Thursday, September 18, 2008

Afraid of the dark

It's been real nice having the weather cool down a bit lately. I can take my dog for a walk in the middle of the day if I want, instead of having to go first thing in the morning or wait until the sun starts to go down. (He's got a black fur coat - it would be kinda cruel to walk him when it's hot - not to mention that it wouldn't be too pleasant for me either.)

Still, with the cooler weather comes an earlier sundown and a later sunrise. I joked on my blog some time ago that I worshipped Helios, the sun-Titan who carries the sun across the sky in his chariot (a theory that I want taught in science classes). While I obviously don't actually do that, there is a hint of truth in it since I basically need a certain amount of sunlight a day in order to feel normal.

I've never been a fan of cloudy and rainy weather, but as I've been getting older, it's been getting harder on me. Last year was particularly bad, but that's because I was dealing with a lot of other things. This year though, I'm determined to not let it get me down. While it's hardly a "green" solution, I think that I'm going to leave at least a few lights on in my house. The thing is, I'm okay while I'm at work, but the depression starts to sink in when I come home to a dark house. (I should also leave the blinds open.) Hopefully with that, I'll eleviate a bit of that winter funk.

Also, I recently bought a Playstation 3. I'm not a big video game guy, but I have three games right now: Rock Band, Guitar Hero III, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I tend to stew on my problems a lot, and I'll find myself brooding on things that have happened or things that I'm worried about. The nice thing with video games is that they tend to distract me and keep my mind from spinning. So, that's one more thing for me to do that'll help save me from my winter slump.

Or maybe I can try praying to Helios. Perhaps he'll shift the axis of the Earth for me. After all, that wouldn't be the dumbest idea for a prayer I've ever heard.


Dan said...

I know what you are going through. The same thing happens to me every time around Sept/October. I noticed this started to happen maybe 5 or 6 years ago. Believe me, I have run the gamut of therapies that are available.
Let me tell what I tried over the years and maybe some of this will be helpful for you.
At first the problem affected me so much I went to the doctor and got on an antidepressant. That helped out quite a bit (suppossedly by raising seratonin levels in the brain), but over time I believe your brain becomes acclimated (or something like) and the effectiveness is much less (not to mention they make you gain weight which is also bad).

Also, there are "alternative" remedies that claim to raise and maintain your seratonin levels (herbal-based remedies like Saint John's Wort); you just have to try those yourself to see if they help because everyone is different. The alternative therapies were minimally helpful for me.

I think there is a lot to the theory of light deprevation. When we built our house, I designed it to have a lot of recessed lighting and a lot of windows. You may consider installing some extra track/recessed lighting in your living area if there is not enough -- more anti-"green".

One other thing that has helped quite a bit is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Depression a lot of the time is self-perpetuated, so getting control of your thoughts is key. CBT basically is a way of breaking the bad habit of negative or destructive thoughts (these thoughts are not always conscious ones). When you consciously learn to think more positively, the unconscious eventually learns. Do a Google on this if you don't already know about it. This I believe could be very helpful with your worrying or stewing on your problems. Also, don't worry about the coming months -- just the anticipation of it may be getting you down as well.

The BEST thing you can do I found is eat very healthy. For quite a while now I have been eating pretty good -- that means no sugar soda at all, low fat, and low salt. Also, if I eat smaller meals during the day and when eating dinner, don't stuff myself. I find the more energy I have, the less anxious I feel, which makes me feel more "up"

Anyway, hope some of this helps you out a bit... Just give me your insurance Id # and I will bill them... :)

nonmagic said...

My husband has the EXACT same problem and it seems that if he stays up late at night it gets even worse.

Now here's the weird part...I'm the exact opposite from you sun people. I don't like sunshine a lot at all and I actually find it to aggravating. I'm a huge fan of cloudy, rainy, snowy, dark weather and the colder the better.

My depression tends to manifest itself in the summer and disappear when it starts to get darker earlier.

Odd how different people deal with light, isn't it?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I haven't actually been diagnosed with anything; all I know is that I get in a serious funk in the winter. I saw a therapist recently, but fortunately for me, my situation wasn't bad enough to warrant medication.

I'll look into the CBT. Sounds like that's what I'm kinda doing already - but there's probably more to it.

Lance Christian Johnson said...


I find your anti-Helios world view to be quite blasphemous.

In all seriousness, I work with a lot of people like you. I start to get in a funk and they talk about how much they like it. I want to kill them. (I'd never want to kill you though - besides, Vegas is too far away for that sort of a thing.)

nonmagic said...

(I'd never want to kill you though - besides, Vegas is too far away for that sort of a thing.)

I'm...uh....glad of that, Lance...uhhh.... ::::sneaks away and locks the door:::

Kirsti said...


I'm just like you. I love cold, rainy, dark weather. I don't really get depressed in the summer, but I definitely look forward to the season ending every year. I get really, really aggrivated in super hot weather (or anything over about 85 degrees...70 degrees is fANTASTIC!). The colder the better!

nonmagic said...


You would not BELIEVE how aggravated I get with this 111+ degree weather out here. I'm thinking some place far, far north would be a great place to live. Like the wilderness of Canada.

Down with Helios !!!

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Helios shall smite you with his chariot. Consider this a warning.

I realize that you think that you don't need Helios, but I have to ask you - Are you a good person? Have you ever worn sunglasses? Have you ever used an umbrella to block out the sun? Do you use suntan lotion? If so, you are breaking the rules of Helios (which are all written on your heart already).

Kirsti said...

Oh, I've been to Vegas in the summer and I pretty much wanted to kill myself. It was horrible!!! I couldn't even imagine living in that heat. I really feel for you. I have also been to Vegas at the beginning of January and I froze my ass off. I loved it!

I'm weird.

Years ago, I tried to convince Lance to move out of state. I tried to get him to go to the Pacific Northwest with no luck. He couldn't stand the rain. I would have loved it. I am actually pretty happy with living in California. I just wish it wasn't so damn expensive!!!