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Luminotherapy
Thread poster: Annie Estéphan

Annie Estéphan  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:31
Member (2010)
English to French
+ ...
Nov 14, 2014

Hi everyone,

Last year, I experienced a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) for the first time of my life, it was not fun at all, I even seriously thought about moving to Europe, to Latin America, and even to British Columbia.

When the spring came we went for the Easter holiday to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, it was like a dream come true, and when we came back home, I felt better, and then the weather was getting better, and I forgot about my wish to move anywhere.

This year, I got as a gift a special lamp for luminotherapy, I use it everyday since last month, and I am feeling really great...is it temporary? or will it continue to work in January? Did you ever try it?


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Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:31
French to English
Uncanny... Nov 14, 2014

Hi Annie,

I was just now shopping on line for a "SAD light" myself. I'm in northeast Vermont so I'm no stranger to "sun starvation" syndrome Do you mind sharing what brand and model you chose? There are so many, and at such a broad range of prices, and I have no idea which one is reliable.

Stephanie


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Annie Estéphan  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:31
Member (2010)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not sure if available in the US Nov 14, 2014

Sure, I got this one: http://www.jeancoutu.com/en/health/home-care-products/category/product-details/luminotherapy-desktop-sun-lamp/HC859793/ but I am not sure if it is available in the US.

My parents bought that one at costco, so I am sure you can buy it in the US: http://www.costco.ca/HappyLight-Liberty-Energy-lamp-with-Replacement-Bulb.product.100146183.html

I heard a pharmacist on the radio last week saying that no matter the brand, you need to look for a a 10,000 lux-lamp.

Good luck with your reasearch, and I hope it works well for you too


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Grigoriy Smirnov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 05:31
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...
Try Valkee Nov 15, 2014

You can wear it like MP3 player. I don't have any personal experience with this device from Finland but maybe it can help you:
http://www.valkee.com


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Michael Barnett
Local time: 21:31
English
+ ...
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Nov 17, 2014

Hi Annie,

I had to smile when you mentioned that you considered moving to British Columbia. Not only is it just as dark here during the winter, if you are on the coast you also have to condend with the rain and the fog.
The following information is from UpToDate, a professional reference. You should be aware that antidepressants also work for SAD.

Light therapy is effective for SAD and is first-line therapy for patients who are not actively suicidal, have contraindications to or cannot tolerate antidepressant drugs, or have previously responded well to light therapy. The usual dose is 10,000 lux, beginning with one 10- to 15-minute session per day, gradually increasing to 30 to 45 minutes per day depending upon response. It may take four to six weeks to see a response, although some patients improve within days. Therapy is continued until sufficient daily light exposure is available through other sources, typically from the sun. (See 'Light therapy' above.)

Pharmacotherapy is generally preferred for patients with SAD who have moderate to severe functional impairment or who are at high risk for suicide; patients with a history of moderate to severe recurrent depression; and patients who have previously responded well to pharmacotherapy, prefer pharmacotherapy, or have failed other therapies.


Michael


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Grzegorz Harbaszewski
Luxembourg
Local time: 03:31
English to Polish
+ ...
most probably a scam Nov 17, 2014



This is most probably a scam: check this website, for example: http://earlightswindle.com/index.htm


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Annie Estéphan  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:31
Member (2010)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My seasonal depression is back Jan 7, 2015

It is back again...my seasonal depression...second year in a row...we spent a week between Christmas and New Year's Eve in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and we will spend the Easter holidays in Fort Lauderdale, USA (already booked), but it helped when we were there, but now that we are back...it is even worse.

I tried everything, luminotherapy, vitamin D, one hour of jogging everyday (on my treadmill of course), nothing seems to help, I'm getting seriously worried...and this year it's even hitting my husband even harder, but thanks God it doesn't seem to affect our children at all...:)

It's strange because we know that we could still work as freelancers like now from anywhere, but because of the kids' school it is not possible...we feel trapped!

We are still thinking about moving to a sunny destination but maybe closer, like Florida, where we could go camping for winter (young snowbirds), so that we can come back to Canada for the rest of the year...(Canadians are allowed to stay in the US only 6 months per year), but then again we still have the school problem, so we will wait until the kids are grown-ups (10 years from now), I'm 32, so I will be 42 then (still better than the retirement age, 67...).

