Most people who know me know that is unusual to see me with a shirt on in the summer. Despite being 80% Irish I love the sun. I never use sunscreen and never burn, even a week in Cuba. By the third day I had problems getting back on the resort because I had gotten so dark they thought I was a local. Spending 30-60 minutes with the sun on my skin makes me incredibly happy.
Many people don't know that I also have a problem with my eyes. They are still not sure what it is, some form of light refracting problem. Basically, I have 20/20 vision, but my eyes don't let light pass through to the optic nerve properly. I have seen many specialists and they are still trying to figure it out. This causes certain problem, if there is a strong background light it partially blinds me (think of looking out the gym bay doors on a sunny day, I can only see outside, everything inside gets dark), this also makes for hard time driving at night. Another reason I hate winer is the early nightfall.
So why I am still in this frozen wasteland? I honestly ask myself this every winter. I get grumpy when I have to start wearing shirts, shoes, and heavy jackets. Every year December through February is a hard time for me. This year it hit me particularity bad. The lack of sunshine, cold weather, and early nights runs me down. It used to be called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), apparently the DSM IV calls it something else now. I can't keep with with all the politically correct word changes nowadays.
This year it hit particularily bad with a wicked combination. I got SAD, which became nighttime anxiety, which led to panic attacks trying to sleep, which led to high stress and cortisol from lack of sleep, which lead to a breakdown. Never happened before, but if I do something I like to go big. Similarily I never had a break or sprain until my motorcycle accident, then managed to break almost 20 bones at a time. PR.
I had to be medicated, I am not above smack talking the medical community, I know medication helps, I am not against it. But, the doctor perscribed me an medication in doses that are normally perscribed to schizophrenics who have a psychotic episode. She said to take for 3 months and it will probably pass. Not much of a solution, but at that point I was willing to try anything. It was effecting my business and family life. I managed a week then had to stop. It barely help the sleep and made my normally razor sharp mind so groggy that I coudln't even remember how to get places and was late picking up my son from school twice. That was it, there had to be a better solution.
I started indoor tanning several times a week along with a very high dose of Vitamin D. I also looked into blue light therapy. Basically blue light waves are stimulatory and help set the cyrcadian rythm (sleep / wake cycle) of the body. The research behind it was very positive, but the adherance was really low. Basically you have to stare into a bright blue light for 30-60 minutes every morning. It really works on the photoreceptors in your eyes (and remember, my eyes don't let light pass very well) so if you just have the light in front of you in the bathroom and go about your morning routine it won't work very well.
I did a little more research and found a ingenious product called Luminette. These are NOT for the fashion forward, you look like a reject from star trek. They are glasses with powerful LEDs that sit above your eyes and can be adjusted to shine the light directly into your eyes. On the high I can get all the light required in 20 minutes. They eliminate the adherence issue with blue light therapy. I could throw these glasses on as soon as I get out of the shower and go about my morning routine. They work great, as long as the room is well lit, going from a light room to a dark room you loose all vision. Made for a couple interesting mornings stumbling around trying to avoid our new puppy in the morning.
I have been using these for 3 weeks, along with the Spektrum glasses (blog post coming up on those), and I have definitely jumped on a better path. Looks like I will be incorporating these into my fall routine. Having the choice to wear some corny glasses in the morning or being a walking zombie doped up in anti-psychotics is not a hard choice for me. I have never been a fan of medication when a natural choice which addresses the cause not the symptom works better.
This is just my experience, but I know many people suffer this time of year and thought I would be open and let people know they are not alone and there are many options our there.
Yours in health,
BONUS: I bought these on Amazon.ca because I could pay for next day shipping (I love amazon), but through their website they offer a 30 day trial for $49. So you can try them for a month then decide if you want to keep them. They are not cheap (200-250) but I would have paid almost anything to get rid of that feeling.
similar to couch stretch, cant undo 8 hours of sitting