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It's that time of year!  Every year in the fall (for the Northern Hemisphere members), I like to remind everyone that the days are getting shorter and maybe you want to take some action to avoid slipping into the Black Pit.

If your doctor thinks it's a good idea, this might be the time to increase the dosage of your antidepressant.  If you use a light box, get it out and start using it.  If you don't take Vitamin D or fish oil, this might be the year you should try it.

Not all of us get SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but it is a serious issue.  If you find it harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning, or if your sleep pattern has become disrupted, or if you feel helpless/useless/hopeless, then depression is knocking on your door and you need to do something.  If you have a therapist, bring this up at your next session.  If you are being treated by a psychiatrist, go over your list of medications and talk about possible adjustments to help you get through the Dark Time.

If you know me at all, you know I will bug you to do the following:

1) Practice good sleep hygiene.  Try to go to bed at the same time every day.  No screens in the bedroom.  Try to have the same routine every night in terms of cleaning up, brushing your teeth, etc.  Keep a boring book on your night table if you can't sleep.

2) Try to get some exercise every day, preferably outdoors.  You will sleep better if you are physically tired, and many people find that outdoor exercise can lift their mood.  I'm not saying it's a cure-all, but it can help.

3)  Do your best to eat healthy, unprocessed foods.  If you only ingest junk, you will feel like junk.

Feel free to make your own suggestions. Let's fight the Darkness!

olga

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I forgot that one!  I used to put a full-spectrum bulb in my husband's overhead reading lamp.  It is great for reading and I think it helped him a lot.

olga

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We actually took down a heavy curtain in our living room where I sit a lot so now I get natural light. I was always keeping the curtain closed so taking it down was good for me. I didn't notice how much it helped until we put it back for a few days.

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Thanks, Olga, it's on my list for pdoc today to discuss. Never had it before, don't know if I'm starting now, but something's going on. I don't mind the leaves falling, or the shorter days, but this year the cold is affecting me differently, and it's only barely cool! I've been lashing out at my family, and generally staying annoyed. I'll keep an eye on this thread for suggestions. 

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I kinda feel guilty even bringing this up, because the fall and winter are my Happy Times.  I know that runs counter to the norm, but I always used to get depressed in the spring.  Part of that was being a gardener and farmer, and feeling overwhelmed by the work.  However, I am very sensitive to heat, and I live in a river valley that gets warm and humid, usually starting in May.  This year the heat lingered into September and I was ready to scream.

But now it's October and cool, and I feel like a human being again. I can tell I am feeling better when I start to worry about my CB friends. :)

I think day length has a huge impact on us, and people spend so much more time indoors in the winter.  If you stop going for walks because it's cold outside, try taking a walk around the circumference of a mall.  Or even a nice big Wally World.  If you can walk for 10 minutes three times a day, it can make a huge difference in your well-being.

If you have a slow cooker, get it out.  There are hundreds of soup and stew recipes for slow cookers on the internet.  If you can bring yourself to throw the ingredients into the thing and turn it on, you'll have a nice meal several hours later and probably some leftovers.  I'm all for making big quantities and freezing the leftovers so I have them for a night when I just don't feel like cooking.

Fall is also a good time to take a class.  Check into your local community college:  they might have some interesting Adult Ed classes for a nominal fee.  Our local one has everything from meditation to learning to sew to ballroom dancing.  Also check your library for free programs.  My local library has recently had 2-3 hour classes on decorating cupcakes, defensive driving, raising houseplants, and Origami.  My husband goes to free movies offered at the local college:  there is an Italian club and they show Italian movies once a week--free.

It's hard to make an effort when you feel so dragged-out and hopeless, but doing ANYTHING is better than nothing.

olga

 

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I don't know if I have SAD but my mood definitely tanks this time of year..... which is not good when starting from a low baseline. 

My doctor recently recommended trying a light box / light therapy........ has anyone here given it a go?  Prices seem to start from £40 right up to £££s. 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to add I have severe SAD. My only long term solution is to move where there's more light year-round. Meanwhile, the light box is great. Plus knowing when sunset is coming(there's apps for that or just go online)--it helps to know when the sun is coming and when it's leaving...kind of gives me a sense of mastery instead of being surprised by dark at 5pm.

Also, I'm finding my body wants to get up earlier now so it gets more daylight, then it crashes right after sunset. Makes me live old people hours but it is helping me be more sane than previously.

Oh also, I tend to need not just sun but BLUE skies...not that gray overcast shit. So I got the sunlamps that mimics blue sky light...helping alot! 

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Also, I'm finding my body wants to get up earlier now so it gets more daylight, then it crashes right after sunset. Makes me live old people hours but it is helping me be more sane than previously.

I think that is a great idea, to get up with the sun and go to bed when it gets dark.  Whatever works, right?

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