In the meantime, we are counting the weeks left for our trip to Florida, while shoveling snow...

Any idea how to help a seasonal depression? It's no joke...


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:31
Member (2008)
French to English
Winter in Quebec! Jan 7, 2015

Perhaps spending some time enjoying what winter here has to offer? A trip to Mont Tremblant? The weather this past week also had me feeling rather down, so I splurged in a new warm parka, and feel much better! The days are getting longer and the snow outside my window is crystal white, so it's not all bad. Actually, immigrants who have moved here from Europe and tropical climates say they love our winter weather, with its clear sunny days and crisp snow.

I have never tried special lights, but I have found that Daylight colour fluorescent bulbs help immensely - they are the colour of a clear blue sky shining in the window and fit in a normal fluorescent ceiling fixture.

[Edited at 2015-01-08 16:26 GMT]


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Andrea Bauer  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:31
Member (2011)
Italian to German
+ ...
IMHO Jan 7, 2015

I'm neither an expert on this subject nor do I experience the same problem. And I surely don't underestimate your problem. So what I write here is coming straight from my personal feelings and how I would try to deal with this situation.
I can understand your situation and that you are suffering from that seasonal depression, but in that definition there might already be a solution: it's seasonal, so it is limited to a certain period of the year. In Canada winters are surely longer than in other parts of the world and it's scientifically proofed that the lack of sunlight causes depressed mood. But you should hold in mind that it won't last forever.
Apart from artificial daylight lamps, the first and most important suggestion you will get to combat SAD is always: go out and move in the fresh air, if possible around the middle of the day. Instead of the treadmill at home, do your jogging/walking outside. As a freelancer you can organize your work schedule freely. Maybe you can go and pick up your children from school by feet.
Surround yourself with bright colors, bring flowers to your home, listen to easy-going music and … have an active social life. Meet friends; attend a course to learn/improve something you like to do. Keep yourself busy (not only with work).
Try to live this season as a natural part of the year, spend time with activities that during other months of the year you can't do: read books, do some handicraft activity, take care of your home and change some of the interior, take your time to play with your children…
These seem "silly" advices, but I am convinced they may help. The most important thing is to get up the energy to do something instead of giving in to the depression.
Reading your posts I have the distinct impression that you wish to live elsewhere, but you feel “trapped” because of your children’s school. That seems to be a more complex problem and maybe this hides the real reason behind your winter depression. Be honest to yourself and try to find out if moving to a sunnier country would really help or if it's only used as a pretext to escape from daily routine and the everyday surroundings.
Good luck!!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:31
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Get your exercise outdoors in daylight Jan 8, 2015

Annie Estéphan wrote:

...

I tried everything, luminotherapy, vitamin D, one hour of jogging everyday (on my treadmill of course)

... It's no joke...


No. I know about SAD too, here in Denmark where winters are often grey and cloudy but with little snow.

I know one or two people who find the special light works, but my own experience is that exercise is far better outdoors, in daylight. Even the murky daylight we get, and this year is no exception. If you blink at the wrong moment, you miss the day's sunshine!

Danes love real candles, and they help me too. Any excuse to light one and look at it! (Today it's Charlie Hebdo...) It's not the intensity as much as the type of light, and real fresh air in daylight intensifies the effect of exercise. I could never get myself to run on a treadmill - that would get me depressed in itself! But different cures help different people. I find even a short walk in real daylight makes a difference... up the hill where there is a view of the sky, round the block and home again. Definitely longer walks at the weekend.

I hope you soon feel better!


