Winters are, in general, not good for me. When I have a bad winter, it takes a long time to return to good, and by that time, the days are usually getting shorter again. Only just today, I realized that I had a bad winter, and it took me a long, long time to come out of it. It took me until the end of July to realize that my mental health was suffering throughout the winter months. That was because, I did not think it was a bad winter.
In years past, bad used to mean terrible. About as low as a person can get. I am not as badly off as many people get. I tend to hit upswings and downswings, but the downswings have been incredibly low in the past, and have lasted days or weeks, and the upswings only noticeable because they are better than the downswings, which is not saying much at all. This past winter was not like that. It had a few bad downswings that lasted half a day, or a day and a half. Mostly there was just a lot of complacency, and disinterest. I also had some things going on that I got very excited about, and made me feel great at times. So, by historic comparison, I had a pretty okay winter.
So, today, I was driving along, reflecting on some business I lost this year, because of providing poor service, and not closing sales, and realized that it had not really been an OK winter. It was worse than the previous two winters. It was a bad winter. I learned long ago that, when I can identify what is a symptom of depression, I can stop feeling guilty about it. It is not me; it is the disease. Once I can stop the self-blaming, I can get past it, and start to fix what went wrong as a result. Well, when it occurred to me that, what I used to call an OK winter is now a bad winter, it made me see how much better I am overall. A winter that I would have seen as successful is not good enough to me anymore. My mental health has improved to the point that, I know I can be better, and I expect to be better. So now I need to hold myself to the new standard, and recognize my symptoms on a different scale.
So, 2012-2013 was the best bad winter I have ever had. The old okay is the new bad, and that has me pretty damned excited about finding out what the new okay, and the new good will feel like!