Waiting for the Sunshine

Waiting for the Sunshine

Christine Tender Points

I’ll be honest. Creating this week’s column has been a challenge for me. I usually write about something that I’ve done or learned from the previous week. This week, I cannot do that. The truth is I’ve accomplished nothing this week. As always, because of my poor memory, each day I made a list of the things that needed doing the next day. I restrained myself from including the things I’d really like to do — if I had the energy to do them. (I’m sure that many of you reading this can relate to this situation.)

I’ve kept my lists simple and doable. Unfortunately, even doing that, I’ve accomplished nothing. Instead of enjoying the satisfaction of crossing tasks off my lists as I completed them, I found myself adding undone items to the next day’s list and feeling bad about myself for doing so.

And then I remembered the weather. We have this phenomenon here called June Gloom. I’m not making this up. It’s a real thing. Summer doesn’t arrive at the Los Angeles coast until July. Drive 10 miles inland, and there’s bright blue sky and glorious sunshine. But, here near the ocean, we have low clouds and fog, resulting in cold, dark weather during June. (If you’re ever planning a beach vacation in southern California, you may want to keep this little-known fact in mind.)

Of course, there are positive aspects to the weather here as well. On average we enjoy 292 days of sunshine a year. Even considering June Gloom, that’s a huge improvement over my former home in central New York where they boast 161 sunny days a year, only 63 of which are totally sunny. That, and the fact that I suffer greatly from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), were major motivators for my move across the country.

So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about the past week. Most days I didn’t see the sun until noon — if at all. After living here for 16 years, I’ve gotten spoiled. I expect to see the sun when I awaken each morning. If it’s not there, I really miss it.

Every June since I’ve lived here, I’ve experienced a worsening of many of my symptoms — increased depression, pain, and fatigue, as well as loss of appetite. In short, I feel bad. And every June, I consider buying one of those light boxes that are reported to be effective for SAD. Then I’m reminded that they don’t work right away. It takes a few weeks of daily exposure for at least 30 minutes each day before the box has an effect. I’ve reasoned that by the time I would experience any improvement, there would be plenty of free sunshine to solve my issue. That reasoning has saved me anywhere from $30 to $300, depending on how elaborate the box is. However, as I continue to have the symptoms, that purchase was tempting me again.

But before I considered Amazon, I checked with weather.com. They’re predicting four more days of cloudy mornings followed by afternoon sun. The long-term forecast shows bright sunshine for months to come after that. I’ve decided I can make it through four more days of partial gloom. With any luck, we’ll have plenty of sun before next week’s column is due.

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

One comment

  1. Rachel Nador says:

    Hi, I work for Northern Light Technologies. We are a bright light therapy company that manufactures in Montreal, Qc, Canada.
    I hope you consider a light, there is no need to feel sad for a whole month every year.
    To avoid having to “wait” for the light to take affect, if you know your systems start in June begin using the light in May and continue use in June until outdoor light becomes sufficient again.

    If you have any questions about bright light therapy you can give us a call at 1-800-263-0066

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