Once upon a time, in my first year of medical school, two of my friends and I decided to go to South Carolina for spring break. It was February in Chicago, which equals cold, grey, and dismal. We were grumpy, we were tired, we were all contemplating making excuses to not go and to hole up in our respective houses for the week. But, we piled into my Jeep, and we headed for sunnier, beachier pastures.
And something really, really interesting happened.
Within two days of being there, I was feeling SO MUCH BETTER. I kind of overshot "better" a little, actually. I was up, and going, and focused. We stayed up late and I was still up way before my friends. I was sleeping like three hours a night and was just fine. Yeah, I was hypomanic. Which was mild, and productive, and actually kind of delightful. And started to wear off after a couple of days.
I don't know if what I "have" is technically Seasonal Affective Disorder. I tend to think of it more as light responsiveness. But the point is, I do way better with sunshine, less well with lack of sunshine (this is one of the many reasons I'm not a radiologist...). I've always sort of know that about myself, I often underrepresent it in the day to day.
But this morning...I woke up at three. I was up for a half hour or so. I went back to sleep. I woke up at ten to 5. None of this is all too unusual for my insomniac self, frankly. But then my alarm went off at 5:10. And after three whacks at the snooze bar...I was like...why is it so damn hard for me to get out of bed? Why has it been so hard since I got back from Hawaii? I wasn't even jet-lagged. I mean, I...um......oh.
So I rolled over and started Googling dawn simulators.
We had a lecture last week (on a grey, rainy day) about Seasonal Affective Disorder. And our attending spent a while extolling the virtue of light boxes and dawn simulators (Sparrow says to me today, what, can't you just open your blinds in the morning? Brat). And so I did a little research this morning...I did a little research later this evening...and one of the options I found on Amazon was this:
This gives a whole new meaning to "light on your feet."