My dreams fall into two categories. In the past, and now. I’m not a medical expert but I think the pandemic changed them.
My “before” dreams were an always welcome, interesting (to me) swirling combination of seemingly unconnected people, places, and events. Occasionally I’d remember a particularly vivid sequence, or a person that I hadn’t consciously thought about for years. Although the dream was the product of my own mind, I enjoyed the inventiveness of my dreams.
In my non-expert medical opinion, my current dreams are caused by the pandemic. They aren’t nightmares. Well, not exactly. Although, what is a nightmare? My very strange dreams do occasionally wake me with feelings of dread or anger (toward specific people, usually among the very few I actually see). These dreams are more grounded in reality, with an ugly twist.
I’d started thinking I was actually angry at these people in my life in a way I didn’t understand, then I read a piece in National Geographic about an actual medical study. Apparently, many of us are having pandemic dreams.
Pre pandemic, dreams were created from the mix of daily events with life experience. Our internal world is particular, and dreams crave even those banal parts of the day. The person who steps in front of a car in traffic, music playing at the coffee shop, a museum exhibit, an experience – or sound or smell – at work.
All of these mini experiences feed into our subconscious. These days we have less access to unexpected stimuli. Less random audial or visual content, less fleeting glimpses of others’ lives. Less of everything to jumble into the nightly journey. As a result, we are left with a localized brew, populated by people near and dear, overlaid by the stealth anxiety of Covid. My mind lacks, in the words of National Geographic, “inspiration.”
I’m looking forward to receiving my vaccine doses, and finally, once again, having merely interesting dreams.