According to Merriam-Webster, a Rabbit Hole is defined as: a complexly bizarre or difficult state or situation conceived of as a hole into which one falls or descends. Especially: one in which the pursuit of something (such as an answer or solution) leads to other questions, problems, or persuits.
Maybe you think of them as a catch-22, pickle, predicament, quagmire, or dilemma.
To me, the rabbit hole is a slippery slope that can lead to a dangerous place of depression and paralyzing anxiety.
I can circle the entrance to the rabbit hole for a long time…I see it there, next to me, waiting for something to push me just far enough that I ask that first question… What if?
- What if I’m not good enough?
- What if I’m not ready?
- What if I fail?
- What if I’m too fat?
- What if I’m told no?
- What if I’m weak?
- What if I can’t get over it?
- What if they don’t forgive me?
- What if no one loves me?
- What if I lose you?
- What if…?
The ‘what if’s’ come fast, but that is just the beginning. The ‘what if’ just starts the snowball at the top of the hill. Next comes the ‘justifications’…
- I’m not normal.
- I don’t deserve it.
- I am gross.
- I am unworthy.
- No one wants to love someone who is broken.
- This is ‘just who I am’.
After the ‘justifications’ comes the statements that are so far down the rabbit hole that it’s dark and the light was dim.
- I don’t belong here.
- I would be doing everyone a favor.
- I want to die.
- It would stop the hurt.
The darkness that is familiar to me. Even though I know the darkness is a dangerous place, there is some comfort to me…I know what to expect. I know how my body is going to react. The process of falling down the rabbit hole starts slow, but as I fall, my anxiety picks up. I feel my breathing pickup, my heart begins to race.
But I don’t see the individual steps when I’m in it. Think of the movie Twister… remember that? With Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton? The last huge tornado where they tie themselves to a pipe and the tornado is over them, sucking them upwards… reverse that… I’m not being sucked up…I’m being sucked downward.
Everything around me is swirling and the noise is a deafening roar. It’s like I can’t even hear those who are right next to me. Even if I could think to reach out and grab something to stop me from falling further and further down, the swirling that is happening around me makes it impossible to find something stable to hold on to. When I’m in those spaces, I can’t hear the words “calm down” or “take a deep breath”. What is being told to me in that moment just makes it worst. What can help is physical touch…a hug…one where there isn’t the ulterior motive of sex. A hug so tight that I can feel your steady heartbeat. A hug so tight that I feel your breath and unconsciously sync my breathing to yours. If I get to that last stage, then it’s hard to break out. The tears. The self-loathing. The ‘comfortable’, yet lonely place of my depression. It sits at the bottom of the rabbit holes…waiting to ‘welcome me home’.
The thing to remember is that the light is at the end of the tunnel…even if it takes awhile to see it.