Be Your Own Best Doctor

The Internet, for all of its usefulness, makes many doctors groan...

The first step to dealing with your SAD is recognizing that you may have the disorder.

My husband was the first one to suggest the possibility of SAD to me, and after reading more about it, I quickly realized that I had figured out my own issue.

I did see a therapist to confirm this suspicion, even though I was pretty wholly confident at that point in my own diagnosis, and to find out how I could manage the disorder more effectively.

That’s why I loved this frank and honest post from I’m Pretty Even as she talks about self-diagnosing herself with SAD:

78 and Sunny

And in regards to the moving part, girl, I am definitely right there with you, and actively working on it. 😉 The best and most guaranteed cure for SAD is a change in venue.

Even if you know that you do have SAD, some of the reasons that you may want to see a doctor is to get a prescription for treatment of some sort, whether light therapy (whether inside or outside the home) or anti-depressants. My insurance paid for my light, because I asked the doctor to write a prescription for it. If you choose to take meds, you will need to be eased onto and off of it at the proper times throughout the year.

Another reason to see a doctor to get your diagnosis in writing is to avoid problems at work if your situation requires modification to assist you in dealing with your disorder. Your work is required to provide reasonable accommodations in regards to any disability, but you must have a verifiable condition. I was able to win an unemployment case due to this, but only because I had taken the proper steps. Let’s say you need a vacation during the winter to help you deal with your disorder, but your work only allows vacations in the summer– having a doctor’s diagnosis might resolve this issue. Or your work suffers a little during the winter– having a diagnosis on file could increase workplace understanding, and help to prevent unnecessary negative feedback from your boss who just thinks that you are slacking off or do not care about the job anymore.

An additional reason to be professionally diagnosed is that you may be able to participate in case studies, but only if you have received a proper diagnosis. And on a personal level, your friends and family may get tired of hearing you complain about your disorder or might not understand, but a therapist knows that it is normal, and can providing that caring ear along with expertise advice.

It is definitely wise to be your own best doctor, since nobody cares more about yourself than you do, and you are ultimately responsible to actively manage your own condition. But there are some reasons that you may want to see a doctor in regards to your Seasonal Affective Disorder as well, at least in the beginning stages.

Into the Light

I am so tired of walking around in the darkness of my mind that is filled with a SAD-induced haze...

In my ongoing quest to prop myself up, I drank some coffee this morning prior to an interview.

This afternoon, I took a short nap, which brought on some better mental clarity, but made me feel tired in a different way.

Now I am onto my next plan of attack. I have been using a mini light for the last couple of weeks, since I have been feeling the decline. For some reason, I could have the light on all day long without feeling that much more awake, or the eventual agitation that normally comes with using the light for too long. Thus, all things considered, it led me to wonder if the light was not working.

I checked online, and it seems like the light has worked for some others. But some people were upset that it said that it had a certain amount of light lux, but only when using the two mini lights together. I was already concerned that it might not work for me in the first place, as I did not like the bluish tone that it has.

I have now brought out my larger light that I have used in years past, and I think that I may experience some more typical results. I may also go blind in the process, but at this point, I will almost take wide awake, but blind if I must choose.

Like the sun, this light has a more mild yellowish tone to it, so it is more natural to my eyes. The ones with a bluish tone remind me of fluorescents that I hate and that give me headaches. This light pierces my eyes in a different way, but it works, and that is about all that I can ask for right now.

Wish me luck– and lots of light– and I wish you the same. 😉

Sometimes some light, natural or not, is your best friend in the world.

This is More than your Common Case of Laziness

Why can't I get my mind to focus on any one path?!

I do freelance writing for a living. Dr. Norman Rosenthal described why he normally refuses to have fall or winter deadlines. I thought I was going to outsmart him, and maintain the same level of writing as the rest of the year. I was wrong.

In addition to the standard exhaustion that Seasonal Affective Disorder brings, along with your common case of laziness, I have been having severe problems focusing to do even a simple task. I simply cannot get my mind to focus on any one thing. My memory is failing, my motivation is lacking, and I just cannot concentrate.

We are experiencing some fabulous weather for early March, and I thought the sun and warmer temperatures today would cause me to experience a newfound determination to get my work done. I stepped out to enjoy some sunshine; I opened windows in the house; I turned on my light; I exercised; I played some music; I did some physical housework; I ate some indulgent snacks (Dove Ice Cream Miniatures, to be exact); and I drank some coffee– all to no avail. I have gotten some work done, but the thought of meeting a deadline next week is daunting, especially when I was trying to work on one assignment, and just got another.

I decided to take a blogging break to see if the natural flow of creativity that comes with it would calm me down and help me to be more productive. True to zombie form, when I get like this, it is almost like my eyes cannot clearly focus on any one thing, which makes reading or writing difficult. I cannot properly process information. People can talk to me, and I will completely ignore what they say (and not even on purpose this time). Language becomes more foreign, and my coordination less accurate. I am at a loss as to how to remedy this.

I know that many people experience some relief as spring is on the horizon. For me personally, this is often the toughest time of all.

Do you have any ways that you manage to increase concentration and focus in spite of your S.A.D.? If so, I would sure love to hear them– comment below, and help a fellow zombie out.

Did you ever notice that zombies seem to have trouble focusing on any one thing? This seems to be the case both physically with their eyes and mentally with their mind.