This is the time of year when I start chasing the light. I chase it from room to room in the house. I look in shops for new lamps to add a glow to my spaces. The lights on the main floor are turned on, even in daytime, if the skies aren’t filling the rooms with light.
Chasing the light is something my family takes pretty seriously. My father, my sister, and I all have Seasonal Affective Disorder. More than the winter blues, this condition starts with gentle symptoms like sleepiness and craving carbs, and ends in depression. Before I was diagnosed, I used to feel like there was a Summer Sarah – put away with the sundresses each fall – and a Winter Sarah. The first year that I got treatment and realized that most people feel basically the same all year I was amazed and a little jealous.
Every year at this time, I take a moment to urge anyone who thinks they might have SAD to check into it. There is an amazing treatment that starts to work within a week, has no side-effects, and is pretty cheap. It’s a SAD lamp, a special full-spectrum light that you sit in front of each day. The high intensity of these lamps prompts your brain to make the serotonin it’s lacking.
Each morning, starting in October, I sit in front of my lamp. It’s my time. I sketch, or read, or knit. I make the tea before I sit down and my husband brings me the oatmeal once he’s made it. Its an incredible ritual, full of quiet creativity, while my own body makes the chemicals I need.
Find your light in the darkness.