Reflections on my life....havenplace.co.uk

SAD and Me

It was in 1995 that I first became aware that I suffered with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

There's a bit about how it affects me below, but I've now set up a website devoted to it=>

My SAD Website - a specialist site for SAD sufferers with an holistic approach to managing the symptoms.

My own story continues........

How did I beat SAD?

Well, I never beat it, but I have learned to recognise the symptoms and the treatments and approaches I use work very well.

The Consolations of Philosophy

If you are inclined on balance to a less-than-positive view of life (for example, "it's all b*****x and then you're dead"), you might find, as I did, that some reading helps. Specifically, a friend recommended "The Consolations of Philosophy" to me. The book gave me a much broader historical perspective of life. Also, I found "Status Anxiety" (by the same author, Alain de Botton) very thought provoking - it reminds me that our measurement scale of success today (wealth and/or fame) is purely arbitrary, and will change. I re-read them both occasionally as they re-ground me. Also, I retain a bit more at each read, then at dinner parties I can trot out an idiots guide to philosphy :-) There are reviews of the books on my book review page on this site.


St Johns Wort

I've been taking this natural remedy since 1985, and I have to say it has changed my life. I still take it.

When the autumn is approaching, I do still get a bit blue, but I know I will start the upturn in the New Year. And since I've been using a lightbox, it's been even better.

Don't worry, it's not all advertising....



 Mast Climbing  


Regular exercise can improve the feel-good factor through release of hormones in the brain. I probably need to get more exercise! I do get to climb my masts from time to time!

Music & Dancing

Uplifting and high tempo music cheers me considerably – I have my favourite tracks such as Madelena by Kaleidocopio. It evokes memories of Brazil and the Brazilians – they seem to take such joy in life! Have a listen to Kaleidoscopio - favourite track the Brazilian classic Madelena


The best tonic, or so they say. I'll sum it up by saying that I keep Man Walks into a Bar: The Ultimate Collection of Jokes and One-liners by my bed. Thousands of jokes, arranged by subject, and always gets a laugh. I have 2 copies!

And, my favourite films - "Life of Brian" with that oh so positive anthem, together with "The Meaning of Life". Both by the Monty Python crew of course. Laughter, like exercise, releases those cheering brain chemicals. Works for me!




Recently, I bought a SAD lightbox. This is a box containing fluorescent tubes or LEDs with a very high intensity. I switch it on before getting out of bed, and have it on most of the day when working at my desk - I need a light in the winter anyway. It's very economical to run, about 33 watts with high luminosity output. It's also possible to get SAD alarm clocks which gradually raise the light level in the morning. 

I'd recommend this lightbox - it offers good value for money (watts per £), is German made and can be wall mounted.  


Sunny Holidays

In 2006, I was lucky enough to sail to Brazil and enjoy Carneval. The sunlight was very bright, and the length of the day is fairly constant in the tropics. I can recommend a visit to Salvador for Carneval in February. That winter, I had no SAD at all. There were a few hangovers to cope with, though. The caparinhas are unbeatable!

 Rio from Niteroi 

Rio de Janeiro - this shot taken from the hill behind Niteroi (often called the forgotten city).


Caparinha Recipe

1 tumbler of crushed ice

1 lime chopped coarsely

2 dessert spoons white sugar

Quick whizz in the blender, pour into tumbler, top up with Cachasa (white rum - ideally Brazilian)

Note: it is said that alcohol is a depressant

There is more detail about symptoms, onset and so on in my e-article in the Articles section of this site.

Even More Info?

I recommend the Dummies book - I've got a few books in this series. They are well organised and written in a way which is easy to digest.



Cruising Horizons eZine 

Springer Spanielsspringer spaniel companion