INTO THE RABBIT HOLE

RABBIT HOLE 

NOUN

Used to refer to a bizarre, confusing, or nonsensical situation or environment, typically one from which it is difficult to extricate oneself.”

(Disclaimer: This post contains a brief mention of parasites. If you’d be triggered by this then avoid!)

I’m an obsessive little son of a gun – this isn’t BLOODY news is it (still cute though). Being in lockdown has encouraged me to reflect more on my recovery and to actually delve into more productive critical thinking – ways that I can do better ya know? I want to continuously improve so that OCD doesn’t sneak its way back into control by pulling some classic Trojan horse move. Wily bastard.

I use the term ‘rabbit hole’ when referencing a certain behaviour that I sometimes engage in by accident; a trance-like state where I obsess over something small and meaningless. There are no cute talking rabbits. There is no tea party. There is just misery. Painful, obsessive misery. Once I fall into the rabbit hole, it’s really difficult to find my way back out and it’s not unusual for me to be stuck deep inside for hours on end. When I do manage to escape, I’m extremely tense and my pupils have usually grown to twice the size. 

This peculiar behaviour usually makes it’s presence known when I feel stressed or anxious. A trigger is typically (but not always) required, which might be something as small as seeing something on TV. (You know that donkey charity advert where it shows the donkey whose hooves have overgrown? That boots me head first down into the ol’ rabbit hole every single damn time.)

Unimportant sidenote: Not many stimuli can pull me out of the rabbit hole. Human interaction, a shower, a bath, a specific puzzle game that I like to play on my phone, or sex. Otherwise I’m unreachable. Unattainable. Out of office.

When the OCD was at its most prevalent, these rabbit holes would mainly consist of self-destructive behaviours such as scratching my skin, obsessively eating unhealthy food for hours, and trance-like ruminations. They also sometimes manifested as purging behaviours such as obsessive cleaning of my belongings and/or getting rid of vast swathes of my things. Ima bring this swiftly into a specific example because you know I absolutely shag examples.

On Saturday evening I was about to dye my hair (bigup isolation crises) when OCD metaphorically slapped me on the butt like over-exuberant boyfriends do when you’re doing the washing up (what’s the science behind this pls?) and said “Hey…hey you…remember demodex mites?”

BAM. Into the rabbit hole I go.

I threw myself into obsessively researching demodex mites and watching DISGUSTING videos on YouTube of supposed demodex mites moving around on peoples’ skin. Why engage in a behaviour that you know is gonna be detrimental to your mental health? Mental illness, my people. That’s why. This research/cry/research/cry episode went on for about half an hour before I called my Ma and Pa, took a diazepam, had a bath (what is it about baths eh??) and then wrapped myself up in cotton pjs to watch The Office in bed. God bless Dwight Schrute.

Once I was calm and filled to the brim with tea and those outward nose sniffs that are like laughs except really lazy, Mama pointed out that not had this been my first blip in a while, but also that I managed to bring myself out of the trance within 30 minutes in order to ask for help. It felt like a very small but very relevant victory! (I AM SLEEK I AM UNSTOPPABLE. I AM THE RECOVERY DOLPHIN. RECOVERY IS MY OCEAN.)

Since going to CBT… being on medication… and then growing accustomed to isolation, I’ve been feeling levelled out for a little while now so tiny little victories like this have been becoming more and more noticeable. Lots of my previous OCD symptoms have halted completely, and others are now far more easy to manage. (More about this in a separate post ooh yeah aww yiss.)

However, my fine freckled elves…………. (I lulled you all into a false sense of security didn’t I you foolish mortals. Always remember that the ol’ switcheroo is present…waiting.)

It took a considerable amount of isolation-induced introspection for me to realise that THE RABBIT HOLE STILL VERY MUCH EXISTS and it doesn’t just spring up explicitly in demodex mite moments and what-not. It tricks me! You know those moments you realise something about your brain and you’re like nah shut the fridge door and if there were to be a camera filming your life then it would zoom in on your face really fast and your eyelid would twitch (that’s soo Raaaveeeeen).

Ironically I was deep in the rabbit hole when the realisation itself plucked me out. I had been trying to source a particular gold vintage choker, and I don’t know for sure but I feeeel like most people would browse for perhaps an hour at most? Amirite normal people? BUT THIS BITCH OVER HERE (me) had been searching for this chain for over 4 hours. During this time, I hadn’t thought about anything other than the necklace. I came out of the hole exhausted, gaunt and parched, with pupils like black holes. I looked like I’d just emerged from a very British bender, except the bit before had absolutely not been wavey and fun.

So, I realised I’m still engaging in obsessive trance-like behaviours but I’ve just predominantly switched them from self-destructive to productive, which is infact only a marginal improvement because I still come out of the trance exhausted and tense. The only difference is that the end result might be a new necklace rather than a collection of scratched skin and negative self-beliefs. It’s sort of like I’m just winging it and CBT is like “Wohoah there buddy- stay positive now,” and then the OCD is like “We’re obsessive, remember? Always obsessive.”

I’ve found it really interesting that OCD has morphed itself and became a new strain of obsessive thinking. Is the OCD evolving?! Recovering from this mental illness is so odd because I’ve become so psychologically self-aware and I find myself searching deep into my brain and therefore learning about myself all the fricken time! Tis a bountiful blessing and a treacherous curse (lol sorry this is not an excerpt from the diary of a troubled Victorian poet).

I’d be thoroughly interested to know if any other OCDers have these obsessive rabbit holes? And whether you’ve noticed this shift in obsessive behaviours into more ‘positive obsessions’ (if they exist…) during recovery?

As always – thank you for reading, you scrumptious little meat sacks.

Stay safe. Stay grateful. Stay soft. Stay socially distant.

One thought on “INTO THE RABBIT HOLE

  1. Great stuff! Delving into positive obsessions is something even I have noticed as my treatment progresses. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but as you said, at least the end result is usually helpful rather than something that hurts me. Thank you for sharing!

    Like

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