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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 03:31
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Catching the problem early Jan 8, 2015

AndreaBauer wrote:

...go out and move in the fresh air, if possible around the middle of the day. Instead of the treadmill at home, do your jogging/walking outside. As a freelancer you can organize your work schedule freely. Maybe you can go and pick up your children from school by feet.
Surround yourself with bright colors, bring flowers to your home, listen to easy-going music and … have an active social life. Meet friends; attend a course to learn/improve something you like to do. Keep yourself busy (not only with work).
Try to live this season as a natural part of the year, spend time with activities that during other months of the year you can't do: read books, do some handicraft activity, take care of your home and change some of the interior, take your time to play with your children…
These seem "silly" advices, but I am convinced they may help. The most important thing is to get up the energy to do something instead of giving in to the depression.
Reading your posts I have the distinct impression that you wish to live elsewhere, but you feel “trapped” because of your children’s school. That seems to be a more complex problem and maybe this hides the real reason behind your winter depression. Be honest to yourself and try to find out if moving to a sunnier country would really help or if it's only used as a pretext to escape from daily routine and the everyday surroundings.
Good luck!!


I have to agree with Andrea and Christine but I understand that it can be a Herculean task to even just take a walk outside or arrange some flowers when you are already stuck in the middle of a depression - it is the nature of depression to make even the most simple tasks horribly difficult. That is why I would like to add how important it is to catch the first signs of trouble and act quickly, before it gets too bad. It might not be of help now, but could be in the future. In some cases if you feel you are already way too deep "inside the black hole", it might help to rely on medication for a short period just to be able to start to apply some of Andrea's advice above. Mindfulness techniques can help with catching early signs of depression as well as coping with the symptoms themselves. I hope you get out of SAD soon and find your way to handle it!


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Annie Estéphan  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:31
Member (2010)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Jogging at 40 degrees below 0? Jan 8, 2015

Thank you all for your words of encouragement...it's like a group therapy lol

Jogging in fresh air is not be possible (that's why I need my treadmill so bad)...at least not today, it's 40 degres Celsius below 0 in Montreal (with the windchill factor), it takes all of our efforts just to put the kids in the car to bring them to school we slide and hurt ourselves, so I cannot imagine myself running on that ice...I'm winter-depressed, but not suicidal lol...

I know it's temporary...spring will start on May 1st...4 more months...I already passed 2 months, so I am almost halfway through winter

I talked with my husband, and my parents about that, and I realized that there are so many problems in the world more important than weather, what happened in France yesterday, my friend who is my age (32 years old) has cancer, my mother's colleague (24 years old) got killed yesterday because she was in Mont-Tremblant (up North), and she couldn't hit the breaks on the ice, so she lost control of her vehicle.

So I am focusing myself on good things that life has to offer...


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Alice Crisan  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:31
English to Romanian
+ ...
Same weather here. Jan 8, 2015

Dear Annie it's so difficult to give advice. It's easy to talk, but it's good to have some nice colleagues
who can share some oppinions. You know you are not alone. I'm based în London, same weather, rainy and gloomy. Quite boring and at the end of the week I always plan to escape somewhere out of this circle.
I try some winter sports but it's not easy to plan at a certain age. At any age you have some responsabilities.
If I feel low I try to find some comedies and read some difficult articles or scientific websites. Try the lumosity website, great fun for you and kids. Try also a herbal tablet, found some good references, St John's Wort.
Maybe there are some indoor sport centers nearby. If I remember about anything else I'll be back. Hope for the better, but we'll bere for each other always.


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Annie Estéphan  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:31
Member (2010)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jan 8, 2015

Thank you for the Lumosity site, it looks fun, and since my children are asperger/autistic they love those logical solving problems...they always complain that their homework is too easy for them...that's a great idea

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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:31
Member (2006)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Grow lamps Jan 8, 2015

I am not sure I could be diagnosed with SAD, but the first winter I spent in Iceland certainly did get to me. The sun would rise at 11 am and be gone again by 3:30 pm. Emotional depression did not set in, but I did always feel very sleepy and did not feel like doing anything.

A friend who worked in a greenhouse suggested sitting near the grow lamp for about 20 minutes. I gave it a try and it really did work. The effect lasted several days, anyway. I am not sure how much the light from a grow lamp differs from that offered by some of these contraptions mentioned above, but I am sure the principle is the same, i.e., exposure to a broader spectrum of light mimicking real sunlight.

The following winter I got over it and could function normally even during the long dark nights. I guess it just takes some acclimatising. However, if you find you feel like this each winter, perhaps pay a visit to a greenhouse nursery one day. While looking for flowers, you can expose yourself to the light. It wouldn't hurt to try.

[Edited at 2015-01-08 14:26 GMT]


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