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Dreams help us unravel anxieties amid coronavirus crisis

Are you one of millions of people across the world who are having the most vivid and memorable dreams ever, brought on by the global Covid-19 lockdown? Picture: Gregory Pappas/Unsplash

Are you one of millions of people across the world who are having the most vivid and memorable dreams ever, brought on by the global Covid-19 lockdown? Picture: Gregory Pappas/Unsplash

Published Apr 5, 2020


Our waking hours these days are consumed by Covid-19 fears and ensuring we all do our bit to get through the pandemic, but it is also seeping into our dream world.

Dark and brooding, with unlikely characters coming into the picture. Long-forgotten landscapes, keepsakes and treasured memories of loved ones that flicker to life in the world of our dreams - even a killer stalking you down, but more about that later. Dream experts believe this is possibly the best opportunity we will ever get to harness our subconscious mind and what it is telling us through our dreams, and possibly make sense of a world that is changing as each day of the pandemic passes.

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Sunday Tribune astrologer Mahesh Bang believes some people may dream bold inventions during these times.

“At a subconscious level we sometimes attempt to deal with our situation in our dreams. So, try to not stress in our current situation we are placed in, with much news on the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

As alarm clocks go silent for so many people used to the early slog to the office, people ease out of their dream world more gently, and this allows them to remember dreams better than ever before, said Professor Mark Blagrove, a leading expert in sleep and dreaming at Swansea University’s department of psychology, in Wales.

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He argues that longer sleep means longer REM (rapid eye movement - our dream time) and this makes for longer dreams, and the dreams are more vivid and easier to remember since there is no rude awakening from our ball-and-chain alarm clocks.

Journalist Helen Grange shares her strange dream, one involving her former tenant, a completely likeable and honest person who moved out a month ago, just so we are clear on that.

In the dream she notices her car is no longer in the driveway.

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“Fred sauntered up the driveway to say his goodbyes and casually announced to me that he’d stolen my car and sold it, as he needed the money.

“I felt angry, desperate and marooned. The car in the dream then seemed to change in symbolism to precious silver cutlery in a velvety box (like the one my mother left to me), which I spotted in the van in the driveway that Fred had stacked with his belongings.

“Fred seemed to be nonchalant and agreeable as I climbed into the van and started fastidiously writing down, in a notebook, the tiny numbers that were engraved in each piece of cutlery. My intention was to use it as evidence and report this theft to the police and force Fred to give it back.

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“It was perplexing to me in the dream that I didn’t just take the cutlery back, and that Fred couldn’t seem to care less.

“Again I felt helpless and angry, wondering why I couldn’t stop him from stealing my things,” Grange said.

My dreams are usually vivid, and I recall them with ease, but these past days, I have dreamt of myself moving or travelling, or helping move people to safety, but also wanting to smack people for being dom, such as this one on Wednesday night.

In the dream I am helping move beds into a house so people have a place to lockdown, but my friends put all the beds in the first room as you enter, with no space to move to the next room, which was empty. One friend then started to make the beds, and I struggled not to berate this person, but so wanted to just smack them hard across the ear! Instead I calmly asked that they help me move two of the beds to the other room, suggesting we get the folk who will sleep on them, to make their own beds, to give them something useful to do.

And there was this parrot, an African grey, that was getting under foot, but no one seemed to mind, but I was worried it would get hurt with all the bed-moving nonsense going on.

At least there wasn’t a killer stalking me down, as happened in a dream had by fashion outfit Grazia Daily reporter, Georgia Aspinall. She reports having horrid dreams during the upheaval.

“In my last one, I was at a dingy bar with my sisters, talking to the main character from Netflix’s Dare Me (?!) when we all heard loud crashing upstairs. I immediately knew someone was trying to kill everyone and ran to the toilets expecting my sisters to follow.

“They didn’t, so I was in a cubicle alone when the killer entered the bathroom. I’m watching her walk towards the toilet mirrors through a crack in the door.

“I’m trying not to breathe too loudly, but she hears me anyway and starts to walk towards me slowly, knife in hand. I think to myself, ‘this is like a horror film’ as what feels like an hour passes. As she gets close, I decide to burst the door open and dive on her.

“Except I don’t, the door just bursts open and I stand there. It’s a teenage girl, looking at me eyes wide and terrified. She knows police are coming for her and she doesn’t know whether to lunge or run. In the dream, I literally remember feeling sorry for her and saying ‘just give me the knife’, so she does and she runs. I throw it on the floor and realise I’m now a murder suspect for touching it. I wake up,” she said.

Aspinall turned to dream expert Lauri Loewenberg who believes Georgia’s dreams, and those of others, are an attempt to rearrange the chaos enveloping her life at this time.

She said that during times of stress our dreams are metaphors for the stress, and they usually amplify the reality.

She said many people were dreaming of tornadoes and tsunamis. Dreams of bugs and ants are probably indications of being irritable, with kids and spouses literally bugging us.

What about dreams people are having about music stars or idols they happen upon in lalaland?

South African musician Barbora Tellinger, who is now based in Prague with her partner shared this dream:

“So last night I dreamed that I was at a Steely Dan concert, in a park, with a group of friends, and we had a good spread of food on a picnic blanket. After the gig the band came to join us (because they knew who I was, of course), and they tried to engage with me and asked many questions throughout the afternoon. But I could never answer, not once, because my mouth was constantly full of food. Not sure what this means, but I don’t think I’ll starve to death just yet!”

Cape Town guest-house owner Cher Poznanovich, dreamt being in the mountains on her way to a camping trip, missed her ride, and got a lift with Bruce Springsteen. “And I go on this road trip with him, hearing about the human spirit thoughts that made up his songs.

“It was so liberating that I woke up feeling freed from the fear that was playing outside,” she said.

Astrologer Linda Shaw advises people to pay attention to their dreams right now.

“Dreams are messages from the unconscious - and right now, we’re being called upon to wake up and change our lives. At times like these, it’s a great idea to keep a notebook by our beds and write down whatever we remember, as soon as we wake up. There will be a message.”

Jotting down dreams as you awaken is also suggested by Doug Addison, author of Understand your Dreams Now. You can buy it here:

If you’ve had interesting dreams you’d like to share or have interpreted, email

me on [email protected] or [email protected]

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