I don't believe I was one of the "high reactive" children described in the article, but I've still had some major issues dealing with social anxiety over the years. Most people who've met me don't know it, but a lot of even the most simple social interactions at one time scared the crap out of me. If we want to be honest, a large chunk of my early twenties involved me avoiding banks and doing everything through ATMs because of this very issue.
I used to freak out about so much more stuff than I do now (as once I get familiar with a process it becomes less intimidating -- heck, now everyone at my bank knows who I am). There were quite a few times in my life where I've given myself insomnia because of it. It's a complicated issue to deal with, but one which I've created the necessary survival tools to do so. Frankly, what I do most of the time, is just hide the panic and do my best to look like I'm functioning like a "normal person."
From what I'm told, I'm very good at masking it.
But while social anxiety still plagues me, I used to be obsessed with worrying about everything else. I remember a month in High School where I barely slept for more than an hour or two at night because of it. What I learned then though, and what keeps me relaxed now, is how to stop worrying. What I do is only worry about what I can do at that exact moment. If I can't fix something right then and there, then I put it out of my mind until I can do something about it.
Overly simplistic? Maybe. But it helps me sleep at night.
Most of the time.
It's never something that's easy, and I'm often left wondering how many other people are constantly freaking out like I am. I mean, it's not like I can see into their heads and recognize it. If I can hide it, then anyone really can. Maybe, just maybe, we're all scared together - and maybe we're all just hiding it. Maybe we exist as a culture as a large mask merely hiding the terrified interior.
God, that would be depressing. I really hope that isn't anywhere near the truth.
In the end though, it's not like I can tell. I can just deal with my own issues and hope you can deal with yours. Or, if you can't deal with yours, that you reach out for help when you need it. Because in this life, the hardest lesson for me was learning to rely on other people. I hope it's a lesson other people can figure out too.