Fear of elevators?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by SacredWarrior, Apr 25, 2015.

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  1. I just wanna know if this is an irrational fear or if it's normal. From the time I was a teen, I've always been afraid to ride inside of elevators. So afraid in fact that I usually prefer to take the stairs. I absolutely CANNOT ride an elevator by myself. Whenever I have to ride in an elevator, I just tense up, freeze, and keep imagining crazy scenarios like the elevator crashing or getting stuck inside of one. When I reach my destination, I rush out of it like Sonic The Hedgehog on crack. The crazy part is that I've never had a bad experience with elevators! Is there something wrong with me or is this fear normal?
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  2. It's normal. My little brother who is eight has a fear of riding one as well, and will throw a fit if you try to make him go inside one. I mean all out screaming bloody murder. I always ask him why he is scared of them and he'll never say, I think he may have seen something that triggered the fear. How did it start with you?
  3. I saw an elevator crashing on a TV show with people inside. Final Destination 2 also kinda fueled the fear with Nora's death.
  4. You couldn't classify a phobia based upon its normality, I believe.

    But if you request my answer, its normal.

    I, too, have a fear of riding the lift (or elevator, 2 u yanks), or tight, enclosed spaces in general. I become transported with anxiety whenever entering one, so I prefer using the stairs instead. It bothers me to acknowledge that, at any moment, the possibility of it crashing, or breaking down, is conceivable, and realistic. And for an indefinite period of time, WITHOUT ESCAPE. This applies to every little corner, such as cubicles in the loo, fitting rooms, you get the idea.
  5. It's a normal fear I'd say. It's just as normal as being afraid of spiders or stuff like that. I guess you just notice it more since there probably are more elevators in your life than bugs :) You shouldn't worry about it and only take it if you have to or if you are comfortable. If you have to take it just try to think back about how it went smoothely before.
  6. I feel like there's something that freaks a lot of people out about riding in some metal container that you don't feel like you'd have much control over if something went wrong -- bonus points if it's something that involves heights. Basically, I think it's sort of the same reason why so many people are afraid of airplanes, and why people tend to act like airplanes are highly dangerous to ride in when, statistically speaking, we're all much more likely to die any time we get in a car than when we ride in a plane. But, with cars, I think the idea of being in control prevents a lot of people from feeling too much fear about it, whereas, with an airplane, you aren't the one driving, which makes a lot of people feel more helpless than they otherwise would. Also, cars don't fly -- and a fear of heights is a pretty common fear to have.

    Your elevator fear is probably pretty similar. You wouldn't be able to do anything if the machinery broke down, so it makes sense to feel like you're at the mercy of the thing and fear all the horrible things that could happen. I, too, sometimes feel a little bit uneasy in an elevator for those same reasons, though not nearly at your level of anxiety, I will admit. Still, the fear sounds pretty normal to me.

    If you're looking for advice on how to manage said fear, perhaps it might help to tell yourself how insanely unlikely it is that the elevator would randomly break down for you and only you. I mean, whatever elevator you use (depending on how often you visit whatever building it's in) has been working fine for as long as you can remember, right? You've never heard anything about it breaking on anyone, have you? So what are the odds that after X years of running perfectly, it breaks only when you enter? Maybe those thoughts will calm your nerves a bit.

    Also, if the elevator did break, I'm pretty sure it's more likely that it would get stuck as opposed to the whole thing falling down to the lowest level. Which means that it would be a lot easier to get help without injury. I suppose that's another thought to make death-by-elevator seem even more unlikely.
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  7. Honestly, I do not consider many fears irrational. There is some reason, be it experience, instinct, or memory that fuels almost all fears people have, and this is along those lines. I honestly am nervous in them too, and in airplanes or really anything mechanical like that. Part of it is a general anxiety towards such mechanical things, and some of it is caused by movies, media, and other outside sources. And as you've said, some movies seem to play a role in your anxiety. I could go on more about all this, but I'd like to end it by saying your fear, and almost no fears, are things to feel weird or ashamed about. No fears are really weird, and anyone who tells you otherwise isn't really being nice to your feelings xD
  8. I have the same fear, and the movement also makes me feel sick. Then again, I worry about literally everything that will never happen, so I might not be the best example xD;
  9. Well first, something can be both irrational and normal. Like, for most of the people capable of accessing this site, in their home countries a fear of spiders is normal but irrational. Actually that probably holds true for most places if not all places.

