On Interpreting My Dreams

by Devina

The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious. – Sigmund Freud

I woke up few nights ago from a dream – it was another zombie apocalypse, one of the people in my group (acquaintance I believe, since I never remembered her or his name) started transitioning into a zombie when I stuck a blade between his or her eyes. When I told my sister of that, she responded with, “You always have dreams about fighting zombies.” So there wasn’t much I could say to that. Maybe there really wasn’t any significance to it.

You think about it: we, especially me as an artist, see a lot of things everyday, right? The visual inputs we receive, all mixed up together, jumbled up in our heads, for some reason have to form an artwork somewhere, don’t you think? And perhaps, little tiny bits of things we view, things we hear about and imagine sometimes, team up and create what we encounter in our sleep: dreams.

One prominent neurobiological theory of dreaming is the “activation-synthesis hypothesis,” which states that dreams don’t actually mean anything: they are merely electrical brain impulses that pull random thoughts and imagery from our memories. – Sander van der Linden, Scientific American

But what if there was something more?

My overthinking self went this far to thinking that, since I love going against the norm, the fighting against zombies must be of it, right? It does not make that much sense that I always fight against zombies in my dreams since I don’t really watch the Walking Dead series (Sorry, WD fans), if anything, I watch a lot of vampires and werewolves. So why not those hybrids instead?

So here’s the idea. Zombies come from a virus that infects mankind and turns them into brain dead army roaming around aimlessly, simply inhabiting the earth. Or at least, that’s my definition of it. Now, if you see my definition of social norm, it’s basically – erhm, similar. Thus, me running around from zombies and killing them, might be the reflection of my personality and life choices: a little girl screaming “RUN!” in the face of social norms.

Also, it could be a way of emotional release.

Our dream stories essentially try to strip the emotion out of a certain experience by creating a memory of it. This way, the emotion itself is no longer active.  This mechanism fulfills an important role because when we don’t process our emotions, especially negative ones, this increases personal worry and anxiety. –Sander van der Linden, Scientific American

What does that say about my zombie dreams? That I might have been pressured by the society to follow the uptight, well groomed, social norms that I even dream about them being zombies?

However, considering that it is best to get these emotions out, my dreams have been my way of helping myself get through the stresses and pressures.

That reminds me, few weeks back one of my good friends told me that she had a dream that her boyfriend left her. Now, putting the fact that dreams help emotional stress out, she probably just had a lot of fear that channeled through and went straight to REM. I should probably text her and tell her about it.

Jung believed that dreams were the most accessible source of the individual’s symbolic self, and that they held valuable information for understanding individuals and their personalities.  He believed that our dreams provide a valuable link between our abstract, complex, and symbolic thought and more primitive, pictorial, or concrete thought. – Hazel Trego, Decoded Science

Say, if this is just it. That yes, this “society is uniform and I refuse to conform” is what my dreams mean. Can this go even deeper?

I don’t think I want to go over the “link between abstract, complex, and symbolic thought and more primitive, pictorial or concrete thought” yet. But if I did, what would come out of it?


If the underdeveloped traits from our daily life are reflected in dreams, what would one say about his or her untapped potentials? Considering how I’ve been killing and running away from zombies, does that mean I am a potential assassin deep down inside? Or is it merely a simple desire to be killing zombies left and right? Is it fear of being stranded in a place where everyone is out to kill you? Is it the acknowledgement that every single one of us is stranded in a world where everyone is out to get you? To turn you into one of them?

Truly, if we just simply see it that way, no matter how deep we get, my dreams of being chased by zombies truly reflect my usual fear of succumbing to social expectations.

But then again, I might need another head to sit down with me, chugging down some caffeine and asking the questions of, “What else is there?”

No dream symbol can be separated from the individual who dreams it, and there is no definite or straightforward interpretation of any dream. – Carl Jung



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