Friday, August 29, 2008

Shedding some light on the situation

I couldn't help but notice that the days are getting shorter yet again. It's not like we live in Panama or Sri Lanka where the sun sets and rises every day at 6pm and 6am every day of the year. The amount of light we receive changes over the course of the year. Speaking as a person with a mood disorder, it's something that effects us more than you'd think to ever give it credit for.

It hasn't hit me yet but when I start losing light exposure I tend to hit more down emotional phases. The bleakness of winter is not just about the cold but very much has to do with natural light. The same could be said for when the days start getting longer as I have my most manic moments on the long days of midsummer.

Sometimes knowing what affects your mood is half the battle. Being aware that you could be extra cranky since it's a short day could assist you in self-awareness and patience. Perhaps, even avoiding certain stressful situations during these times altogether. The sun is worshiped in some fashion or another in every culture and religion. While it's not so obvious as having a sun god like Ra or Apollo, the allegory is in our current religions. Our ancestors had much more of their direct livelihood attached to the sun. Since we look at the sun more as a good or bad weather day we don't take in consideration at how much its light effects our moods and our bodies.

Like plants we actually convert sunlight into nutrients. It's just not our main source of energy like photosynthesis but we get vitamin D from sunlight. Since we live longer lives, skin cancer has become something we get frightened about. We smear goop on our bodies, use shade umbrellas and stay indoors to prevent getting burned and get too many future moles or leathery skin. Altho, some of us do still seek out to get a good tan. If you think about it, those people tend to have a sunnier disposition. After all, I can't ever recall a surfer flipping out with rage except for maybe Point Break, but that was a movie and not real life.

If I had my druthers, I'd just move to the opposite hemisphere after each equinox. That way I'd be a manic fool but at least I'd appear to be happy. I'd even give up winter lagers and ales if I had to as a condition. However, I'm not sure if I could deal with my toilet swirling in a clockwise direction.

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