SEATTLE – Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), commonly referred to as “winter depression” affects up to 10% of the population. The main cause for this mood disorder is lack of sunlight. A disappointing survey, however, suggests that full-spectrum lighting, when powered by solar panels, does little to alleviate melancholy.
“I’d say I’m depressed about 8 months out of the year,” said Hal Boswell, part-time motivational speaker, “Mainly because my body doesn’t have the opportunity to make serotonin from the light of the sun.”
Therapy vs Idealism
A common treatment for winter-based seasonal affective disorder is light therapy. Artificial light containing the full electromagnetic spectrum, replaces the benefits of direct sunlight, with the exception of vitamin D.
“So I took some vitamin D and then plopped down in front of my new NatureBright SunPlus Touch lamp,” moaned Hal, “But then I became bored and lonely so I called up some of my environmentalist friends to see how the environment was going. Bad idea. They got me thinking about fossil fuels and non-renewable energy. Thereafter, for each watt consumed by the bulb I could only think about coal pollutants coming out of smokestacks. My depression just got worse.”
Clinical studies have shown that an increasing cause of depression – completely unrelated to SAD – is from anxieties related to the destruction of the ecosystem and the impending doom of an uncertain future for mankind. In the case of Boswell, this can cause catch-22 problems when he relies on conventional energy to power his cure for a separate form of depression.
Part-Time Highest Potential
“I was actually lucky to have a lucrative motivational speaking engagement entitled ‘Live Up To Your Potential, June to September,’” explained Hal. “It allowed me to afford solar panels for my apartment. Unfortunately, Seattle is cloudy 6 out of every 7 days except during the summer, and so now I live completely in the dark, without using any of my appliances except for my NatureBright SunTouch lamp. But even, I only have enough power for it to emit the softest glow, and it hardly illuminates the tip of my chin.”
Hal Boswell is currently writing a personal development book called, “8 Effective Habits of Depressed Environmentalists With Dim Phototherapy Lamps.” The book should reach a wide demographic and is scheduled for completion in three years, because he can only power up his desktop iMac four months out of the year.
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Photos: JacobMatcalf/flickr (lamp) and Broma/flickr (depressed guy) and Amy Loves Jah (flashlight)