I Am a Fair Weather Friend...The moment I heard of SAD, I knew I had it. I was 12 or 13 and it was still kind of a theory.
I hate it. I sometimes feel like it is its own breed of bipolar disorder. I am 2 different people - in the winter I am lazy and apathetic and will eat any carb in sight. In the summer I am extroverted and chipper and 5 pounds slimmer.
I refuse to take medication - the side effects suck - so I use my light for 30 minutes every morning. It is such a pain in the ***. If I want to get up to take the dog for a walk or go to the gym then I have to factor that in *plus* my light-time. 30 minutes is a lot when it's freezing and pitch black outside.
This winter was my first without antidepressants, which I am very proud of. I started my light in early September and kept it up until late April. 15 - 30 minutes a day. Everyday. I only missed a few days this year, and it made a huge difference. I also kept up with the Omega 3 and found that I can take St. John's Wort on an as-needed basis and feel results.
I think the most irritating part of SAD for me, though, is that other people don't get it. They seem to (finally) get *regular* depression, but seasonal depression - depression caused by cloudy days - somehow seems made up to people. Without saying so directly, it seems they feel that it's an imaginary illness, everyone feels lazier when it's cold and dreary! I should be able to just suck it up! Explaining my light is awkward, ducking out of plans in the winter when over the summer I was always ready to be social is confusing to people.
Even people who *claim* to get it seem irked by my lethargy when it inevitably rolls around in November. They seem confused when I get withdrawn or moody.
Every year I hope it will go away; that SAD was just a temporary fluke and now I'm fond of cloudy days. So far, it's a no go on that one, but I do feel that every year I get better and better and taking care of myself and managing my SAD.