Sleep is sometimes hard to come by, even under the best of circumstances, but I don’t usually have difficulty dreaming. I write down my dreams first thing in the morning, which makes the practice of dream recall easier. This morning, I was flipping back through the past week’s entries and found that I have had multiple dreams about elevators. Specifically, in the dreams, the elevator is too small for everyone so someone must stay behind. In one, the elevator eats people and fewer people get off than originally got on.
I don’t like using dream dictionary-type references with their one-size-fits-all interpretations, but in this case it seems like a no-brainer that the elevator represents ascending to higher levels. Maybe somewhere there is some anxiety about my current topsy-turvy life situation, some worry that I am missing out on some opportunity. Everyone else seems to fit in and get to rise together, and I am stuck here on the same floor, feeling ready to move on and yet forced to stay behind.
When I was a kid I hated elevators; they made me feel claustrophobic. It never occurred to me that they might eat people. Dreaming about an elevator that eats someone – not me, I’m watching the people get off, noticing that someone is missing – what’s that about? Getting lost in the attempt to rise in status?
In dream analysis, one of the more interesting theories is that all characters in the dream are the dreamer. So not only am I the one who notices that the elevator has eaten someone, I am also the crowd getting off the elevator, and I am the person who has been eaten, and I am even the elevator itself.
Another fun dream analysis technique that piggybacks off the other is to ask questions from the perspective of each character in the dream:
“If I am the elevator, I wonder why am I so small, so exclusive? Why do I eat people, and how? Where do the people go when I eat them?”
“If I am the person who has been eaten, I wonder what has happened to me, where am I now that I’ve been eaten by the elevator? Why me?”
“If I am someone standing in the elevator, I might be asking myself, How did I not notice that the elevator ate someone who was standing right next to me? Why am I not panicking? Why didn’t the elevator choose to eat me?”
“If I am me in the dream, I am wondering, Is it safe for me to be standing so close to an elevator that eats people? How do I know there are fewer people getting off than had gotten on? Am I waiting for someone specific to get off the elevator? Why am I just standing here?”
These are the thoughts that keep me company when insomnia comes to visit. Seems to be an underlying theme of loss of control, confusion, feeling lost or out of touch with the surroundings. No wonder I can’t sleep.