SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Joined Jun 16, 2007
Do any of you have to deal with SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? I do. I was wondering if I could get any helpful suggestions, or at the least start a topic that might help others.

Here in western Oregon there's hardly any sun from November through March. I am just not myself for almost half the year. I need a lot more sleep and I don't feel rested, and I am hardly ever in a good mood, as much as I want to be.

In central Oregon I didn't have this problem at all. It's not overcast nearly as much there and I was my real self throughout the year.

To any of you who have no clue what I am talking about--I hope you never feel this way. And to those who do know where I am coming from, have you found a way to make things better for yourself?
Joined Feb 1, 2007
For anyone not familiar with term SAD, it's often colloquially called "cabin fever."

I find that I avoid it by doing things outdoors, even if the sky is less than clement. True, sunshine is the only real cure. But fresh air helps.
Joined Mar 21, 2008
Every year and it has gotten worse after becoming disabled. Try to let as much light into the house as possible and get outside like you do. Finding something to do even in the house distracts you for a while. Sunrise is at 7am now and it sets at 5pm and days will get shorter until Dec 21. The real cure would be moving somewhere warm and sunny :lol:
Joined Feb 24, 2009
My sister who lives in Portland, OR suffers from this as well. She sits in front of a light box in the AM when she has her coffee and grades papers (middle school teacher.) She does it at night too.

I read an article on Yahoo that suggested supplementing Vitamin D to your diet. Makes sense since it's the vitamin you absorb from sunlight. Be careful though as it's a fat-soluble vitamin and too much can be toxic. Ask your doctor, she/he might have some good advice about it.

Since you live in W Oregon, I'm sure the docs around there see this disorder quite often.
Joined Jun 16, 2007
Thanks for the tips.

Moving somewhere warm and sunny . . . well, I know the sunny part is key and I wouldn't have to move far. Central Oregon weather is much sunnier than here because the Cascade mountains make a rain shadow there. I'll be moving back there when I can. It's colder there in the winter which actually helps, since snow brightens things up.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Research and read up on the light box thing. The color temperature of the light is the key. You need to use special lamps, but want to avoid overpriced gimmick-boxes.

Your complaint is very real, and needs to be addressed.

Joined Nov 21, 2001
i use full spectrum lightbulbs, increase my vit D, and try to stay as busy as possible. after the winter solstice i start to come out of it a little because there's an extra 2 min. of daylight every day. this year i'm focusing on thanksgiving, my son's induction party and then his graduation from boot camp in mid april.
Joined Jul 3, 2002
OregonYeti--I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.

My doctor here in Western Washington just doubled my vitamin D intake for the winter. If you haven't had a blood test for D levels, it might not be a bad idea.
I've also found that working out helps. It's probably a combination of the exercise and the lights and energy at the gym, so working out at home wouldn't be the same, at least for me.
And definitely look into light boxes. I haven't had to use them (yet), but I've read that they help 80% of SAD sufferers.

And it's funny (odd funny), but I suffered from SAD more profoundly in the summer when I lived in Los Angeles. Yes, a smaller percentage of people have the same reaction to summer--it's called "seasonal" affective disorder for a reason. But since I moved to Bellingham, I LOVE summer and winters give me a little bit of a problem, though not as much as the LA smog-glare did.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
SADS is very real. Light therapy, done properly, can really help. One of older brothers has it, and deals with it by being outside as much as possible. He actually made a career change from an inside to an outside job, and spends endless hours toiling in the garden (he used to be a computer tech, is now a landscaper). It seems to help.

Teenagers in particular have a problem with their melatonin levels. By nature, they like to stay up late and sleep in late. Light box therapy can help them too, as with school/ college routines, the timetables don't agree with their natural rhythms. With the therapy, some can get to bed earlier and sleep then wake to feel well rested.
Joined Jan 5, 2007
My husband suffered less when we lived in Asia and the Gulf States.

The light box therapy recommended by a medical specialist here in the UK certainly seems to have helped. Mind you, as has been said in this thread, there are some that are gimmick-y, rather than medically approved.
Joined Jun 16, 2007
Thanks, all :^) Phoebe, summer affects me too. I get kind of a disoriented feeling and have less energy, but at least I don't get the other symptoms. I'm at my best around the equinoxes.

I'm wondering if growing up in India, with much less seasonal variation, makes me more sensitive to the changes here in Oregon. That's a whole different subject.
Joined Nov 19, 2009
He actually made a career change from an inside to an outside job, and spends endless hours toiling in the garden (he used to be a computer tech, is now a landscaper). It seems to help.
Joined Jun 16, 2007
I haven't been feeling that depression lately, and I'm not sure what has made things better.

I put off getting the light boxes, as they are spendy and I have little extra money right now, being unemployed. One change I did make was taking vitamin D supplements. Maybe that helped. Something made things a lot better, at least for now.

I can't blame that SAD for weird stuff I say at this site right now, or at any time of year. That's an uncurable part of me.

Thanks for the encouragement, all.
Joined Jul 3, 2002
I'm so glad to hear you're doing better. Depression is a terrible disease, whatever the cause. And people who've never suffered from it think it's just a matter of "bucking up." So whatever is working for you, stick with it. Personally I find (along with my own medical regimen) that choosing romantic comedies over Bergman-like films is quite helpful ;)
Joined Jan 5, 2010
Hi all,
I'm new to the forum. I've suffered from SAD for many years now. I know how expensive the SAD light therapy machines are but you can also just buy the bulbs and stick them in a regular lamp. If the machine itself is too expensive this might be a cheaper option for you!
Also, be sure the Vitamin D supplements that you are taking is Vitamin D3. Try taking a B complex as well as Melatonin. All these things really helped me!

Hope this helps!
Good Luck!!


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