18 February 2011

In the cold blue light of the artificial sun

It would seem obvious that someone who has a long history of depression and gets mildly depressed every winter suffers from seasonal affect disorder. And yet, I only realized this year that this was the case.

I use many approaches when I experience a bout of depression: medication adjustments, talk therapy, cardiovascular exercise, yoga, massage, meditation, and beginning this year, bright light therapy. Something is bound to work, even if I never know exactly what. So although I have no evidence that light therapy is doing me any good, I quickly became enamored of it. Short of damning evidence linking it to a rare form of face cancer, nothing will get me to stop.

Light therapy has given me back the one thing that motherhood robbed me of: my breasts an opportunity to sit on my ass undisturbed.

Bright light therapy provides a bonafide medical excuse for my morning coffee ritual. The recommended dosage of light therapy is thirty minutes, so every morning I brew my coffee and settle in with my lamp. I set a timer and wrap my hands around my warm mug reading the news in the undisturbed quiet. Halfway through, David brings me a second cup of coffee; I especially appreciate this unanticipated perk of being served while sitting around doing nothing. Children might need helping, the cat could shit on the rug, but somebody else must take care of it when I am in treatment.

So if you are longing for some quiet contemplative time, I suggest you try faking mild depressive symptoms; feign an existential air of despair or adopt a mien of sadness, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and settle in.

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