Mad About S.A.D.

Oh no. Not another post about anger.

No. It’s not about anger. I just needed a rhyming word for the post’s title.

So the post isn’t about anger, right?

Well, sort of right. It isn’t about anger. But I am a bit mad about S.A.D.

I thought I had it licked.

I was wrong.

I realized this year — Spring of 2011 — that all my Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka S.A.D., aka SAD) “cures” don’t work. When I started taking Wellbutrin seven years ago (shit! seven years since that fateful day when I was officially diagnosed!!) the first change was the deep depression that would set in during the winter: it was gone. That was an improvement. Now that I’ve been on Vyvanse for about two years (thank you, Gina, for telling me about Vyvanse), my brain has been firing on all 12 cylinders. My expectations have changed because I’m aware of so many things in my life that are in need of fixing.

When I started on Wellbutrin, my point of comparison was between ADHD Without Wellbutrin (AWOW) and ADHD With Wellbutrin (AWW). I noticed a radical change in my life because of the Wellbutrin. My winter blues were gone (at least I didn’t go into a deep depression) and I was able to modify some of my more destructive ADHD behaviors. But adding Vyvanse (AWWWV?) has given me a new point of comparison. With all cylinders firing, I’ve been able to see and understand so much more and make some substantial changes in my life. So it was last year that I noticed that I was a still a little sad from SAD and I was determined to do something about it. I acquired a HappyLight.

The HappyLight worked…for a while. But this has been an unusually brutal winter here in the Northeast and multiple snow storms, weeks of gloomy weather and weeks of being stuck inside the house had negated any positive effects from the full-spectrum light. It helped to perk me up a bit and, for about two weeks it worked fine. But as winter wore on, its effectiveness tapered off. This became obvious now that the days are again getting longer. There is a level of alertness that only comes from these longer, sunnier days and which cannot be achieved through Wellbutrin, Vyvanse, a HappyLight and tantric sex with a hot looking woman in my backyard hot tub (Okay…I haven’t tried this last cure but I’m willing if you’re willing. If you are female, between the ages of 25-45 (±5 years), enjoy discussions of politics, cooking, home repair and vegetable gardening while listening to a wide variety of music (classical; zydeco; metal; oldies; punk; glam, etc.), email your picture to jeff at jeffsaddmind dot com. Blonds are given priority. Tattoos are a plus. Please allow four to six weeks for a reply because, if by some miracle I *do*get an email from a willing participant, I’ll have to buy a hot tub and install it). So while the depression has been licked, it seems impossible to get rid of the brain fog. All 12 cylinders of my brain may be firing but obviously a number of them misfire during the winter.

Next year I’m going to have to try something different.

I could schedule a trip to Mercury (a day lasts about 58 earth days) but the temperature can be a bit on the high side (about 180 degrees F.). That may not be a good idea. I’m also not sure if any of the airlines fly to Mercury though it’s likely that Virgin Airlines is taking reservations…for the future.

I could put myself into a cryogenic freeze in October and get defrosted and revived in April. Then I would never experience S.A.D. because, well, I’d be dead during that critical period of time. Since I feel that I have only lived half a year each and every year of my life because of S.A.D. (during the S.A.D. period I feel I am in suspended animation) I should now be, chronologically, only 26 years old. Since no one has told that to my body (it just keeps aging regardless of my alertness or lack thereof), the cryogenic freeze may slow down the aging since I’ll be dead for half the year. I need to find out the cost of cryogenic freezing and whether anyone has been successfully brought back to life after being defrosted.

I could schedule a mid-winter trip to Florida. It would give me an opportunity to spend some time with my mother, it would avoid the nasty sunburn I would get on Mercury, and it would be much less expensive than yearly cryogenic freezing, defrosting and reviving.

And while in Florida…I could also visit Mickey Mouse.

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  • Penny T

    Hi there! This is first comment on here but I don’t think it will be my last. I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks and find that it is great comic relief, but also makes me feel like I’m not alone. So thank you.

    As far as SAD, I think you and I should switch cities. I live in Los Angeles. It’s sunny here ALL THE TIME with the exception of about 12 days a year of rain. I HATE IT. My husband and I are always joking about how unfair it is that we have such extremely different whether preferences. He is just like you. He needs sunshine to be happy, and lots of it. We went back to Ohio for a visit a last year during winter and he said that if he had to live there he thinks he’d die. Sooooo dramatic. But I think he feels like you.
    I, on the other hand, have the same reaction to sun that he has to cold and rain. When the sun beats down on me, it makes me feel angry trapped and anxious. When it’s overcast and cloudy and rainy and cool, I feel comforted and calm. I desperately want to live in Seattle but that will never happen. So in a weird kind of way, I know how you feel :)

    I just thank God that life is about more than just the weather.

    • Jeff

      “great comic relief” – Hahahaha! You really think some of this stuff is funny? I betta tawk to my agent. Da guy hasn’t booked me in no comedy clubs or nothin’. Wait a sec. You talkin to Dr. Goombatz (aka, Vinnie G), maybe? He’s da funny one. Me.

      “It’s sunny here ALL THE TIME” – Well…knowing my personality I’ll probably start to miss the gloomy winter days here in the New Yawk (really…Lawn Gisland).

      “When it’s overcast and cloudy and rainy and cool, I feel comforted and calm. ” – Today…as I write this…it’s gray and rainy and I feel claustrophobic.

      “I just thank God that life is about more than just the weather.” – That’s absolutely true. The only problem is how much weather can affect our life.

      “He needs sunshine to be happy” – The interesting thing is I am not a sun worshipper. I can’t be in the sun…unless I’m doing something. Walking (listening to iPod at same time and often answering emails via crackberry) or working in the garden or something like that. I also hate the beach…well…that’s not quite true…I hate the sand and all the people…so I enjoy going to the beach in September when fall sets in, the people are gone and no one is kicking sand onto my or my blanket. But…back to the sun. The other problem with the changing seasons up in this latitude is the quality of the sunlight. It becomes anemic, like an incandescent bulb taking its last gasp before the element burns out. So it’s not just the sunlight but also the quality of that sunlight.

  • Katy R.

    Isn’t it interesting how our expectations change as our mental health improves? My round of depression and anxiety this winter felt almost intolerable…but at some point I realized “holy crap…I actually used to feel like this all the time”. So while I, for the moment, thought the world was crashing down around me, I was able to then realize “wow, I’ve been doing a lot better than I was when I started therapy and medication”. The realization didn’t totally cure my depression and anxiety but it made riding through it a little easier…but what made it even easier? Was 10 more mg of my anti-depressant, bwahahahaha.

    But see there…I used to live like that ALL THE TIME. And when I say ALL THE TIME I mean ALL THE TIME, not OMG I HAVE ADHD AND EVERYTHING SEEMS DRAMATIC. I know now that I don’t have to live like that all the time anymore and I won’t put up with it. I got more vitamins, got a little more exercise, spent more time with my dog, and yes, upped the meds. Now my disgruntlement seems situational…not genetically programmed.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      “Changing expectations” probably follows a trajectory similar to working out at a gym. Initially…your body is in pain as it struggles to lift some weights…then you get used to it and feel good…but then you need to increase the weight a bit more because you’re not getting the same physical boost that you did at the beginning. So you keep lifting heavier and heavier weights until you get larger and larger. Eventually you can no longer fit into any of your clothes and the only job you can get is as a stand-in for The Hulk. ;)

      “but what made it even easier? Was 10 more mg of my anti-depressant” – When in doubt…take more drugs. ;)

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