Anxiety can be a helpful tool or can make someone unable to function properly in society. When preparing for a test, for example, a person may have performance anxiety, forcing them to start studying weeks ahead of time.
As long as this does not interfere with their other activities, it can be useful. If, however, this prevents them from participation in things due to their obsession with perfectionism, that may pose a problem.
Sometimes individuals do not know how to act when faced with anxiety. Such is the case with Lewis whose main coping skill is to clean. Lewis actually perfected this skill so that it became a routine, but he is unable to do anything else.
In fact, Lewis uses cleaning, and his routine, as a way to avoid anxiety. When faced with any type of anxious situations, he automatically finds other areas to focus on.
There is never laundry to do in the house, the toys are always picked up, and items are straightened in the bathrooms and kitchen. If any type of mess is made by someone else, he is right behind them to pick it up.
When there is no mess to distract him, he becomes paralyzed if forced to discuss an anxious situation. He is unable to discuss the issues, problem solve, take action, or see possibilities for a plan.
Although he has learned a way to control how anxiety affects him, Lewis is not able to function when faced with it. Perhaps this is what he witnessed to be a coping skill, or just something he felt comfortable with.
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