Tag Archives: depression

Light Therapy Lifted My Depression and Fatigue from S.A.D.

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 light therapyhe 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.


Bruce Springsteen’s Depression

I enjoyed reading the current New Yorker on article on Bruce Springsteen. It gave an overview of his musical career along with insight into his inner workings.  What I found especially interesting was what it said about Bruce Springsteen’s depression.

Bruce Springsteen's Depression

Bruce Springsteen’s Depression

It’s always interesting to learn about the humanity of an icon. Springsteen spoke of his struggles  with depression and self-loathing. Self-loathing?  Bruce Springsteen?  This is from the article…

Bruce Springsteen’s Depression

He was feeling suicidal,” Springsteen’s friend and biographer Dave Marsh said. “The depression wasn’t shocking, per se. He was on a rocket ride, from nothing to something, and now you are getting your ass kissed day and night. You might start to have some inner conflicts about your real self-worth.”Springsteen was playing concerts that went nearly four hours, driven, he has said, by “pure fear and self-loathing and self-hatred.”

I was teaching today about Healing the Hurts of Your Past, discussing the source of shame. Someone shared that their shame didn’t come from their failure. It came from their success.   The more A’s they got in school and the prettier they looked, the more they felt unworthy of all the credit they accrued.

In the same way, Springsteen’s success made him start to feel like an impostor. Who was he to be so successful? Who was he to sing about the working class when he was now a multi-millionaire? The article continues…

He played that long (four-hour concerts) not just to thrill the audience but also to burn himself out. Onstage, he held real life at bay.

“My issues weren’t as obvious as drugs,” Springsteen said. “Mine were different, they were quieter—just as problematic, but quieter. With all artists, because of the undertow of history and self-loathing, there is a tremendous push toward self-obliteration that occurs onstage. It’s both things: there’s a tremendous finding of the self while also an abandonment of the self at the same time. You are free of yourself for those hours; all the voices in your head are gone. Just gone. There’s no room for them. There’s one voice, the voice you’re speaking in.”

Springsteen said that the only way he could cope with his self-loathing and depression was through years of therapy. It’s what kept him sane.

No one is above depression. Fame and fortune are no guarantee of the good life or peace of mind. In fact, it might guarantee the opposite unless you have your head on straight.

There’s different things that speak to depression and self-loathing but what I’ve found to help people is rooted in what God says about us and not our latest performance.

Question: How has your success caused you to doubt yourself, get depressed and/or even loathe yourself. Leave your comment below.

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Perfectionism and Depression

Taylor Bucholz was a major league pitcher who had to quit due to his depression and perfectionism. From the article in the Delaware County Daily Times it says…

Perfectionism and Depression

Perfectionism and Depression

For much of the past two years, he has put up a false front. A façade of a happy-go-lucky major league relief pitcher who loved the sport he had played since he was a 5-year-old in the Springfield Athletic Association.

“It was all a big lie,” Buchholz said. “I put this fake smile on and pretended everything was all right until I finally just cracked and said, ‘I need to get help.’ I hit a wall. There was something truly wrong with me.”

Buchholz, 30, has been diagnosed with a form of depression. He also suffers from an anxiety disorder.

Both issues manifested into a perfect storm for Buchholz, a perfectionist who was recovering from a long-term injury.

“Being a perfectionist is a double-edged sword,” said Buchholz, a Daily Times Player of the Year as a Springfield High senior in 2000. “You have to be one, to an extent, to succeed on that level. But I let that take over. Perfectionism led to a downward spiral for me.”

Perfectionism’s Downward Spiral

Has perfectionism led to a downward spiral for you?  Are you afraid of not measuring up? Are you afraid of being as good as yesterday’s performance followed by a crushing depression and then anger at yourself for not coming through? And what about the weight of living the  lie that Bucholz talked about? Is that true for you too?

What would life be like if you could come out from under the weight of those expectations? That’s what God offers you; the ability to walk away from that load. When you are convinced of your worth in God’s eyes you no longer have to live under that burden. You are accepted.  You aren’t a disappointment. You are your Father’s child and no one can take that away from you. This sense of acceptance is what releases you from the weight of perfectionism.

Question: How has perfectionism led to a downward spiral for you? Leave your comment below.

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