Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Are You S.A.D.? Winter is on its way.

Image result for all cloudy

 Copyright 2015

This is  re-posted because our readers (all over world) need to be reminded of this painful disorder.
I live in the United States of America. I grew up in Michigan and lived there until I was twenty three years old.  In 1978 I moved to Florida where Robyn and I were married. You may or may not be familiar with all of the states in our country but Michigan has warm summers and cold, cloudy winters.  Robyn and I lived in Florida for a number of years before deciding to move our family to Michigan. While living there, I worked in one of our public mental health agencies in Grand Rapids. I was a case manager for persons who had severe and persistent mental illnesses. 

A local psychiatrist had an article published in our newspaper on SAD, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. I talked to our agency supervisor about our need for getting more information on this disorder. She said we could go ahead and have the psychiatrist come and speak to us about this little known illness.  SAD is quite prevalent in Michigan because of the lack of sunlight we experience especially in the winter time. The psychiatrist came to our agency and lectured us on the on the disorder. As I was studying his material and the diagnostic criteria for SAD;  I had a "light bulb moment."  Robyn, who is known for being vivacious and funny, met many of the criteria for SAD since we moved to Michigan. The lack of sunshine was mostly in the fall, winter and spring seasons. Some of the symptoms were tiredness, fatigue, over-sleeping, depression, crying spells, irritability, decreased activity and craving food, especially carbohydrates. She also presented with a 'grim' facial expression and it looked like the normal luster of her eyes was gone.

 Image result for the beaches, florida

As I have mentioned, Robyn did not know she had SAD until she moved from Florida to Michigan. She was brought up in West Palm Beach, FL which is about as far south as you can get in the USA. Florida is known as the sunshine state and it has plenty of it.

The psychiatrist told us the standard treatment for SAD, especially in the North, was a special light which puts out 10,000 Lux or more. Our mental health agency in Grand Rapids bought a light for our clients and I bought one for Robyn. The results were remarkable; Robyn's symptoms disappeared.  In Michigan she sat in front of the light for about two hours each day. If we took a trip to Florida during the winter months, she obviously didn't need her light; the sun brought her right up and out of the SAD.

We now live in Florida and now she doesn't use her light. (You still can have the disorder if you live in Florida, but the more North you live puts you at a higher risk). These lights are available online through many venues or you could just bring your seasonal brain south for the winter. You know the song, Home on the Range? The words, "O give me home where the buffalo roam ... and the skies are not cloudy all day." I guess cloudy days without sunshine are appreciated by very few of us. When we lived in the North, Robyn would tell our snowbird friends to tell the sun she said, "Hello" and she would go back to her light until Spring. It worked and I saw the marked difference in her. It probably will take a few days before you notice the change but if you are like her, you will perk up and you'll feel like your batteries have been recharged. In the meantime, remember Spring is coming!

You can also go to the Mayo Clinic website below.

The great Charles Spurgeon ministered in London, England in the 1800's. We make a case that he suffered from SAD. After the age of forty he had to travel from London to Mentone, France six months out of every year until his death. Why? Mentone had plenty of sunshine. If you wish to have more information about SAD, or you have depression and think it may be SAD, the best thing to do is visit a mental health professional..

In our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications) we discuss Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It is a comprehensive, personal, Biblical and clinical look at mental illness.
For reviews on our book see

Thanks,Steve Bloem