You know I always have you, my readers, best interests at heart, so today I find it crucial to pass on this very important PSA you should all be aware of.
Do you find yourselves driving a daily path and suddenly noticing something new along the way, then question yourself about how long it's really been there and why you haven't noticed it before? Maybe you're one to be walk through a parking lot and not notice others coming and going because you're busy talking to someone, or thinking about something, or heading where you need to go? Do you sit in your cubicle (or office) at work with your back to the doorway and not notice when people come in and sit down waiting to talk to you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you too could be suffering from SAD (Situational Awareness Disorder). A recent study was released* discussing the causes and known side effects of SAD. The study noted most people living with SAD don't even know they have it. And those who discover they're suffering from SAD have a difficult time accepting it. I was one of those unfortunate few until the study opened my eyes, and I now accept my SAD situation and work daily to improve it.
To better illustrate how SAD quietly takes over and rules your life, I'd like to share with you some of my personal SAD experiences. These may be difficult for some of you to read since they will most likely hit close to home, and it has taken me several months to get to the point of accepting I suffer from SAD. Just remember I'm concerned about your well being and hope you will read the situations carefully, analyze your own situations, and be honest with yourself. It's the first step in the healing process.
SAD Situation #1: The Office - As many of you can probably relate, my desk is situated such that the opening to my cubicle is at a 90 degree angle to where my monitor sits, a 180 degree angle to where my phone sits, and my visitor chair sits directly behind my chair, completely obstructed from my direct line of vision.
One afternoon, several months ago while on the phone and concentrating on the conversation at hand, I was absorbed in looking back and forth at printed reports on my desk and other data on my monitor. As the conversation ended and I went to hang up the phone, I nearly fell out of my chair and let out a little squeal as I felt something (or in this case someone) simultaneously poking both of my sides. As I would discover, it was Groove. He'd walked in, sat down in my visitor chair and patiently waited for me to finish my conversation completely unbeknownst to me.
This was my introduction to SAD though I was completely unwilling to admit it at the time.
SAD Situation #2: The Interstate - Most every day, and most every time of day, the portion of the Interstate I travel is congested. Obviously watching traffic is a major concern. The secondary concern - watching for law enforcement. Because of these two neccessities I find it difficult, if not impossible, to notice much that isn't directly in front of me. So when something new is added - such as a pole with a camera watching traffic flow and presumably recording speed as it is placed immediately before the "speed trap" area - I rarely notice.
Thankfully I have friends who don't suffer from SAD to keep me informed of these situations. However, a well noted side effect of SAD is this - even when informed of a situation, and repeatedly reminded, you still may be completely situationally unaware.
Note: I still haven't seen said pole (even though it's been mentioned multiple times in the past few weeks) and have not, as of this report, been caught in the "speed trap".
SAD Situation #3: The Parking Lot - Generally speaking I am, what I'd like to consider, at my peak of awareness when walking through a parking lot. Apparently my peak is comparable with others valleys.
Walking out to the front parking lot at work the other day, Groove and I stopped to chat. A few minutes into the conversation he turns to me and asks, "Which security guard just went into the building?" I looked at him with those deer-in-the-headlights eyes and asked "What security guard?"
I'd seen people walking though the parking lot. I'd even noticed my friend Karen walking into the building and could tell you exactly what she was wearing though I'm sure that's because I'd already seen her several times that day and had absorbed the information earlier, but I hadn't seen the security guard at all.
It was inevitable and time to finally admit to myself. I am suffering from SAD. Looking back with the knowledge I now have about SAD and how it controls your life, I realize I've been suffering from this disorder for much longer than I ever realized. Are you? Don't be afraid to admit it. Acceptance is the first step to recovery.
*The study revealed in this PSA, and all other information provided on SAD (Situational Awareness Disorder), is in no way, shape or form professional medical information and has not been researched, authorized or reported by any professional medical personnel that I know of.