Here comes the sun, duh-duh-duh-d-—oops, now it's gone. Welcome to fall, where chaos and darkness reign, and the light hightails it out of here at quarter to five on the dot, the goddamn coward. It's been 10 days since "daylight saving time" retracted her embrace, and how are we all feeling? Terrible. Exactly. What can we do about it? Well.
Get a lightbox
The only person I ever saw employ one of these things at work was an old boss of mine who also sat on a cushion that I am pretty sure was made out of polar bear fur, thus nullifying any sane act she went on to commit in the future. Still, for people with S.A.D. (I know), doctors recommend 30 minutes of 10,000 lux light (a universal unit of light intensity) per day, an hour of 5,000 lux light or two hours of 2,500 lux light. Indoor lighting is around 100 lux, and the full brunt of a sunny day is 50,000 lux or more. It should come as no surprise that the warming glow of your email won't quite cut it.
Spend time outside during the four minutes a day there's actually light out
It was 70 degrees last week, people. Just because the sun is going down around noon doesn't mean that it's already too frigid to go for a nice walk during lunch, or do a couple of unobtrusive Chaturangas next to the food truck, or a few dozen crunches on the 4th Avenue median, or a enjoy light game of tennis on the BQE. Watch out for cars and rats.
All. Of. Them. Vitamins, percocets, the fuzzy mystery ones at the bottom of your purse. Advil. Different pills will do different things—some, like Vitamin B tablets, are regarded as natural mood enhancers and will help perk you up. Others, like Prilosec, won't do much for your mood but will probably clear up your heartburn. The key is to take the drugs indiscriminately and completely at random. You know the sun is going down at 4:45 p.m., but you don't know whether you just popped a breath mint or a hit of acid. Party hard, old sock!
Hit up therapy
You live in NYC and have ghosts, so odds are good you already visit a therapist anyway. Talk to your therapist about how the early onset darkness makes you feel, how it's a metaphor for the sun setting on your life, how the darkness is like the veil of sadness that settled over your consciousness so many years ago. Your therapist will cock her head to one side and nod slowly, which will make you feel understood. She will tell you to spend time in the sun, to go for a walk and, if she's that kind of therapist, to pop some pills. (She'll suggest specific options; I respectfully disagree.)
This is going to get tough as the weather starts to deteriorate, but we're not there yet, damn it. Running is a miserable endeavor, and what better way to celebrate your freshly unearthed depression than by engaging in the only activity that matches it in wretchedness? When you first begin running, you'll think of only how dark and shitty it is, but gradually, as your breath becomes labored and the sweat starts to gather in the crease of your out-of-shape spine, those thoughts will give way to new ones, like the cramp in your side and why your legs are so itchy. Soon, you'll be aware only of the screaming in your head, and maybe in the background, this.
If you must, you can always head to the gym, where the lights are always ON and women in belted thong leotards are always doing reps of synchronized hip thrusts, I assume.?
Remember that the absence of sun doesn't automatically mean you have to be asleep. Oh, you knew that? OK me too. This is week two of the Eternal Darkness, and one of two things has probably happened to you: 1) You've accepted your fate and have started looking forward to the benefits of the season, like Thanksgiving. You love Thanksgiving! What a great time to go on a bender with friends, pausing occasionally to eat some stuffing. That's a very well-adjusted attitude. You probably shouldn't be reading this.
2) You're realizing that this is only the beginning, that these are the first, tentative steps into a marathon of bleak despair. It will only get colder, and darker, until one day, you just can't take it anymore. You'll look at the calendar, and find that it's only....January 5. Better buy another light therapy box. And another, and another. Cover yourself in them until you can't move. This is called "hibernating," and though it's primarily practiced by bears and Europeans, there's no reason you can't do it, too. See you in the spring.