SAD at Thirty

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 SAD at Thirty

Produced by Natalie Steed for QMUL

Winter Light by Helen Hanson

‘Winter Light’ by Helen Hanson

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
‘Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –

Emily Dickinson

Natalie Steed writes….

This podcast was commissioned by Tilli Tansey, Professor of the History of Modern Medical Sciences at QMUL, and Thomas Dixon, Director of the QMUL Centre for the History of Emotions. The piece responds to the Witness Seminar, organised by Tilli Tansey, to mark the 30th anniversary of the first publication about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in 1984.

I interviewed Norman Rosenthal, the researcher who first wrote about the disorder as well as Jennifer Eastwood and Helen Hanson who are both sufferers of the disorder and who are involved in SADA (Seasonal Affective Disorder Association).

Thomas Dixon and Tilli Tansey discuss their collaboration on this Witness Seminar and reflect on some of the ideas it provoked.In this podcast I wanted to reflect the story of Seasonal Affective Disorder as told in the Witness Seminar but also to try and communicate something of what it might be like to experience the disorder.

Helen Hanson, the current Chair of SADA, describes how she feels her experience of SAD has influenced her work as an artist and conjures an extraordinary image of experiencing the dwindling of light on winter afternoons as as “the hour of the wolf”.

Natalie Steed

 Download and read a full transcript of the SAD Witness Seminar

Watch video clips of Norman Rosenthal talking about SAD

Read an interview with Norman Rosenthal by Jules Evans

Illustrations by Helen Hanson BA SBA – Artist Printmaker (Society of Botanical Artists)