“Unexpressed emotions are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways” is a truism that was a constantly recurring theme in my life of untreated Bipolar Disorder. And 25 years down the Recovery path, I still create opportunities to prove its veracity.
Growing up in a home where emotions weren’t discussed, processed, or displayed (for the most part), excepting anger and contempt, I was very detached from my feelings and experienced nearly everything intellectually. This emotional suppression, combined with my Bipolar Disorder, created an ideal environment in my psyche and soul in which clinical Depression could take residence and thrive.
By the time Depression had chewed me up and spit me out in my early 20’s, Mania stepped in to fill the void. Years of pent up rage, shame, resentments, fears, and other bottled-up feelings came spewing forth like projectile vomiting And I spread my toxicity like Typhoid Mary.
For years I harmed other people and myself, vacillating between the highs and lows of Mania and Depression.
It wasn’t until I got several years into my Recovery journey that I began learning to express my emotions consistently, in healthy, stable ways.
Today, through hard work and grace, there is a lot less ugly in my life. But sometimes, I slip back into old patterns. When I do, ugly comes knocking.