I’m a little more than two weeks into using my “happy light.”
As stated in the previous post, I started using the light at the direction of my mental health med doctor. I recently noted to her that I started feeling more anxious in the morning around late-October and was engaging in more negative self-talk since then at any point in the day. She asked if I had ever been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. I had around 20 years ago. (See the previous post for more information on SAD.) So she pointed out that there was increasing evidence that light therapy helps ratchet down Anxiety levels just as it has long been known to reduce Depression experienced during the months with less sunlight.
Within a week I started feeling better. Other than one semi-public melt-down, which Rebecca noted was only noticeable to me, my Anxiety levels are down, and I am experiencing an incredible reduction in negative self-talk.
So, what does treatment actually mean? For 20 – 30 minutes each morning, I sit in front of what’s called a full-spectrum light (it mimics the light of the sun). You don’t look directly in the light. Instead, you do some activity — read, eat breakfast, mess around on a laptop. The full spectrum light fakes your brain into thinking the sun is up earlier in the day and is bright, without which some people (like me) experience more Depression or Anxiety.
I know a number of people who been helped by using light therapy. I also know that many people fall out of the habit of using their happy light. Take it from me, even if you’re using meds and talk therapy to reduce your Depression and Anxiety levels, if you’ve suffered from SAD before, do a self-assessment. Are the winter months still more diffficult? If so, get in front of your happy light now.