Dark Therapy & Non-prescription Treatments
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Q:  Dark Therapy & Non-prescription Treatments

Dr. Phelps,

I am an English Teacher residing in Korea. I have suffered from severe mood swings
for as long as I can remember. I have never wanted to take any kind of drug or seek
psychiatric help.

In preparation for class I often search the internet for interesting articles to
discuss in class. At that time I came across a link to bipolar disorder that led me
to an article you wrote -"Dark Therapy".

I was astonished and felt hope for the first time in 35 years (my age). I started
keeping a journal about 2 years ago to record my thoughts and mood swings. I noticed
about 6 years ago that if I slept at least 12 or 14 hours I would wake up feeling
"normal" (for lack of a better word). If I went to bed at 2am I would wake up at
2-4pm. It was like clock work. I never made the connection between sleep/darkness
and my illness.

The change in me after prolonged sleep was amazing; however, I could not do it on a
regular basis. Prior to moving to Korea I was a mid level manager at Ikon Office
Soulutions with an annual income of over $100,000. The demands of my job did not
allow me to sleep for long periods and still get to work on time or have any kind of
social life after work. I became increasingly depressed and suicidal. Eventually, I
quit my job and "gave up". I ended up here in Korea teaching English and I currently
make only $1,000 to $1,500 a month, have no car and no possessions from my life in
America and yet I am much happier than I have ever been in my entire life, and more
importantly - on a consistent basis!!! It never occurred to me that the answer might
have been as simple as "dark therapy". I want to thank you for your article and if
you have any advice or help to offer that does not involve drugs please, please,
please respond back to me my request.


Dear Mr. J' --
I'm glad to hear that my little essay on darkness shed so much light on your history. I hope you continue to enjoy the smoother sailing. As for additional tools without pharmaceutical drugs, I think the data on fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) are accumulating to suggest that they have some antidepressants effects. How much of an additional benefit in terms of mood stabilizing one can get from them I'm not very certain; and the effects they do have on mood seem pretty subtle, but the good news is that they are relatively cheap (at least here in the U.S.) and so far, appear to be without any risks at all.  So, might be worth considering at some point if you have enough mood symptoms left as "targets". In case you haven't found it, here's my page on
fish oil. Good luck over there.

Dr. Phelps

Published March, 2006


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