My light box arrived the other day. I’ve been looking forward to getting it because I want to prevent the winter depression altogether, rather than wait till it hits me like a ton of crap. The weather has been really dreary this fall and ordinarily I’d be in a funk already, but with any luck this contraption will be the answer to a perennial problem.
I was a bit concerned that my new HappyLight (great name!) would be broken by the time I got it—this happened to someone I know—but it was so well protected by cardboard, styrofoam, and bubble wrap that an orangutan could have done jumping jacks on it and not harmed it. Needless to say, getting it out of its cocoon was a challenge, and by the time I peeled off the last layer of insulation I was worn out! Then there were no instructions for putting it together, which annoyed me as I am NOT good at mechanical things, but it turned out to be pretty simple. I sat down on the sofa and gazed at the thing for a little while, wondering where I was going to put it (something I probably should have considered before I bought it) and imagining what it would be like to sit in front of the device every single morning for the next six months.
And then, because I like to play with new toys, I turned the HappyLight on. It hit my eyes like a flash of lightning. HELLO! Was it ever bright! I’ve been under tanning lights that were duller than this. I didn’t even look directly into it (the directions caution against doing this) but it was almost overwhelming. I even got a minor headache after sitting in front of the light for about ten minutes.
Nevertheless, I finally figured out what I was going to do with it and cleared off a table in my room. I placed the light box on it and turned it on again. Yes, I could live with this. It was right next to Will’s old chair, and I could be comfortable while playing on my phone and soaking up the artificial sunshine. Next morning I got up a little earlier than usual and plopped into the recliner, then turned on my HappyLight. I’d read that you should start out with 15 minutes and then work your way up to 30 minutes; I hoped the headache wouldn’t recur so I limited myself to that time while perusing the book Winter Blues, which had come with the HappyLight.
This morning I decided to go for the 30 minutes. It was funny because the Dish Network guy was working on my receiver as I sat in front of the light, just as if it was the most natural thing in the world. So far I haven’t noticed any effect, but as the book says, it can take as few as two days or as long as several weeks. The only danger in using a light is that some bipolar patients may become hypo/manic…but I know exactly what to do if that occurs, so I’m not too worried about it. (And who couldn’t use a little dose of hypo on these damp, gloomy days?) I’m not taking the HappyLight on vacation though; I’ll be getting plenty of real sunshine during the cruise. It’s only three weeks away!