I read an article the other day that said more people were having vivid dreams during this pandemic. Deirdre Barrett, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, suggested the spike in dream recall is a side effect of the slower-paced lifestyle some non-essential workers are now leading and how a dramatic change in routine can lead to more vivid dreams.
I haven’t noticed a difference in my frequency of vivid dreams, but perhaps this is because the pandemic hasn’t shifted my day-to-day all that much. Despite that, however, I do feel a deterioration in my mental health overall.
My dreams can generally be classified into three categories: regular dreams, vivid dreams, dreams that don’t feel like they’re mine.
My regular dreams are like the ones you most likely have. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t. They can generally be traced back to whatever random thought was knocking around in my subconscious before bed.
My vivid dreams are often realistic and mundane. Once I dreamt about wanting to drink a Pepsi, but having to pee really badly. In my dream, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t pee (and I’m glad I didn’t figure it out because I woke up having to pee).
I have this third category of dreams that I don’t tell people about, mostly because I find it a bit hard to explain and it’s often accompanied by weird/confused looks by others.
In my regular and vivid dreams, I am the star of my dream. I am the vehicle of the story. Everything is happening either to me or around me. If I’m having a conversation with someone in these types of dreams, their responses make sense because it’s all part of my own subconscious. There are no surprises in these dreams because they’re made up of bits and pieces of myself and my experiences.
But every once in a while, I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a place that isn’t mine. I remember years ago I once had a dream about an ex. Except, it felt like I had come in in the middle of the dream, like entering a room where people are already in mid-conversation.
I heard years later from a mutual friend that my ex had a dream about me around this time.
The other night I had a dream I was at my Grandma’s house (on my Dad’s side). This is important to point out because I never dream about her or her house, just my Grandma (on my Mom’s side). I went through the front door into the long driveway to meet my aunties, who pulled up together in a big SUV.
There were 2-3 people in the driveway, walking past me to get to a back unit behind my Grandma’s house. In real life, this back unit doesn’t exist, but for some reason, it existed in my dream and I was not surprised by the people walking by. One was a woman with long dark hair, probably in her 30s. As we walked by each other, we made eye contact and there was a moment where I felt unsettled by the interaction before I woke up. It felt like I startled her by our eye contact, as if she was wasn’t supposed to be there.
I woke up feeling very uncomfortable. I still feel uncomfortable.