Is avoidance acceptable?

I used to live on the 14th floor of a high-rise and would only take the elevator when I was drunk.

Inside elevator

I have always been told that you should face your fears and anxieties and I would say that to some extent I agree. I think it is situational. If by avoiding a fear, you are missing out on great opportunities, or losing important things in your life then you should learn to overcome it, however, if it is something more trivial and if there is a way around it then why cause yourself the stress.

I am terrified of being stuck in an elevator

This is not an uncommon fear and I am sure that millions of people can relate to this. Here are my reasons why:

  • Claustrophobia – the fear of being in an enclosed space (even worse if the elevator is full of people)
  • Agoraphobia – the fear of being unable to escape (probably the worst on the list for me)
  • Having a medical emergency – this is the same trigger that I have being on an aeroplane
  • My IBS – I have learnt that my IBS is 90% mental. As soon as I am in a situation when I cannot use the toilet, I become desperate to go

ElevatorInstagram2 minutes of hell

I used to take elevators all of the time, regardless of my fear because I thought that chances are, it will never stop…until the day it did. My partner and I were staying in a fairly nice hotel and during the elevator ride up to the room with our luggage, it suddenly stopped. When the doors did not open, it took about 5 seconds for me to totally lose control and think I was going to die. Luckily for us, after the 2 longest minutes of my life, it continued and took us to our floor.

Ever since, I have avoided taking the elevator

For the rest of our stay in the hotel, I did not ride the elevator and since that experience I have avoided it unless completely neccessary. I used to live on the 14th floor of a high-rise and I only took the elevator a handful of times; when moving in and out (because I had all of my luggage) and when I would return drunk after being out (because it helps my symptoms).

Sunset view

Sunset from my 14th floor appartment

Honestly, the reason that I never just faced my fear is because it does not diminish my quality of life. OK, in New York it stopped me seeing the wonderful view from the top of the Empire State building, but generally it doesn’t. In-fact, I see elevators as unnatural in some ways. I am a human being in good health, with 2 legs given to me for the purpose of movement and after a week or so, I was sometimes running up the 14 flights of stairs…someone try and tell me that is not a good thing!

If you are scared to death of elevators, or avoid any other situations because of your fears, you are not alone.

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