So maybe you’ve heard of Blue Monday…? January 15, the saddest day of the year. This 13 year old hoax needs a little straightening out. See if you agree. Blue Monday? What does that have to do with psychiatry?
Pretty much nothing … but let me explain.
In 2005, a guy named Dr. Cliff Arnall in Wales devised a formula for determining the single saddest, most depressing day of the year.
Was he a neurologist? No. A psychiatrist? Not even close.
He was actually working to help a travel agency determine the most likely day that people would book a tropical holiday. The “psychology” behind it measured up to this: When you feel the worst, you want to escape. Get away. So what’s the next best thing…? A vacation on the beach! Once you’ve set up the get-away, you have something to look forward to, and you feel excited about it, and life gets easier. At least that’s the theory.
The “Gloominess” Calculation
And what did he base his calculations on to determine when you’ll feel the worst?
Of course, it had to land on a Monday…who likes Mondays..? Plus, it had to be after the long stretch of holiday excitement from Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years was past.
And it needed to be far enough past Christmas shopping that you’d have received the bills and wish you’d spent less. And far enough past January 1st to have broken your New Year’s resolutions.
Then…add to that the gloomy winter weather, the overcast skies… remember he didn’t live in Southern California, but in Wales…the cold and snow and rain, and the short days and long nights at that time of year.
So in Arnall’s equation to the right, W=weather, D=debt, d=monthly salary, T=time since Christmas, Q=time since failing new year’s resolutions, M=low motivational levels and Na=the feeling for a need to take action.
Now, rather than taking the time to disprove his equation, let’s just be real. Arnall was quite pleased that he was paid for his clever equation, which earned him 1650 British Pounds, or about $2265.93 in US dollars. A drop in the bucket compared to the revenue gained by the travel agency who hired him. For them, it was a great ROI.
Internet Advertising … Is It Always True?
But the fact is, there is no truth to the idea that January 15 is the saddest day of the year. Just as there is no truth to Audi’s “Truth in Engineering” slogan, since we all know they cheated on the emissions tests with about half a million cars. Not as truthful as they claim, are they?
Audi’s slogan is part of a PR marketing campaign intended to sell cars, and Arnall’s formula was part of a PR campaign intended to drive business to a travel agency. Neither one was a scam, but rather a marketing gimmick.
And the fact remains, he just made it up!
There is NO saddest day of the year. And if this time of the year is hard for you, that may be a seasonal problem. And we can help with treatment, if you need it.
So, my suggestion is that social media participants stop aiding and abetting this 2005 advertising gimmick, so that we can talk about things like sadness, moodiness, and depression in real and helpful ways.
SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment
This time of year can be difficult for those who are sensitive to light, or the lack of it. While some are unaffected by these short, overcast days, you may be one who is deeply affected by the cloud cover, the cold, the gloominess…
And if that happens, it’s great to do something to brighten your mood. Go to a movie, or get your hair done, maybe shop for a new shirt. If that helps you feel a lighter mood, then you’ve accomplished a worthwhile goal.
Some people know that this mood slide begins early in the fall, every year. And you might find that light therapy helps. The idea is to use a 10,000 LUX light box or lamp for about 30 minutes very early in the morning to replace the light you’re missing in your environment. There are some variables to this depending on you, related to how far the light is placed from your eyes, and how much you can tolerate the brightness.
One of the ways around this to to use a visor with a 10K lux light on the inner brim. They are so versatile and easy to wear that you can walk around, make a cup of coffee, make the bed, get ready for your day, all while wearing the visor. You’re not stuck sitting still in front of a light on a table.
For some people this can really help. For others with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), even light therapy might not be enough. SAD is also called winter depression and it can occur episodically, just when fall strikes, and last through spring. Sometimes, people who have depression chronically or who have frequent episodes always seem to have a seasonal exacerbation — a winter worsening. And an antidepressant along with light therapy may bring you relief.
However, some people suffer so severely from depression when it occurs as seasonal affective disorder, winter after winter, that they have periods when they can’t function at all. And just like any form of severe depression, seasonal affective disorder can be crippling, even devastating.
Where you’re too sluggish to function, and you feel hopeless, helpless, fatigued, and gloomy. And gloominess advances to despondency… Despondency may even progress to thoughts of ending your life.
If this sounds familiar…if you’re feeling this way and having thoughts you haven’t admitted to anyone yet, there is hope.
In fact, there’s more than HOPE. There’s a SOLUTION.
IV Ketamine Treatment Beats SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder
Until the last several years, only a third of depressed patients were helped by antidepressants. Which has been wonderful for those patients, but what about those who didn’t improve?
Well for those, another 1/3 felt some improvement with a second try using another antidepressant, or a combination of medications.
And for those who did find help, life had hope again. They could return to work, resume their lives and relationships.
But what about the 1/3 who were left in the pits of depression and despair…? What about them?
There’s now another form of treatment for severe depression, and it is as effective for severe seasonal affective disorder, or severe winter depression, as it is for depression any time of the year. It’s called IV ketamine treatment, and it’s not just 33% effective. IV ketamine treatment is effective in treating 80% of treatment-resistant cases of depression at Innovative Psychiatry in South Windsor, CT.
That means that if you’ve tried medications and treatments that haven’t helped, you may be a good candidate for IV ketamine treatment.
IV Ketamine Treatment Operates Like a S.W.A.T. Team Against Depression
Ketamine acts on different aspects of the brain than traditional antidepressants. Rather than affecting serotonin or dopamine receptors, it works on rebuilding the synapse branches that connect nerve cells in the brain to each other.
Let’s pretend you’re in the old west. And you need to get a message to your family in Boston that you’ve arrived safely in San Francisco. You want to send a message by telegraph. So you go to the telegraph office, and they tell you that the lines have gone down between San Francisco and Boston due to tornadoes and fires. There’s no connection.
And you can’t reach anyone until all those lines are repaired.
IV Ketamine Treatment at Work
The synapse connections from signaling cells to more signaling cells in your brain have been broken down, weakened, or destroyed by the stress of depression. This is what depression does to your brain, and these connections have to be repaired and restored so you can get the information signals moving fast around your brain. When that happens, you’ll feel upbeat again.
IV ketamine treatment helps clear away the old broken branches, called dendrites and dendritic spines, to make way for new ones. Then it goes to work fast to rebuild new healthy, resilient connections that proliferate throughout your brain.
The result? Your sad, dark, depressed brain comes alive and lights up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve!
All that activity and signaling lightens your mood brighter and brighter, restores your motivation, your hope, your energy, and your creativity…and you feel better. So much better, it may be the best you ever remember feeling.
IV ketamine treatment also stimulates mRNA to switch on DNA to turbo boost brain-derived-neurotrophic-factors (BDNA). BDNA is like a rich compost in the brain that helps to stimulate prolific and rampant growth of dendrites and dendritic spines in the synapse connections.
Another of ketamine’s talents involves moving lazy G proteins off their lipid rafts and back to work to enhance the signaling communication.
If your winters are too hard to bear, call us. Let’s talk about options that just may be available for you. And you can dance on your way to work, and twinkle about the joy of building a warm fire to sit by when you get home at the end of the day.
There’s hope for your winters.
To the liberation of your best self,
Lori Calabrese, MD