Today marks the longest period of time I have gone without having dreamed of falling to my death. I think these dreams began when I was starting high school. Multiple times a month, I have dreams of falling. On average, I would say I dream about falling every one to two weeks, and this manifests in many different forms. Sometimes, I dream I am falling down stairs. Sometimes I am launched into the sky by an explosion of some sort. Once, I flew off of a ride at Walt Disney World, and on a separate occasion, I fell off an attraction at a water park in Wisconsin. Most of the time, however, I fall in elevators.
These are one of my most common nightmares, along with being chased by someone or missing a deadline in school. Being trapped in a falling elevator. Can you imagine that? On one of my recent late-night binge searches on Google, I asked the question of why I dream of falling elevators. What I found was inconclusive, but there are a lot of people who share this dream with me. I was comforted by the fact that I was not alone in experiencing these dreams, and if you have ever had a dream like it, I’m sure you know just how terrifying they truly are.
Imagine you’re running late for a meeting, and you cannot find the stairs. For some reason, you blink, and you are suddenly in an elevator. You know before it happens that it will fall, because in these dreams, you always know. Alas, you are trapped, and cannot escape the final plummet to the basement; having thousands of pounds crash on top of you, knowing full well that every bone in your body will break on impact. You know the best course of action is to lay down, yet you are paralyzed with fear. When you finally manage to try, you are floating in air as you fall in unison with the giant metal box.
When I dream about the elevators, I often seem to fall for minutes at a time, never truly reaching the bottom, and before my crash, I wake up. I must admit, sometimes I am more frustrated with the fact that I was having a good night’s sleep and woke up from it than my nightmare. But more often, I am focused on the unfortunate events that took place in my dream.
I notice too, after waking up, that the elevators are almost never the same. Once, I was helping refugees escape from a dystopian society. As the bombs were falling, we stepped into the elevator, and we fell. As we hit the bottom, the bombs exploded, and I woke up. The elevator was small, and dirty. It was completely metallic, so when we were falling it was hard to know which was the top and which was the bottom. Another dream involved a glass elevator at a high end hotel. I needed to do a scientific presentation, but while I was trying to find my way to the room, I wound up in an elevator. When it hit the ground, it shattered, and I went blind.
I had another nightmare of an elevator, this one involving open air. I was falling as I ran away from something, but I woke up before I hit the bottom. I fell in a round elevator, at a resort with bubbly walls. I fell in an elevator in an old house, where the floors were caving in. I fell in an elevator where ghosts lived. I fell in so many elevators.
I hate elevators. I hate them because if you ride them enough, you get dizzy. I hate how small they are. I hate that there is a possibility of getting stuck in them in an emergency. I hate that they are metal, and I can’t get out of them. I hate that I need to rely on them when I need to get to higher floors. I hate these contraptions that plague my dreams, that make me feel claustrophobic, that are old and rickety and never get checked regularly.
Elevators are not my biggest fear, that would be spiders, but they appear in my dreams multiple times a month. I never dream about spiders, but elevators don’t only haunt me when I’m unconscious, but in real life too. When I go into elevators, I tense up, close my eyes, and wait patiently until it’s over. Then I can finally rush out of the double doors before the wires give way, and the big heavy box cuts me clean in half on my way out.
Thumbnail Credit: Atomicdragon136, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons