Sunday, January 26, 2020

SAD BUT IMPROVING

A friend of mine recently commented on how many months it is until Daylight Savings Time begins again and I was struck by how much I look forward to it, but had never thought to count the days until it returns.  And since there have been so many legislative changes in when it actually begins, I'm not sure I can actually tell you when it starts this year.  I think it's the end of March, but I could be wrong.  The fact that I didn't immediately consult my research assistant, Dr. Google (as my husband used to say), indicates the seriousness of the problem I have discovered when we are in Pacific Standard Time.  
I can remember being intrigued when I first learned about Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). As I understand it, SAD affects people who need more sunlight and therefore in the winter they are more likely to feel depressed or "SAD."  I know that on my husband's birthday, which is December 21, I can feel a lessening of the discouragement that I get as the days grow shorter and shorter, until on the Winter Solstice, minute by minute we get a little more light each day.  I can remember that when I worked in Manhattan, in the Empire State Building, after our Christmas to New Year's vacation, each evening when I came out of the office and noticed that it was getting lighter, my heart would lift and I would feel as if I had made it past the enemy forces once again.  
I have read that certain lights can help with SAD, and I actually bought a light that supposedly mimics daylight.  At first I had it in my bedroom so it would cheer me up as I was getting dressed in the morning.  Then I moved it to the kitchen so I could have it lift my spirits while I ate my breakfast and did my morning reflection.  Now it resides in my practice area where I put my French horn through its paces.  I'm not sure it actually makes a difference but maybe it's not really the right kind of light, not the therapeutic kind but just one that supposedly gives you some semblance of sunshine even on a cloudy day.
But I have noticed that if on one of these gray, damp January mornings that leaves me feeling as if I have no energy and no enthusiasm for anything, if the sun comes out, as it frequently does, and stripes the grass with light and cheer, I suddenly begin to make plans for the rest of the day and usually follow through.  My spirits improve, I'm no longer SAD, and I might even find the vim and vigor to find out when Daylight Savings Time will at last come to save me!  What a great surprise:  DST begins on March 8, much sooner than I expected.  Cue the fireworks!

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