Dear Jonathan Rottenberg,
During your talk on NPR you spoke about how evolutionary, we humans are meant to be outside in the sunshine basically looking for food during the day. We sleep when it gets dark and hunker down during the winter to save energy. Conversely, the modern person does almost the exact opposite. We are inside the majority of the day and fool ourselves into being awake (and assumable productive) at night with artificial light. Humanity is being exposed to less and less sunshine. By throwing 10,000+ years of evolutionary practice to the wind, people find themselves moody and often depressed.
While depression comes in many form, the closest I’ve personally gotten is your garden variety season depression. I’m lucky to have lived pretty high on the hog so far, no major complaints. Since starting a standard 9-5 desk job I do feel the seasonal effects are amplified. First world problems right? But seriously, it’s not cool.
I haven’t read your book (yet) but I’ve never totally bought into the idea of depression as a disease and I’m glad there are people in the field who share this view. I have first hand experience with the depression of a loved one and have to agree that it’s not just a matter of fixing brain chemistry with the right pills. I’m starting to think the first thing to be prescribed is a healthy dose of sunshine.
I think this song sums things up nicely: