The relationship between depression and sunlight

I’ve come to a conclusion in the past few weeks…I need sun to live.

It’s been cloudy and rainy the past month, something that is very unusual. I’ve found myself having a hard time getting up and going in the morning. I find myself wanting to burrow under the covers with a good book and wanting to stay there all day (not that I can ever do that, but I want to). I find myself not wanting to do all the things I need to do, and then suddenly a sunny day will pop up, and I’m doing great. The sun is out and I’m ready to go and run around town doing errands, visiting with friends, talking a walk etc. It’s amazing the difference I feel. I rarely notice how much I need the sun because I live in Texas and it’s always sunny. Apparently I’ve taken it for granted.

Almost every doctor I’ve ever seen in the past few years has accused me of being depressed. I am not depressed at this time in my life, but I’m starting to see how I could be. I’m starting to understand why I was so depressed as a teenager  (I grew up in the north). While it was part teenage angst,  I think a bigger part was I didn’t see the sun for months at a time. Plus in the winter I would get up in the dark and I would go home in the dark, I rarely even saw daylight. No wonder I was so miserable!

All this has led me to thinking about sun and it’s relationship with depression. I know about Seasonal Affective Disorder or (ironically) SAD which is blamed on our circadian rhythms and sunlight deficiency,  but I honestly wonder if there is a stronger link than just our circadian rhythms being out of whack from shorter days.  Of course, doctors can’t control the sun or how much we get of it, so we’ll probably not hear a lot about the links between the two (if you can’t sell a pill, then who cares?) but it’s an interesting fact to consider.

 I am not saying that all depression can be cured by sunlight, that’s ridiculous, but I certainly wonder if it plays a stronger roll then we give it credit for.

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