Fighting Pain, Getting Sober and Surrendering Anger

Hello. My name is Jason and I’m sucking down a strawberry smoothie on a Sunday. I have no idea what I’m going to do with this day yet and that is okay. I don’t know why I’m typing in a monotone robot voice, but that is okay. Everything is okay.

Everything is actually great, to be honest. I guess it’s been a minute since I’ve made a blog post. Oh wow, yeah 10 days since I posted the glorious story of Dingleberry McSlingus. I know I’ve made my parents proud with that one.

I know it looks like just a nonsensical story on the surface, but for me it taps into something much deeper. Stories like that are the whole reason I started writing in the first place. It’s the kind of style I wrote in when I was a kid, shortly after I learned how to write. Completely unfiltered, silly, and generally not making any logical sense whatsoever. There’s something pure about that kind of writing for me.

When I write a story like that, I’m not doing it for any reason other than enjoyment. It’s fun for me. It makes me laugh, and I feel better when I’m working on it and after I’m finished. There’s no goal, there’s no audience in mind, there’s nothing but writing.  I suppose that’s what I’ve been searching for lately when it comes to comedy. Somewhere along the way I lost the purity of it. I got too caught up in the audience and the goals and trying to achieve that I wasn’t able to find the fun.

I wrote about that before the McSlingus masterpiece so check out the “Changing My Relationship With Comedy” post to read more on that saucy little subject. We’re on to new stuff and things today.

Honestly, the last month or so of my life has been completely transformative. I think I mentioned a gnarly battle I was fighting with my mind manifesting in debilitating episodes of sleep paralysis and anxiety that led to me bombing my dick off on stage and spiraling into the depths of the unknown, right? We’ve all been there. Right? Right…?

I’ve been fighting my health most of my life, and I know I’m not alone when I say that. Tons of people out there have to deal with chronic illness, and it can feel awfully lonely, but you’re never alone. There’s always somebody who can understand you, even if it doesn’t feel that way. It’s easy to isolate and feel like nobody gets it but I promise you there’s somebody out there who knows what it’s like, and many people out there are willing to help. Often times we have to find the courage within ourselves to ask for that help, and admitting when you’re weak, vulnerable, or suffering, can be one of the most challenging things to do.

When you have to deal with a chronic disease or chronic pain, the first thing we usually seek out is relief. That was me. When I got the sexy old inflammatory bowel disease diagnosis at 17, my first feeling was one of relief. I was relieved to have an answer, but that relief was soon washed away when the pain made its way through my body and mind. So I sought out things to wash away the pain: weed, alcohol, gambling, golf, cough syrup, women, caffeine, kratom, whatever helped take my focus away from the suck for a moment.

My first year of college was encompassed by almost nothing but seeking relief. I didn’t even realize the pain I was in and when I got sent off to an environment full of hotties and naughties, I fell under the weight of it all. I don’t blame myself. I don’t see how it would have happened any other way given the circumstances and my state of being at the time. It was bound to happen, because I wasn’t a consciously present adult. I was just a kid who was living on a cloud most my life and then got hit by a tornado out of nowhere. So yeah, I got swept away.

I grew and I matured over the years, but the search for relief never stopped. I was taking four giant pills of prescribed medication for my severe IBD just to stay afloat for four or five years, I smoked weed or ate edibles almost every day for eight or nine years, and I went through various phases of kratom dependency. I took control of my health through a strict diet and regular exercise regimen, so I wasn’t folding under the weight of my pain by any means, but I was ultimately seeking answers for my pain from outside rather than from within.

About four years ago I started getting into yoga and meditation, and I suppose that’s about the time things began to shift. I’d say the last four years I was wrestling between looking for answers from the outside and looking for answers from within. Sometimes it was more one way, sometimes more the other.

It’s only over the past month that I’ve taken complete control of my life and my struggle from within. I don’t take any medication for my IBD, I don’t smoke weed, I don’t take kratom, I don’t have caffeine… nothing. Nothing is coming to save me, no person is coming to save me, it’s up to me to bear the burden of my own suffering and overcome it.

I meditate every morning on the person I am and the person I wish to become. It sounds quite anti-scientific, but meditating on my own anger has done more for my health than any drug ever has. I’ve been an angry person for most of my adult life. It was a hard thing to come to terms with, and if you know me personally you’re probably confused because I don’t come across as an angry person at all.

I don’t express my anger through displays of rage. Instead I do the opposite. I withdraw. I get quiet and I disappear. I often express my anger as anxiety and retreat to a place where nobody can see me for who I really am. I block myself from making genuine connections and I become increasingly isolated, which, in turn has negative effects on my health. Then the cycle repeats.

Learning to surrender my anger has opened up space for me to give and receive love instead, and my body and mind are thanking me for it. I’m connecting rather than withdrawing, and I feel like a child again. I feel like the happy kid I was always was, and suddenly the burdens of my own life don’t control me. I don’t worry so much about how I’m doing, but how everyone is doing. My goals and my dreams suddenly seem silly, because I know an attachment to future outcomes is only a barrier to the glory of the present moment.

I don’t have to achieve anything to be loved, I don’t need to be the best at something to feel good about myself, I just need to be. Right here and right now is the only place I truly need to be. Here is the only place I am free.

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Jason Brendel
Jason Brendel

Jason Brendel is an author, poet, and comedian living in Austin, Texas. Navigate the buttons below to follow him on social media, make a donation, or purchase his collection of laugh-out-loud poetry on Amazon.

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