Let There Be Light

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!


Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

4 thoughts on “Let There Be Light

  1. That reminds me of years ago when such lights were hard to find and expensive. A friend wanted one, but could not afford it. Being a Maker, I decided to make him one. I got many of the parts at a big warehouse home improvement center. When I got to the checkout, the clerk got a puzzled look and said that the register said that he had to contact a manager. The manager came out and had to look at my driver’s license and fill out a DEA form. It seems that the parts I bought were considered parts of a marijuana growing operation! I got the light built and wow, was it bright! He used it that winter, but not the winters after, which kind of bummed me out. It did seem to help him a lot when he did use it.

    Liked by 1 person

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