Sigmund Freud once said, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” I never knew Freud was a fan of zombies, but he is exactly right.
I say this because despite being at a stable place in my recovery, or perhaps because I am at a stable place in my recovery, I tend to ignore stressors that might be threatening that recovery. Yet the demons of mental illness love when we give them zombie feelings that they can tag team.
For me, the uglier ways that these things might come back in could be in the form of trouble sleeping or strange dreams. It could be me isolating myself even more than usual. And slowly, these zombie feelings drag me down into the dark, down to where my demons reside. It is slow, after all zombies usually are, but it is terrifying, at least for me. It is terrifying knowing that there are these things, these unresolved feelings that are just waiting to pull me down. It is scary knowing that all the work I have put into my recovery can be undone by these damn zombie feelings.
Yet just as with my demons, there is light in the dark. There are those within my support network that I can turn to and can help me slay these zombie feelings, and the demons they bring with them. There is therapy and medication and meditation and journaling and so many tools that I can use to allow those feelings to rest in peace.
Zombie feelings, just like their undead namesakes, are things to be taken seriously. Yet that doesn’t mean we have to live in fear of them. Rather we should know and respect that they are there. Because when you know those feelings are there, when you acknowledge them instead of burying them, then you don’t have to be afraid of their uglier ways.