COVID Dreams Reflect Evolution Of Pandemic

(Mark Sebastian / Creative Commons)

No one is experiencing the pandemic in exactly the same way, but we share many common fears and anxieties — even when we’re asleep. As the pandemic goes on, dream experts say the evolution of COVID-19 dreams tells us a lot about our waking life, too.

In my own case, I have a recurring dream where I’m in a supermarket, wearing a mask – but no one else is. Everyone is breathing on me, and I can’t get away.

Many dreamers report a version of this theme.

“Yeah, I had one where I was being chased by a ton of mask-less people and they were like monsters, but without masks,” said Renee Manley of Springfield, Massachusetts.

“For a long time, the dream was some variation on: I’m in a crowded place, there’s a lot of people around,” said Jenny Hansell of Haydenville. “They’re all pushing and shoving, and nobody’s wearing masks.”

“Those [mask dreams] I’ve seen all along,” said Deirdre Barrett, a Harvard University psychologist who studies dreams.

What’s evolved over the course of the pandemic, Barrett said, is that dreamers themselves used to be the only ones with a mask, and now they’re more likely to be the ones who forgot their mask.

Read the rest of the story at New England Public Media’s website.