Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lamictal 150 mgs: The Days Grow Shorter, My Mood Grows Lower, I Break Out the Sun Lamp

After feeling pretty damn good for awhile, mood wise, I think I'm beginning to slip.  I've noticed it over the past couple of days.  I feel slightly depressed throughout the day, even in the morning, and then slump in my usual late-afternoon time slot.

The Fall Equinox doesn't happen officially for another couple of days, but there's been something about the quality of the light recently that tells me it's fall.  The days have grown noticeably shorter.  The shadows have grown noticeably longer.  The angle of the sun is different.

The sad thing is that autumn used to be one of my favorite times of year.  I love it when the leaves change, when the harvest comes in, and when the energy around me speeds up in preparation for winter.  I guess I love seasonal changes in general, which maybe makes California a silly place for me to live.

Anyway, since coming off Zoloft a few years ago, and basically un-sedating myself in the process, autumn brings apprehension.  At the very least, I can expect my concentration to suffer.  Some years it's my mood.  Last year it was my very sanity.

I'm feeling so crappy that I don't have the energy to exercise today.  I'm even struggling to write this blog post.  Short, straightforward ones like this usually take about half an hour, and I've been at this for an hour and a half.  I'm doing a little better since moving into my art studio (full-spectrum bulbs) and setting up my sun lamp.  Sun lamps are the bomb, by the way.

I didn't start using a sun lamp until last year, after the psychotic episode, when my pdoc ordered me to.  It was suggested to me several times by several people, including my pdoc, but I told myself that the light in my art studio would take care of it.  Turns out it doesn't.

Sun lamps are designed to emit at least 10,000 lux, which is the amount of sunlight you receive when you're outside on a sunny summer day.  In order for it to be effective, you have to set it up about 12-18 inches away from you, preferably around eye level or slightly above.  You don't need to stare into the light, but it is a good idea to glance at it occasionally.  The light needs to reach your eyes, which have a direct connection to the pineal gland, which in turn turns down the secretion of melatonin (the chemical that runs your circadian rhythms).  It's basically impossible for any other kind of lighting to make this happen.

Back when I started taking lamictal, I fervently hoped that I'd be able to stop at 100 mgs.  At this moment I'm looking forward to 200 mgs.  The sun lamp seems to be helping, but not as much as I'd like. I feel pretty awful right now.  "Down" is the best way to describe it.  I'm feeling down, my energy is down, my interest in doing anything is down.  Bleh.

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