I was having dinner with a friend, sharing some new and exciting dishes I had just learned to prepare. We talked about food for a long while, but the topic turned to a more serious subject. My friend had been recently diagnosed with SAD and was quite concerned. He had serious symptoms like depression, low energy, excessive sleep, and loss of interest in life and poor concentration. He wondered if he would be stuck with them forever, impairing his ability to function at home and work effectively. Not knowing much about the condition, I wanted to do some research after which I would accompany him to his follow-up appointment with his doctor.
He was worried about getting good care for SAD as this odd illness is relatively rare and unknown. I told him it happens mostly in the winter and in countries with short days certain times of the year. It is seasonal, so maybe it will go away in the spring. He felt better as he remembered that when living in California, he felt blue in spring during May and June gloom. There is a lot of overcast weather near the beach, even if you live inland within ten miles. Listening to his doctor describe the treatment, I felt there was cause for optimism. He seems to know a lot about SAD and how to bring it to its knees. You fight it first and foremost with light therapy. You set a light box to a certain intensity of light and program it for a designated time of exposure, say a half hour or more in the morning. In talking about why he selected a certain model, I felt that he had my friend’s best interests at heart. He was not lacking in knowledge.
My friend began treatment and kept a log of his moods for two weeks. We then went back to the doctor to get an assessment. The physician was pleased that he was less irritable and had improved mood and energy. The depression that often accompanies SAD was diminishing, knowing that a cure was around the corner. He felt better knowing that I agreed that he was getting the best care possible. Suddenly, we noticed that other people were talking about the condition and sharing their confusion about how it related to clinical depression. More needs to be uncovered about the causes and treatment and information should be disseminated to help people who don’t know they suffer from SAD. My friend and I agreed to write blogs about it and share it on Facebook to make sure it reaches the masses. You don’t have to live in Finland to be a victim.
I learned something new and believe that sharing experiences will help others find a solution. Light therapy is the best treatment and it is easy to do on your own. You can add psychological counseling at first if you need it to start the process of healing.