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Sun Deprivation and Depression

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  • Sun Deprivation and Depression

    Hi, folks, I'm writing from very grey NW Pennsylvania. I am so depressed because after five months, we still have not seen the sun. There has ensued a lot of sickness, especially because I have a child who is at germfest- errr.. I mean school- so we've been trapped inside for far too long. I feel like I am actually losing my mind. I tried running in the snow, which helped a little, but it's hard to be active when you've been sick, or can't go out because your child is. Though, I have bundled her up, even with pnuemonia, and taken walks in sub-zero temps. Now it is "spring" and hasn't stopped raining in a month.

    I'm seriously looking to move. I can't take it any longer. Anyone else on the brink?
    Woman, Artist, Wife, Visionary, Mother, Gardener, Daughter, Tea-drinker, Friend, Believer.

  • #2
    What about light therapy in addition to getting out as much as you can in the inclement weather? Also, are you supplementing Vitamin D/have you had your Vitamin D levels checked?

    I live in CA now, but I did 11 years in Seattle, so I can definitely relate. I definitely had to get outside (no matter how bundled up) on every day with some sun, even if it was just walking a few blocks to the store, being outside was restorative. And it was my doc in Seattle who first turned me on to Vitamin D supplementation - after she'd seen legions of patients who were chronically deficient.
    "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

    My primal log


    • #3
      I live further north and I get depressed every winter.

      2 things I have found that have helped.

      I have a SAD light, and I use it in the winter. I use it at other times if I feel down due to the grayness and lack of sun. 20 minutes of close exposure once a day is enough to make a big difference.

      I also tan. I know that not everyone agrees with this, but up here (57th parallel) we don't get much sun, and in the winter when it is -25C there is no way I am going out with bare skin to get whatever bit of sun I can. I don't tan a whole lot, but I tried it once years ago, and somehow, it makes me feel good, whether I stay white or get darker.

      A joyful heart is good medicine

      He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

      Mmmmm. Real food is good.

      My Journal:


      • #4
        Oh yeah, I haz it. I'm in NYC. The rain today is the last straw. I don't know what to do. I take tons of Vit D but it's not enough.


        • #5
          Originally posted by JKC View Post
          I have a SAD light, and I use it in the winter. I use it at other times if I feel down due to the grayness and lack of sun. 20 minutes of close exposure once a day is enough to make a big difference.
          Oh, that reminds me of the other thing I did when I lived in Seattle. In winter I rigged my bedside lamp up to a timer (one of the cheap ones that you use for turning lights on and off when you're not home) so that the light would come on a few minutes before my alarm. It helped me with the struggle to wake up in the short winter days when the mornings were dark till well after I needed to be up. There are fancier ones that will turn the light on gradually, etc., but this was a pretty effective cheap hack that got my day off to a better start.
          Last edited by ennasirk; 04-23-2011, 01:57 PM.
          "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

          My primal log


          • #6
            You don't need to move, you just need to supplement vitamin D, start with minimum 2000IU per day, but initially might try as high as 5000IU for 2-4 weeks, preferably from high quality gel capsules. I would combine this with liquid cod liver oil supplement (carlson's recommended) 1 tsp per day which provides highly bio-available vitamin A and omega-3's. Vitamin A & D work together in many ways, its next to impossible to get toxicity from vitamin D while taking the two together prevents toxicity (based on many sources, particularly Chris Masterjohn but also Dr. William Harris and Drs Jaminet and several others). Forget vitamin D from normal multi-vitamins, you don't get nearly enough that way, the USDA RDA is the barest minimum to prevent rickets, not anything else vitamin D helps. Omega 3's from fish oil seem to help mood too based on some sources I saw (and it helped me too).

            The upshot is, I myself was regularly having seasonal affective disorder for years and everything depressive and mood related from lack of sun, the seasons, etc... cleared up within weeks by taking those 2 supplements. If you aren't getting your vitamin D due to lack of sunshine (and its hard to get any vitamin D from sunshine that far north) then you need to supplement. Those two supplements will change your life (I never got much out of multi-vitamins but I noticed major differences from doing those ones right). I started taking these supplements long enough apart I could gauge their affect and they definitely work well together.


            • #7
              I actually like the winter and the cold crisp bright days. This weather with its penetrating dampness and incessant gray is really starting to get to me. Another week or ten days and I might take an unscheduled vacation to someplace hot. Too bad my sister left Phoenix. (currently 88)
              Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.


              • #8
                I think light therapy and some UVB bed tanning sessions can help. My sis gets SAD (she lives in N. Michigan up at the 45th parallel) and the tanning helps her. Also, indoor lighting is important- make sure you have nice lighting- not all overhead as the ambiance of that can be weird and depressing if you're sensitive to lighting (like I am). Use full spectrum bulbs which have a more blue spectrum of light and mimic daylight better. Put on uplifting music. Better lighting and good music have a profound affect on me during long rainy stretches.

                You might also consider some supplements for neurotransmitter support. SAD often has a serotonin deficiency component to it. Here are some articles that give symptom profiles of neurotransmitter deficiencies:
                Neurotransmitter Deficiency and Excess Symptoms