Friday, January 25, 2008


Okay, while I refuse to “own” any real diagnoses, I have finally come to admit that I might suffer (at times) from a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). This is the condition where people get depressed in the winter, usually because they don’t get enough bright light or something like that. I have so far been in denial because I was somehow able to live (and enjoy living) in Seattle for almost 8 years, with seasonal problems only one of the winters. But after 2 winters here that have made me wonder “What was I thinking?!” nearly every week, it’s time to own it and do what I need to do to fix it, so I’m not dreading this season every single year. It has given me cause to reflect upon my time in Seattle, and I have discovered that for me, the frequent combination of bright light and water is powerful, and it is usually enough. I think this is why I never had problems in Seattle – because everywhere I lived, I had a bright heat-lamp in the bathroom, so when I was in the shower every morning with the bright light on, that was enough to keep me happy and therefore healthy. The only winter in Seattle that I had a rough time was the winter I lived in a place that did not have a heat-lamp in the bathroom.

So I move to SLC, and haven’t had that bright bathroom light. Last year was kind of a fluke…I had my “sunshine trip” to Cabo in December, and while the rest of the winter was rough (especially January!), I thought it was just my feelings about being here in Utah. The beginning of this winter was rough several times, not my best year, but once the initial shock was over (Sept-Oct sometime), I didn’t seem to have as many problems. Then I realized I was taking a water aerobics class at the U, and swimming in their pools with the glass roof, thus getting my sunshine in the water twice a week. That only went from the end of October to the beginning of December, and I’ve been struggling to keep my head on straight ever since. I didn’t realize what was happening until a couple of weeks ago, I’d had a particularly rough stretch at work, and was ready to come home and sit with my knees pulled up to my chest, staring at the wall, and perhaps hitting my head against it a few times, for my entire 2 days off until I had to go back again. My friend, Heidi, wanted to hang out one day, and we’d been meaning to go work out again, so I agreed to go swimming with her at a nice community center pool that we found – a lap pool with big windows to the outside. From the second I hit that water until I got out over an hour or so later, it was pure joy – the most I’d had in WEEKS!!! I finally felt alive again…and I realized that that is the secret for me…the combination of bright and water a couple of times a week. Of course a good thaw-out in some tropical destination every winter doesn’t hurt either!

The good news is that I finally feel alive again…now I just need to feel warm without a ton of clothes on!