We all know someone who claims that they are a new person after some life change. Whether it’s a breakup, weight loss, switching majors or graduation, this person insists they are not who they used to be. Recently, psychologists have coined a new term to describe this trait: Derailment. Emerging research has demonstrated a close relationship between derailment and symptoms of depression, anxiety and more.
Derailment is defined as one’s “perceived changes in identity and self-direction.” It’s commonly viewed as a temporal discordance of the self, meaning that individuals high in derailment may have a hard time making meaningful connections between who they saw themselves as in the past and who they see themselves as now.