The dissociative states - derealization and depersonalization - are possibly the most common yet misunderstood and under-discussed anxiety symptoms. For many, they’re the most difficult symptoms to fully accept and not fear.
Dissociative states exist on a continuum. The most common and mild state is that “zoning out/daydream” state that we all experience from time to time. On the other end of the continuum are serious and frightening things like dissociative disorders that often involve permanent or near permanent states of derealization or depersonalization.
In the case of anxiety disorders like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, dissociative states are simply anxiety symptoms much like a racing heart or wobbly legs or mild dizziness. They’re no more and no less. They are not indicative of any grave danger, nor are they permanent or indicative of any serious mental illness or defect. Though they may be extremely uncomfortable, upsetting and frightening, they are merely