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FOCAL POINT (article for publishing 10/7/01)


They've coined a new one. Just when we were coming to grips with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) "they" changed it to ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyper-activity Disorder). Just as we people helpers were getting used to working with a CAT (Crisis Assessment Team), we had to learn to deal with the CMT ( Crisis Management Teams). Now this one takes the cake, SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder). Yes, I don't like winter and I'm excited when the 22/6/01 solstice passes and yes I'm hanging to the blankets these icy mornings, but SAD? So what do you do with SAD-ness? Professor Graham Burrows, head of Psychiatry at the Austin and Repatriation Medical Center, said in the Herald / Sun last Monday; 1/ Sufferers should seek help from a GP, Psychiatrist or Psychologist, and 2/ They should undergo "Light Therapy" and or take medicine. " Light Therapy" equals sitting in front of a light for an hour a day as long as SAD symptoms persist. Now am I being trite or ignorant or just a recalcitrant to suggest to the good Professor such simple remedies such as sunlight exposure, a breath of fresh air, good company and or the planting of a garden that blooms on dark days? My garden is blooming right now with yellow Chinese Lantern, purple Lasiandra and fragrant Jonquils. The daffodils, arum lilies and pansies are starting to bloom as well. I recently spoke with a GP who agreed with my assertion that around 70% of clients coming through the surgery did not have a medical problem. My guess is that a lack of a supportive relationship, the lack of a job within which to practice ones work ethic, or a lack of connectedness to a community, renders our bodies, minds and emotions arguably more incapacitated than most medical illnesses. SAD is it not? But if it's "light" that we need , I wonder if we should consider one of Jesus' famous quotes, when He claimed of Himself, "I am the Light of the world". Seeing Jesus spoke more about relationships with Himself and others, than anything else, I wonder if we should try to come a little closer to the Light" and secure a cure for our SAD-ness. 

Graeme Dawson.


Focal Point Yarra Valley 2009