    That said, I'd say that this is more irrational than rational, much like my fear of moths. I mean, technically, you're more likely to experience injury because of an elevator than I am because of a moth, but there are plenty of other mundane things that can kill us both that are each more likely to do it as well that we're not afraid of.

    Does this mean you should feel bad for having the fear? Nope. All I can really suggest is not let the fear rule you. To this day moths freak me out, get my heart racing, my breath comes in short, and I twitch like hell, because that's my base response. But the other day, when a moth got caught in the house, I managed to keep myself under control because I knew that the odds were on my side that I was going to be fine. And I was, I caught it in a glass container and let it out safely outside. It's taken me quite a while to do this, however.

    So, I guess you should just try to train yourself. Remind yourself that elevators are commonly used for good reason and that building codes exist and are enforced to help maintain your safety; and if you want to argue 'oh but the people behind this building are cheapskates' then think of it as they'd still have safe enough elevators because it's cheaper than being sued.

    Yes, there is technically a chance that the next time you're on an elevator, it'll be one of the one in ~1,333,333,333 ( that's one and a third billion ) chance that it'll end poorly for you. It could happen, and for some people each year it is, but you're more likely than that going to be fine. Fine in the other 1,333,333,332 times out of the 1,333,333,333 times.
  10. I personally have no fear of elevators, but it's something I've seen a lot of people express fears of us.
    So yes, it's perfectly normal.

    Though I should note, I've actually (accidently) caused an elevator to break before, they just stop and stay in place.
    They don't end up falling and crashing.
  11. Movies and tv shows sure do have that effect on people, doesn't it?

    What helped me beat my fear was understanding.

    An elevator usually has 8 brakes on its body that are only used for emergencies. They engage only if the cables breaks completely. There are also always more than a single cable holding that box up.

    Know how elevators have that weight limit of a thousand pounds or so? Just a single cable (of the many) are rated to hold three times that weight. Those brakes are also designed to stop the max weight in mere inches. On a car that'd be like going from 30 to a stop in a heart beat.

    Knowledge is powa'.
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  12. Pretty much all of this.

    Elevators now are also really safe and have a lot of pretty fool-proof safety features that all but ensure they won't ever drop into a free fall if the cables were to somehow break, which isn't very damn likely; those are some pretty heavy duty metal cables that are designed to carry more than their designated load. I'm sure that all the specifications for different elevators vary, but I'm pretty sure that of the four safety brakes, they're designed so that just one of them can support the weight of the elevator. It would really have to be one of the most improbable scenarios ever for an elevator to have the cables snap and all of the brakes fail.

    Hopefully this helps ease your mind a bit!

    You'd be lucky to see a fatality per decade, and most people killed by elevators are the people servicing them.
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  13. Yes it's irrational. It's also fairly common, which has nothing to do with how rational any fear is. I was going to post the same source of statistics as Dervish, but since he already did so I won't bother.

    He did get some things wrong though: elevator related deaths are not a rarity on the order of >1 per decade. There are about 27 per year in the United States. A lot of them are elevator installers or repairers, but not almost all of them. About half of yearly elevator deaths are work related, which apparently includes people working in office buildings with elevators, not just elevator workers. The other half are split roughly evenly between people falling down open elevator shafts and people getting caught between the elevator and shaft wall, and that latter one sounds like something that mainly happens when people are behaving in stupidly unsafe ways around elevators in conjunction with equipment failures.

    There are about 10,200 elevator related injuries per year in the United States, which includes everything from being smacked by wonky doors, trips due to the elevator not lining up properly with the floor, and passengers being stupid and unsafe (they call it "passenger safety vulnerabilities" but it's pretty clear legalese speak for people being stupid and unsafe).

    Just to get an idea of how rare injuries and deaths are, elevators in the US make about 18 billion passenger trips per year, yet there are only that tiny number of deaths and injuries. The chance of you dying in an elevator accident are extraordinarily slim. You take a far greater risk every time you drive or ride in a car, yet I'm gonna guess you do that regularly. It's a rather irrational fear because the likelihood of it happening to you is tiny, especially if you observe proper safety things like watching your step and not trying to slip through nearly closed elevator doors. It's slightly more rational than fear of spiders, because those lil shits only kill ~6.5 people per year in the US, but it's still in the realm of irrationality.

    If the glut of logic in this thread hasn't helped you any, I suggest some kind of therapy. From what I recall reading about phobia treatment it's mainly made up of explaining the facts of the matter and doing exposure therapy, so if you don't want to go at it all official-like with the possible associated expenses then you can just force yourself to ride elevators more often (whilst remembering how rare accidents are) to get used to it. :P
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