Our expert says:
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.
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