Falling down the Rabbit Hole is a metaphor for falling into a troubling or surreal state or situation. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice spots a white rabbit hurrying past her, she follows him into his Rabbit Hole, tumbling down and landing in an unfamiliar world of talking caterpillars, narcoleptic mice, and disappearing cats. This surreal state is only one example of a “Rabbit Hole”.
Other examples of succumbing to the Rabbit Hole might appear in relationships, family drama, or from traumatic life experiences. In all examples, the salient Rabbit Hole theme is the inability to find your way out a deep psychological state or complex problem. Often underlying trauma contributes to the spiral of distorted “reality” by changing your perspective, self-perception, relationships, and philosophy of life.
The Rabbit Hole can be triggered by relationships, work stress, health issues (both physical and mental), big life changes and other traumatic situations. When triggered it can last for hours, days, months and years if you don’t have the appropriate coping skills to navigate your way out.
“All too often, the Rabbit Hole is as deep as you have dug it” ― Gary Hopkins
How do get out of the Rabbit Hole? You use a method we coined as the ARCH™. An ARCH in architectural terms is a safe way to support weight. By utilizing ARCH the individual will be supported with healthier coping mechanisms. ARCH stands for:
- A–Awareness: Admittingly, it is difficult to know when your subconscious programming is running in overdrive and the first step out of the Rabbit Hole is to recognize that you are approaching or on the edge in the first place.
- R– Root Cause: In order to change behaviors, you must identify the root cause that supports the triggers. The trigger can often put us in the hole, however, there is an underlying reason attached.
- C–Change: In order to navigate the rabbit hole, it requires you to change your behavior and incorporate new tools. Examples: ending toxic relationships, exercising when stressed, leaning on a trusted confidant, modifying your diet and ensuring quality sleep to name a few.
- H–Heal: The Rabbit Hole stems from underlying pain. Once you identify the root cause above you can heal the wound. Healing may require psychotherapy, support groups, and education on the issues. Forgiveness of self or others is often a healthy healing tool.
Answer the questions honestly below and get to know yourself. Find your triggers and traumas.
- What triggered you into jumping down your Rabbit Hole?
- What is within your control and what isn’t?
- Where can a friend, your partner, or a trusted confidant be helpful?
- Self-care isn’t selfish, where can you take care of yourself better?
- Are you ignoring red flags and not paying attention to your own values for living a life you can love?
- Have there been recent changes in your life that might have been triggering? Did you change jobs, move, or end (or begin) a relationship?
The insight you gain from your answers above will help you understand why you initially jumped into the Rabbit Hole. Keep this in mind while you go through the steps outlined below.
1. Set achievable goals
Identify what you would like to achieve. What is that your overall goal? Determine the steps you need to take to reach that goal. Break it down to reflect the tiniest steps to you can start right now. Commit your new goal to paper.
“Until you commit your goals to paper, you have intentions that are seeds without soil”-Brian Tracy
2. Do you exercise healthy self-care routines and habits
Some examples of self-care are instituting healthy boundaries, exercising, writing, meditating, eating a healthy diet, fostering healthy relationships and creating opportunities for connection and relaxation.
3. Revisit your goals and plans
Review your goals and routines daily to stay on your outlined path. Keep track and celebrate the tiny accomplishments. You may want to designate an accountability partner. These achievements will give you the confidence and motivation to keep moving forward.
4. Create a support system to ensure your success
For most, it is hard to ask for help. It is even harder to be authentic about your needs with yourself and others. Having a coach, mentor, or trusted confidant helps keep things honest. Be vulnerable and specific when talking to your support system about your issues, triggers, and stumbles. Use “I” statements and try to form sentences without the use of the word “you”. In that way, you take complete ownership and responsibility for what is happening for you without transferring it to others.
5. Take Note of Your Triggers
Go back now and review the questions and answers from above. Take each identified trigger and ask yourself how you can prevent falling in the Rabbit Hole again. Awareness of your triggers, and their antecedents, helps you recognize when you are on the precipice teetering on falling in again.
6. Do the work
The Rabbit Hole is real and can feel like a major derailment, but it doesn’t have to be completely catastrophic. Climbing out of the Rabbit Hole takes time, effort, grit, and resilience. YOU MUST DO THE WORK. You cannot go around it; you have to go through to become the best version of yourself. We all have our own wounds that send us down our Rabbit Hole. By repairing these trauma wounds is a personal and sacred journey. Trauma work is uncomfortable, dark, and horrifying at times. It is full of memories and experiences that we’d prefer not to revisit. This work is a process, and there maybe be high and lows or slip and falls. The key is to get back up and continue your healing journey.
“As you go down the Rabbit Hole or reading into our history, you realize that there are so many things that history books didn’t teach us about ourselves”- Usher
The choice is yours. Will you tumble down the Rabbit Hole? Or will you us this opportunity as life’s prompt to do the work that will allow you to become the best and strongest version of you.
Need help to start your healing process? As part of the Evolve and Transform mission, we have partnered with Life Works Wellness an organization that creates optimal individual and family system performance through hybrid intensives, training programs, and workshops. To learn more check out our Life Works Wellness website or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.