Sunday, October 18, 2015

Seasonal Affective Disorder Doesn't Give Me The Blues Anymore!

In 2007, I was looking for a way to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder, something that has given me the blues every single winter (and any cloudy day, really) since I moved to California in 1990. I know that must sound whiny to people who live in, say, Washington or Oregon. But when you grow up in Hawai'i and live there for the first 22 years of your life, you get used to a certain amount of sunshine, and really notice a difference when you don't have it!

For so many years, I couldn't understand why I'd get so depressed in the winter. Then one year my friend and old bandmate, Chris, told me to turn on the lights in the house. Sure enough, it actually seemed to help a little. He was the first person to suggest maybe I could have Seasonal Affective Disorder. 


I just dealt with the depression and fatigue for most of my years in California (it was especially bad when I lived in the Richmond and Sunset districts in San Francisco). Until 2007 - I had finally had enough. For me it is SOO obvious that a lack of sunlight affects my mood. It can be the middle of summer, and if suddenly the clouds roll in, I can go from happy, to feeling a little down.


In the winter I decided to do something about this and see if I'd feel any better by going to a tanning salon. I talked my then-boyfriend (now husband) into going with me. Sure enough, it made me feel a lot better! But I couldn't afford to keep going every time it was overcast, and I didn't want to keep exposing myself to all those UV rays. So I looked into getting a small UV light, but they cost between $100 and
 $200 (this is before I saw they're less than $40 on Amazon)!  You can also get a tall one that you can angle and tilt, that's just about $70, and it has great reviews. I am planning to get one of these soon. 


One day I was in Costco and happened to see they had Vitamin D3 on sale, and that particular bottle just happened to say "The Sunshine Vitamin" on it, with a picture of a sun (it no longer has this packaging or photo so I feel like I really lucked out that they did that, or I may never have noticed it). I figured, what the heck, it's less than 10 bucks. What did I have to lose?  

I wanted to see how much would be safe to take, knowing it's a fat-soluble vitamin and it is possible to get too much. Well, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, it's generally considered safe for most people to take up to 10,000 IU per day. So, that's what I took. 


Not only did it seem to alleviate my Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I could NOT BELIEVE it when I realized that my back didn't hurt when I bent down to feed my cats the next morning. Every single morning I'd wake up with a stiff back - maybe it was the early onset of arthritis, I'm not sure. I always wonder about the long term side effects I will experience after taking 3 rounds of Accutane... the box said minimal bone changes were detected in those taking Accutane, and the long term side effects are unknown.

Whatever the case.... my back pain was GONE. I'd really struggled with back pain for the previous 2 years (the fact that I drank too much coffee didn't help). So you can imagine my surprise to see that Vitamin was doing double duty, getting rid of seasonal affective disorder AND my back pain at the same time!

Doctor C's Own Vitamin D3 5000IU Certified Vegetarian Capsules (120 Count) Non-GMO Gluten-free USP-Grade High Potency Supplements - Vegan Halal Kosher - Best - Men Women - Not Pills Tablets Test Now  I am SO sensitive to a decrease in sunlight, probably a lot more than the average person. Even when it's slightly overcast, I get into a funk. Sometimes I've even taken up to 30,000 IU of vitamin D, for a day or two in a row. This may sound like a lot, but I have a friend who was taking 50,000 IU per day (while getting her blood monitored) and it was several months before her blood levels indicated she was getting too much. If you're going to take over 5,000 or 10,000 on a regular basis I definitely do recommend you have your blood monitored. 

It really blows my mind, how many people I talk to, who have no idea how helpful Vitamin D can be for Seasonal Affective Disorder AND back pain! Needless to say, you're not likely to hear about this from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a chiropractor. 


Mother nature has what you need in her medicine cabinet!


Hope this helps - 


Ualani





  

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