructed me to start slow (maybe ten minutes a day for the first week, then increase by ten minutes the next week, etc.).  it didn't do much for me last winter, but i'm going to find mine and start trying again this week (i'm on different meds now, maybe that'll make a difference).  i hope it works well for you.

 

(ETA: i am probably not BPI, more like BPII, but the jury's still out on that)

Edited by lysergia
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  • 2 weeks later...

I get hypo or dysphoric after a few days. Before my remission when I used it, it seemed to do squat. I gave mine to my best friend (BP !) after I realized I wasn't going to use it anymore, and she uses it erratically, but has not had problems.

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I love my lightbox but like other people said you have to figure out what works for you.  One of my old pdocs told me to use it everyday for 30-45 mins preferably around 4.  I don't do that.  I either hook it up on my elliptical and have it on for 30 mins while I work out.  Or I sit with it.  But mostly earlier in the day than 4.  I have the most success with it on mornings in a depression when it is gray outside.  Ugh.  I sit down in front of it with my tea and feel better.  I just do.  It is one of the only ways I can sort of activate myself and get my brain down with the idea that it is daytime.  

 

I read somewhere that we Bipolar people should try to get our faces in the sun as soon as possible in the morning.  Well when there is no sun, I use the box.  It doesn't work any magic in terms of keeping me stable or anything like that but I think it helps regulate me to a certain extent.  It has never made me feel anything other than slightly uplifted in a depression.  If it is very sunny and I spend a lot of time outside I make sure I don't use it.  I think the idea is, like some people said, to try to get a steady amount of light everyday throughout the year.   

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That is the exact same model I just purchased from Amazon but have not taken it out of the box yet. Putting that warning in the product description on the website would have been nice. My last therapist strongly recommended one last year when the time changed (I have a strong reaction to the time change) but I never did anything about it.  I guess I will give it a try in small doses and see what happens.

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