I love waterfalls.  The sound of the falling water, the beauty of water flowing over rocks and the serenity of the setting calms my spirit .  I am very fortunate   While Upstate New York may not be Hawaii, which has spectacular water falls, it does have the Adirondacks and Catskills, which provide many places where one can hike to some very beautiful cascades of water flowing down from mountains or over rocks.   From our home, I don’t have to travel far to hike to such places as Barbersville Falls (near Troy) , Kaaterskill Falls (south of Albany)  or  Shelving Rock Falls (near the east shore of Lake George).  On a beautiful day, I cherish the chance to spend time sitting near the base of a waterfalls.

Barbersville Falls

Reflections on Depression and Anger 

One of my favorite places to write is on my backyard deck.   It overlooks a small stand of woods, which is populated by various denizens; mostly squirrels and chipmunks, several species of birds (including a couple of cardinals, and various types of wood peckers, and an occasional fox and deer.   My yard has several birdhouses and bird feeders, so my I often have company from feathered friends. With the exception of occasions when neighbors are mowing their lawns, cutting down trees or holding pool parties, which fortunately is not often, the deck is a quiet place to think and write. So here I am, late afternoon, on the Fourth of July. From my perspective, it is a beautiful afternoon. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and birds are chirping. It is a wonderful day to say “Happy Birthday America”, and to sit in my deck and write some of my thoughts.

Earlier today, I ran a four-mile race. It is called the Firecracker Four, since it is held on the fourth of July and is four miles long. The race winds its way through the town of Saratoga Springs, which is now awakening from its winter slumber and about to see its population swell due to the onslaught of summer visitors, most of whom come for the six week thoroughbred racing season, which lasts from the final week in July through Labor Day. The race path is mostly flat, with the exception of two hills, and passes along tree-lined neighborhoods. While surrounded my many other runners, I found myself able to do some reflections.

I have been feeling very depressed for quite a while now, and relatedly, angry. I do see a therapist and I have made some progress – I think. She thinks that most of my depression is situational. I have lost two brothers, my parents, and have some difficulties at home and at my place of employment.   She also believes that I have been stuffing a great deal of anger about what ails me and I am in agreement with her. It is especially hard in the morning when I first awaken. I do not want to get out of bed but staying in bed is not necessarily a good thing, since my mind flows with all kinds of thoughts – not usually good ones – about work, family, losses, etc.

Now I must say that while I struggle with depression, I recognize that I am very fortunate.   I live in a pretty good country, am physically healthy, and have a pretty good job and have a nice family, even if there is some turmoil in each of these realms.   Nonetheless, I do feel depression and anger.

 

So as I was saying earlier, I ran this four-mile race earlier today. I am not a fast runner so I was out on the course for a little more than 50 minutes. As I ran, I found myself feeling anger inside of me – a lot of anger; mostly over situations I am facing, and decisions that I have made or my failure to act on decisions I feel are good for me.   I find that I am my own worst enemy n this regard. Maybe I am not alone in this. However, as I ran I felt like my anger was rising up inside of me. Initially, I was concerned that I would forestall my efforts to complete the race by sapping my energy. Instead, it seemed to propel me forward.

 

So as I ran, I thought of some of the situations I currently face, and my attitude toward them, or the people involved.   Suddenly, I realized that so many times, I enter into situations looking for conflict and feeling angry before the situation begins. Interestingly, this realization made me angry at first but then became one of those “aha” moments, as I realized it is true. For example, when I have meetings with certain people, I find my blood pressure rising and anticipating a fight with them. As I ran, I recognized that I have more anger in me than I have wished to recognize. My therapist has recently noted that I am taking more responsibility for this, but I do not like it. I could feel the rage inside of me ebbing and flowing as I ran and reflected on different scenarios and different people. I do not like the way that I react and have been behaving. Losing my temper, shouting, bullying, and not being at peace with myself. I pride myself as being easygoing but as the miles passed, I saw hypocrisy in this. I am only easy going on the outside – at time – but a bubbling volcano beneath the surf ace, which in the last few years has erupted all too often.

Part of my anger is related to my inability to confront some situations honestly, such as my professional situation. I attempted to do this a year ago by asking my boss for a change since I was honest with him and said my pilot was near empty. He and I discussed how we could make some changes that would be mutually beneficial. He said nothing could be done immediately but by the end of the year (this past year) we would work out a new arrangement. However, this did not happen. I was not happy about it and attempted to take actions to fix the situation. However, this did not work and in the end, I lost my temper and said things I wish I hadn’t. Then, I was confronted by another situation, in which my employer tried to fire me for cause and my volcano erupted again – rightfully so, I believe. Now I find, that as far as my work situation is concerned, I prepare for a conflict, almost hoping that one occurs. I do not want to be this way.

I am reading a book “Breakfast With Buddha”. I think about this book a great deal and did so as I ran. The “Buddha” in the book is a monk named Rinpoche and I find myself at times have a dialogue with him, hoping to find a path to some place where my volcano will be dormant and I will be at peace with myself.

In any case, these were my thoughts as I ran and as I reflect on them as I sit on my deck on this beautiful afternoon.