Monday, November 19, 2007

SAD Can Kill You

I need to explain why I have been so quiet of late

I’ve been living in the Northern hemisphere for more than five years now. Winters with snow were a novelty for a Boertjie from the Southern tip of Africa. So what if it gets minus 25 degrees Celsius? You can dress up warm and don’t have to be out in the elements for more than a few minutes at a time. That however, wears off and after four winters one begins to swear along with the rest the moment it starts getting colder.

Sweden has the highest suicide rate in the world. A lot of people scoff at this and blame it on Swedish efficiency i.e. Sweden was the first country in the world that kept statistics of suicides. The rest of the world is only starting to wake up now and their records thus not as up to date as the Swedes.

Another reason put forward for the high suicide figures is SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) A terrible depression brought on by the lack of daylight. Over and above the feeling of utter worthlessness one struggles to get out of bed and have absolutely no energy. Typing one line on a computer seems to be just too much effort and thus do not materialize.

Fortunately the treatment for this disorder is simple and fast. Light therapy is effective in 85% of diagnosed cases within four days. What it entails is one to two hours exposure per day to a light source with at least ten times the intensity of ordinary domestic lighting. One sits about three feet away from the box housing these lights and can carry on with tasks like reading or writing. Staring directly into the light is not necessary but also not harmful to the eyes.

Unfortunately the diagnoses for this disorder are not so straight-forward. Primarily because the symptoms include misery, guilt and loss of self-esteem and are thus slow to be acknowledged by the afflicted. Avoidance of social contact is also very common.

SAD hit me about a week ago and I can vouch for its destructive capabilities.

A few more treatments to light and I will be back to my normal revolting self again.


Fred Khumalo said...

Shame, poor Gerrie. This SAD is indeed SAD. What are you still waiting for? For SAD to touch you with its tentacles? I fear your love for the morbid!

Gerrie Hugo said...

Thanks for your comments Fred. I am a big fan.

Anonymous said...

SAD touches us all...and yes, it is indeed SAD. What are we ALL waiting for, all of us who are expats? ... we're waiting for our ancient European genes to help us adjust to this 'new world' after having had to survive and having adjusted to the sometimes harsh Southern African climate.

Anonymous said...

It also helps to give true meaning to your life, if you lay off the alcohol and get a full-time job instead of living off welfare.

You are like to other leeches in the UK and Europe, who emanate mainly from Africa and Eastern Europe, where 'work ethic' and integrity, is as alien as personal cleanliness or dental hygiene.....