Monster Man used to be the type of child that wasn't afraid of anything. I remember going to the bathroom one time when he was two and walking out to find him standing on top of the refrigerator. While on the swings, he always begged to be pushed higher. Danger? What danger? He didn't seem to know what the word meant.
Imagine my surprise when he started having major anxiety issues this past summer! He and Angel Baby visited my mom in the North Carolina mountains over the summer. You can't even tell you're in the mountains where she lives, but he was sure he was going to fall off the side of the mountain. When he heard about a hurricane in the Atlantic, he was sure it was going to come up the mountain after them. A couple of weeks later, he was invited to Six Flags with his best friend. He refused to go on most of the rides, afraid that the rides would come off the tracks, that he might slip out of his seat belt, that something - anything - might happen to kill him. In fact, he was so scared and was vocalizing his concerns so loudly that he ended up scaring people in line around him.
A week later, my hubby and I took the kids to the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center to see the Star Wars exhibit. Monster Man, a major Star Wars fan, would have a blast (we thought). When we arrived at the space center, he started panicking that the rockets out front would fall over on top of him. We had a hard time getting him to walk around and an even harder time convincing him to give the rides a try (interestingly, once he got on the rides he kept wanting to ride over and over again). Worst of all, he was terrified by the domed movie theater. Sitting too high had him in tears, and he still hid his face when I moved lower with him. The objects on the screen were too big for his comfort.
His anxiety hasn't just turned out to be fear about his own well-being. If Angel Baby's bus is even ten minutes late getting home, he worries that it might have gotten in an accident. If Little Man is running around, Monster Man is afraid he'll fall and get hurt. Sometimes, it seems like Monster Man is in almost a constant state of worry, and it breaks my heart.
Unfortunately, anxiety can go hand-in-hand with Tourette Syndrome. We're currently working on ways to help him calm down when his anxiety hits, including breathing exercises and a lot of patience, and his doctor has given him some medicine for when his anxiety is at its worst (though I've never remembered to have it with me at the times he's needed it thus far, so we're still not sure how well it works for him).