A Nil-Nil Draw

I’ve spent the last few weeks months grappling with a level of holiday-induced anxiety that I’ve not experienced in some time, mostly because this was the first holiday since I-don’t-know-when that I wasn’t on some form of antidepressant. All that anxiety finally came to its anti-climactic conclusion on Thanksgiving (Thursday to the rest of the world) when I unveiled the newer, fatter, older, even more, unsuccessful version of myself to my family for the first time since Christmas Eve 2019.

Imagine playing a Hindenburg disaster-level shit show over and over again in your head for months, only to have the reality be a flaccid leftover birthday balloon found behind the couch. That, my friends, is my anxiety in a nutshell.

There was none of the ridicule, guilt, shame, bitching, and drama that I so often associate with holiday family get-togethers. It was all fairly normal and only contained brief periods of the all too expected misanthropy that I, as usual, found a way to escape by ignoring, changing the subject, or leaving the room; my S.O.P.

Then, before I knew it, I was back home and out hiking with my camera in the snowy woods of central Michigan.


I wish that I could sit here with a smug grin on my face knowing that I handled my holiday anxiety and depression like a medication-less boss, but that would be a lie. There were sleepless nights, racing heartbeats, imagined bursts of defensive rage on repeat in my head, and random days hiding under the covers trying to remember the sage words of the O.G. Mindbender before Wifey would finally talk me down off of the ledge. Mentally, it sure doesn’t feel like a win, but I’m not exactly prepared to call it a loss. Using a soccer analogy, it feels more like a nil-nil draw that has me content to get out with a precious point and looking to the next match and another opportunity to pull myself out of the relegation zone.

The photos in today’s post were taken during a snowy hike at the Forest Hill Nature Area on Saturday. Sadly, there weren’t many birds and critters to photograph, but I felt better and more at peace than I have in weeks.


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