Wintertime productivity snowed by SAD

By Nancy Larin
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/21/2003

Neil Wagner grew up in northern Minnesota. For him, the winter blues turned boot black. He couldn’t get out of bed, felt overwhelmed by life and even entertained the idea of suicide. His mother and brother also exhibited symptoms with the onset of fall much darker than the more common winter or holiday blues.

After college, Wagner followed the call of snowcapped mountains and raging rivers to become an Alaskan river pilot. But only during the summer months. He escaped his as yet unnamed, undiagnosed seasonal depression during the fall and winter months by wintering in Australia or the south western U.S

But, Alaska is where Wagner’s soul is. Unfortunately, his SAD symptoms escalated, with the fewer daylight hours of northern winters. And with age and family responsibilities, he doesn’t exercise or spend as much time outside as he used to. He learned about light therapy from a fellow sufferer in Seattle. “These lights let me settle in Alaska,” he said.