In the 1990s, I discovered that if I see faces on TV early in the morning, I feel better (happier, more eager, more serene) the next day, but not the same day. Faces Monday morning, for example, make me feel better on Tuesday but not Monday. I studied this effect extensively. The results suggested that a circadian oscillator controls our mood and sleep and needs morning face exposure to work properly. Absence of morning face exposure, this theory says, increases your risk of depression — a view not compatible with the “chemical imbalance” explanation of depression but one supported by the strong association between depression and insomnia.
I told friends about this. One of them had devastating bipolar disorder. As he describes here and here, he got great benefit from looking at faces in the morning. After I posted his account of his experience, a man I’ll call Rex wrote me that he was going to try it. At 29, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At 32, he slit his wrists. He is now 37.Since then he’s been in and out of mental hospitals. Now he lives at home. I wanted to follow his use of morning face therapy “prospectively” — before knowing what would happen. I posted this, about his background, around the time he started. (more…)