Monday, October 24, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #114 - Erin Puts the Title Here Or She Gets The Hose Again

Would you listen to us? I'd listen to us. I'd listen to us so hard.
  • Beth talks about teaching firearms classes for women, what she gets out of it, and why women come to her classes.
  • Sean takes a closer look at the killer in a murder-suicide at Forsyth County Medical Center.
  • Barron is back from his epic family vacation across the West. What tech tools did he use to make his trip easier?
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin discuss the intersection of depression and gun ownership, and why the "No guns for the mentally ill" argument can be used against non-crazy gun owners who just need to see a doctor now and then.
  • Hurricane Tiffany is back home after a whirlwind tour of New York City and San Antonio, Texas. Strap in as she tells you of her amazing adventures being our best ambassador EVAR!
  • Are you feeling SAD? Does less light in the winter months cause you Seasonal Affective Disorder? Erin talks about what you can do to fix it.
  • It appears that Dan Savage likes getting smacked around by Weer'd. He's back for another Patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™.
  • Our plug of the week the NSSF's website
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Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

BCP Segment Transcript:

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This past week has been pretty rough for me, Sean, and apparently for a lot of other people as well.

I don’t know if it’s the change in weather, or the poop-slinging crapfest that is this election, or something else entirely, but many of my friends have felt moody, irritable, and downright misanthropic lately.

Last weekend, I started getting one of my periodic cravings to withdraw from the world. It doesn’t happen often for me -- maybe every three to six months -- and for about 5 days I just want to be left alone and not deal with people at all. During these periods, which I see as a time of renewal like a field going fallow, I just keep to myself and catch up on my sleep and my reading. It’s basically a staycation, only inside my bedroom.

Everyone needs some alone time, and I wrote a great article about it on Blue Collar Prepping, which I encourage people to read. But just when I thought I had come out of it and was ready to face the world and deal with people again… it felt like depression crept up behind me and hit me with a knockout blow. I’m not sure what caused it, but since many of my friends are having similar issues and are blaming it on the change of seasons, I figured now would be a good time to talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

Very simply, SAD is a kind of depression that happens when the seasons change. It is most common during the fall winter, although spring and summer SAD also happen. About 5% of the US population suffer from some version of it. SAD usually manifests during puberty, like so many things, and it’s more common in women than in men.

The spring and summer version, which I’m not familiar with, has these symptoms: insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, weight gain or loss, social withdrawal, and decreased sex drive.

The fall and winter version is something I’m acquainted with, because my mother has it. The symptoms are: difficulty waking up in the morning, nausea, tendency to oversleep; a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to overeating and weight gain; a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities, and decreased sex drive.

Now some of you may be wondering what this has to two with preparedness, and the answer is twofold: One, SAD is something that can be treated and possibly even prevented with a bit of foresight, so it’s something that can be prepared against. And two, during a long-term disaster depression IS going to be an issue, whether it is seasonal or otherwise, and it’s good to know these things because it might not be possible to see a doctor during a crisis.

So here’s what you can do to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder, and possibly other forms of depression as well.
  1. Exercise. You don’t even have to get sweaty or “feel the burn”, although if you want to do that, more power to you. But just a 30 minute walk outdoors will help; both the exercise of walking and the exposure to sunlight, even winter sunlight, will help boost your serotonin levels. I talked about Serotonin back in episode 87, but the short version is that it’s the chemical in your brain that creates feelings of happiness and well-being. 
  2. Get plenty of vitamin D3. This is the vitamin which your skin creates via exposure to sunlight -- which is why I suggested a 30 minute walk during the day -- but if you’re trying to prevent SAD you might as well use a belt and suspenders approach. Also, if you’re suffering from summer SAD and you really dont’ want to be out in the sun, this is a good way to get a much-needed vitamin. I currently take gel capsules of D3 that I get from the Vitamin Shoppe, and they provide me with 5,000 IU daily. 
  3. Find things that make you happy and do them. This might seem like a “Well, duh” solution, but I know from experience that when I’m feeling tired and grouchy I don’t go out of my way to make myself happy. Find something that brings you joy or laughter and indulge in it. Hanging out with friends, watching a comedy, getting a massage -- all of these are recommended ways to cheer you up. 
  4. Finally -- and this is more for the winter SAD than summer -- you may need find you need a Light Therapy Lamp, aka a “Happy Light”. People with winter SAD need 24 times more light during the winter months than people without the condition, and therapy lamps provide a lot of light. Daily exposure to this light should help fight seasonal depression. 
Now, I don’t think I have seasonal affective disorder. It’s supposed to manifest during puberty, and I’ve always loved the fall and cooler weather and night time I also live in Florida where it’s sunny a lot, so I’m certainly not lacking for Vitamin D3 and sunlight exposure. But I’ve gone ahead and bought a happy lamp from Amazon -- it’s got 4.5 star rating and it’s only $50, and I’m going to see if it helps get me through this election funk. If it works, great. If not, I can always give it to my mother.

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