This post is totally personal and has nothing to do with what I normally write about. But so many people have benefited from what I’ve learned about light therapy, I thought I should tell more people, and this is an easy way to do it.
Intense Fatigue and Depression
Three years ago in March, on a Sunday before I got up to speak at church, I found myself very tired and a bit weepy…sad about nothing. I didn’t think much about it, but throughout the week the tiredness grew and it became more of a heavy fatigue. I felt like I had lead in my veins, a sack of bricks on my back, and I felt like crying. I had no motivation. It got so bad that for a couple of Sundays I spoke sitting down, too light-headed and fatigued to stand.
I went to the doctor, got my blood tested, and found… nothing. It’s VERY frustrating to not know what’s wrong with you.
The fatigue stayed with me through May and then it vanished. End of story, I thought. But then the following February the same thing happened. Same symptoms. Same trip to the doctor with no solutions. It went away again in the summer.
Could Light Therapy Help?
I asked a doctor friend if this could be S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). He had no idea but he suggested trying light therapy, just in case. By now it was summer and I had no symptoms, so I had to wait to see if the symptoms would return come winter.
In November of 2016 I started using a therapy lamp every day for 30 minutes. I didn’t get any fatigue but I also didn’t know if that was a coincidence or because the light therapy helped. The only way to find out was to stop the treatment and see what happened.
I quickly found out. Whenever I lapsed using the light therapy, fatigue and depression settled in like a thick fog. Two days of light therapy would cause it to lift. I’ve got to tell you, this was GOOD NEWS.The fatigue and depression had become so debilitating I was concerned about my ability to continue as a pastor. People were starting to worry about me.
My S.A.D. Is Progressing
The first year my fatigue/depression began in March. The next year it was February. This year it started in November, catching me by surprise. I wasn’t sure if the symptoms were even from S.A.D. since it was so early in winter, but light therapy helped again.
My S.A.D. symptoms are definitely progressing: I”ve had to increase my time in front of the lamp from 30 to 45 minutes. If the need goes beyond an hour or beyond November, then I think I need to move south!
Is Light Therapy for You?
In the Northland where I live (Wisconsin) light sensitivity is an issue. But I’ve lived here all my life, so I never thought it would affect me. For whatever reason, things changed.
I mentioned my light therapy in a sermon one day last year and I was surprised how many people could relate to my symptoms and have since purchased a therapy lamp. I seem to be preaching a new kind of gospel these days. Like I said, so many people have been helped by my story, I wanted to reach more people in hopes of helping them too.
If you are reading this nodding your head, relating to my symptoms, I encourage you to give light therapy a try. There are a variety of lamps at a variety of prices, but the one I bought works well and it was only $55 at the time of this post. You can follow this link to see a big selection of lights or just do a google search for light therapy lamps. Get one that has at 10,000 LUX or more and has a big screen.
I sit in front of the lamp for 45 minutes EVERY DAY…no exceptions. I pay for it when I skip a day or reduce my time. Give it a try and let me know if it helps. And finally, here’s a helpful article to help you know how to use a therapy light.