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Officially a success

I’ve been using a light therapy box for almost a month now, after having resisted the idea for two or three years.

imageWhy resist? Partly, I suppose, because of the inconvenience I thought it would cause. Partly because the directions included with my box were quite annoying, including a warning that light therapy can cause serious side effects in people taking antidepressants (tell me how many people NOT on antidepressants are using these!). And partly, I have to say, because I didn’t want to admit to the fact that I probably needed it.

Yes, that last reason is coming from someone who fights daily against the oppressive stigma in our culture associated with mental illness. From someone who deals every day with a husband who has struggled with crippling depression for many years and who would do nearly anything to feel better.

Well, I am a convert. I’ve been using my light box for at least half an hour in the morning and sometimes half an hour in the early afternoon. I find that I have more energy all day long. My mood is improved compared to the last few years of SAD. I’m able to be awake and alert until at least 10:00 in the evenings (as compared to 6:00 previously – no joke).

And so, here’s what I have to share: If your doctor or therapist has every recommended that you try a light box, go for it. There’s every chance you’ll be very glad you did. And if it doesn’t help, at least you tried. Best of luck.


7 Responses

  1. I have been wanting to try this for my depression for some time now. I think what is holding me back is the cost. It is something not covered by insurance (and my insurance sucks anyway.) I’m glad to hear you like it. I think I will do some more research today to see if I can find a reasonably priced one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Woo hoo! That is awesome. I’ve often wondered how that works. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. I have a question about your light box. My mom suffers from SAD. My dad went to the store and bought her a full spectrum light bulb she places in a lamp. I’m thinking this isn’t the same thing, and will buy her a real one if it will help. I know she will actually have to use it for any benefit, I just wanted to know if her “light bulb” therapy is the same as the light box?

    • April, that’s a really good question. Here’s my take on that subject, though I haven’t actually read any scientific info…we’ve had those full spectrum lights in several rooms of our house for about four years, and while they do make the light more daylight-like, they didn’t do anything for my SAD. But I didn’t have them in a lamp I could put right in front of my face, so maybe they would work that way. One issue for me, though, is that I can’t have a really harsh light right in front of my face (for effectiveness the therapy box has to be 12-24 inches from your face). My box has a diffuser lens, which makes the intense light bearable for me. So I guess I’d say to try it and see if it helps…but if it doesn’t maybe a light box specifically made for that purpose would still be worth a try. Good luck!

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