My SAD Lamp Has Made Me Marginally Less Sad: An Update

Last week I posted about giving in and buying a $99 SAD lamp despite my hesitations and dubiousness with regard to their efficacy. It’s not that I had done any real research or talked to a doctor or therapist about the issue — which you know, recommended! And it’s not that I didn’t think it totally worked for some people or that mental health issues are anything to really joke about.

I guess I thought SAD lamps seemed both too good to be true and generally way more expensive than I assumed. I am always hesitant to throw money at my problems, and felt like this might be one of those situations. After all, shouldn’t I accept my wintertime despair like I do the cellulite in my butt and the bags under my eyes? Are SAD lamps the equivalent of expensive under eye creams or like, those shaking belts in infomercials that eliminate stubborn belly fat? Is this not my cross to bear? Do I even deserve this lamp? What if I end up totally broke one day soon and I look over at my SAD lamp and think about how much I could use those 99 dollars?

I guess I blame the SADness.

And my total ignorance about the subject.

And that I was raised Catholic.

Have I mentioned that I don’t floss?

Anyway, it has been almost a week since my SAD lamp has arrived and I have spent the first half hour of every morning eating breakfast and obsessively reading my phone under the harsh glow of 10,000 lux of white light. Obviously it’s still early and these things are impossible to really measure, but I am very in touch with my feelings so this is what I can offer:

1. I have had NO despair! None. Bad feelings? Yes. Have I cried? Yes. Been mad at my romantic partner for no reason other than he seems like he is in a bad mood and now I’M in a bad mood, and god I hate him? Obviously, yes. Have I been tired? Yes, though I will say I am fighting off a cold. But I haven’t once done the whole, “Nothing matters oh my god I’m so depressed I don’t know what to do I want to feel better but I also want to do nothing oh my god it’s dark out and it’s too cold to go anywhere but I have to get out of here but I have nowhere to go oh my god the only hope we have is spring and that isn’t for forever,” etc etc.

I mean, it’s true that the only hope we do have is Spring, and I have still Googled “sunset times, NYC” then “DST, 2014” pretty much every day this week, but that is just part of living during January.

2. I did a few things that have been on my to-do list for almost a year. Okay I did one thing that has been on my to-do list for almost a year, which was put money in a mutual fund. This could be less related to the lamp and more to the fact that I saw that the index fund I kept putting off investing in made 33% last year and my high-yield savings account made .79%. But still! I stopped procrastinating. +1, lamp.

3. On day 3 of the lamp I woke up with no alarm at 7:30 a.m. Wide awake! Now, I know this is a thing many humans do regularly, but I have dreamed of this moment for so long and been unable to accomplish it. And it has happened every day since! 7:30, boom, awake two hours earlier than usual. Out of bed, go grab the lamp, get back in bed, set the lamp on the pillow next to me while I drink coffee and congratulate myself for being awake.

My next step I guess is to stop being the person who literally lies in bed eating cereal with a SAD lamp balancing on a pillow, but hey, we’re all doing the best we can.

Now, the question of course remains: Is this a placebo? As many of you pointed out with my last post, there have been many studies to confirm the effectiveness of light therapy, but it doesn’t work for all people, and maybe it’s just the placebo effect working on me. But you know what? I am FINE with that. Bring it on! I have been trying to wake up early and escape my despair for many a winter, so if I am fully at peace with paying $99 to trick myself into escaping the limitations of my own psyche.

In conclusion: March 9th is Daylight Saving’s Time. We can do this! Probably.

Photo: By Slllu, via Wikimedia Commons