Feelings of unreality, or being detached from everyone else are very common panic attack symptoms, it’s almost as if the external world is somehow strange and unreal. Some people experience their surroundings as lacking depth and vibrancy, whilst others feel as if they are in some sort of bubble, detached from everyone and everything else. The feelings and experiences attached to these particular panic attack symptoms are those of a world filled with unreality. It makes you sometimes wonder if it’s you or the external world that feels unreal and it is this internal puzzle that makes many people wonder if they are going mad.

One common aspect of the panic attack symptoms associated with derealisation is that the bubble described above which separates the sufferer with the outside world, is like a fog or misty sheet of glass, some people describe this as seeing the world through a veil with everything lacking clarity and crispness.

Another common observation of these panic attack symptoms is that the surroundings of the home or wherever the panic attack takes place change and become somehow unfamiliar and strange. In fact often times, the more familiar the surroundings, the more bazaar and unreal the effect can appear.

One of the most disturbing aspects of this part of the panic attack symptoms is that this disassociated feeling can persist after the panic attack has subsided causing constant worrying thoughts which increases the anxiety level and can lead to avoidant behaviour and give rise to agoraphobia. Anybody experiencing this is likely to think that they are going mad, not realising that it is actually being caused by their anxiety.

In physics, this type of situation is known as a feedback loop, the result is amplifying the cause in a viscous circle that can only be broken by removing one of its components, in this case either the derealisation or the anxiety.

Of all the panic attack symptoms, this is perhaps the most worrying and troublesome. Whilst we can reassure you that it is caused purely by your anxiety, the brain has severe challenges in recognising this for what it is, i.e. one of the panic attack symptoms. However the key to removing the anxiety from the feedback loop is just that, an acceptance that this is OK and not something to worry about.

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