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Question
Posted by: Julie | 2006/04/18

panick attacks at functions

I find myself having a panic attack when I have to go out with my baby to social functions. I feel as if everyone is judging and critizicing me as a mother and firing tons of awkward questions at me regarding my baby’s health and care. I find it overwhelming most times. I cannot sleep at night sometimes when I know I have to go out with my baby to another function. My mother is having her birthday party soon with all her friends(mostly female) and I am dreading it as I know I will struggle to cope. She just wants me to bring my baby with so she can show him off to all her friends. She also keeps pushing me to see her one friend who also has a new grandson and I really don’t get on with this particular woman which I have told her to no avail. I tried to explain to her how hard it is for me and how uncomfortable I will feel in a crowd with my baby but she didn’t understand as usual and was quite pushy about how I must come to her birthday party. I tried to suggest we just meet together for coffee the following day to celebrate her birthday but she wouldn’t accept that. I find that I cannot socialize at any function with my baby as my entire attention is focused on his needs. I end up having a horrible and very stressful time. I have asked my husband to come with me to her birthday to help me out with looking after our baby as I can’t cope by myself with all those people. He was not too keen but he will go with me. Is there something wrong with me that I feel uncomfortable at a function with my baby? Funny thing is my mother in law actually understands how I feel and often suggests getting a babysitter when there are social functions like a birthday dinner etc so I can enjoy myself and be free.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sounds worth a proper assessment by a friendly local shrink. Though the anxiety you feel in these situations may feel panicky, what you're describing sounds more like a slightly different variety of anxiety disorder, a Social Anxiety Disorder, which typically focusses on those feelings of being watched and assessed by others. Some medications, and CBT counselling, can often clear this up fairly rapidly. In the specific occasion of your mother's birthday, it'd be really good if you could explain this difficulty to your husband and if he could come along, to help with the baby and give you some support. If you see the right shrink soon, next year you could be really enjoying parties like that.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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