I was at a party one night, and someone there was obviously in distress. She was having a hard time talking and wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone. I felt sorry for her, because I could tell she was fighting panic. There’s a phobia called social phobia that is an anxiety disorder. Most people recognize it as an intense fear of public speaking, but it also includes any situation where you have a fear of interacting with other people. This woman didn’t want to be at the party and had only come to please her husband. She was miserable the whole evening and it took all her courage to stay.
One of the characteristics of social phobia is constant worry about what other people will think about you. Even children can develop social phobia. What’s ironic is that this woman was doing exactly what she needs to be doing in order to overcome her phobia. She was exposing herself to the kind of situation that makes her panic.