A Recurring Stress Dream

When I was in college I worked at the university library. For a while, I was one of the people who arrived before the library opened to get ready for opening. We didn’t have a staff entrance. We entered and exited out the front doors. When I would arrive in the mornings there was always a couple of students waiting at the doors for the library to open. Many times they would try to follow me into the library and I would have to stop them. This process is the origin of the stress dream I’ve had off and on for years.

At some point in my time at the university, I started dreaming that I arrived at the library to open and there was a large crowd waiting to enter. I would unlock the door to go in and try to lock the door behind me but the crowd would surge forward. There were too many of them for me to keep out. Eventually, there would be hundreds of them surging forward and taking over the library.

I thought that dream would stop after I moved away and left the university. I was wrong. I’ve had some version of that dream at every library I’ve worked at since. I’m writing about it today because I had the dream last night. Last night’s dream was not an opening of the library dream, but a closing the library dream. The library I was at was a weird hybrid of my current branch and the old version of my former branch but all of the people were my current coworkers. It was time to close the library. Someone else was supposed to lock the doors and clear the library. For some reason, they left and left me behind without doing either of these. I had people in the library who wouldn’t leave and more people trying to come in before I was able to lock the doors. For some reason, there was also someone there to fix the building alarm at the same time. Eventually, someone came back to help me clear the building and lock the doors.

I’m never sure what prompts the return of the dream. I used to joke that the dream was a sign that it is time for me to leave the job. The new wrinkle in the dream would probably prompt a therapist to see abandonment issues. Any dream interpreters out there?


2 thoughts on “A Recurring Stress Dream

  1. It’s similar when i have worked in retail…you often have to tell people its not actually open yet! Did you ever have people being rude when you told them the library was not yet open? I wonder what first prompted the dream?


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