Exhausted: Being Very Cognizant has a High Cost

Have you ever had the experience of walking up to a line, waiting patiently, and the person in front of you suddenly–without looking or thinking–suddenly takes a few steps back and almost knocks you over?

What about of walking toward a door with both hands full and the person in front of you–completely unaware of your existence–effectively slams the door in your face?

What about of pulling up to a busy restaurant with a busy drive through and being unable to park because the other cars constantly block the entrance and/or the parking spaces–also unaware of your existence and potentially afraid someone will cut in front of them?

What about of being the one who coordinates and remembers everyday tasks in your household? 

What about of never getting a chance to say what you want to because you don’t want to interrupt the other person/people who keep talking?

What about of having people spell your name incorrectly (when they have the spelling available) or having people abbreviate/abridge your name? 

What about of noticing and caring about the errors and mistakes found almost everywhere – such as the top of a cabinet a crew forgot to paint or the spelling error on a menu?

What about of not saying anything because you know you’ll be the only one who remembers/notices?  

Such are just a handful of illustrations that roughly articulate some of the frustration, mental workload, and, as termed by Dr. Lisa Wade in an article that partially inspired this one, invisible workload of being very cognizant — of always seeing, watching, remembering, and planning–using that information to guide your movements through everyday life before acting. 

This is very true for me. Seeing, really seeing and being aware can be exhausting. Especially when so few really see and so many show how much they don’t see. Especially when I am accused of “being too picky.” It takes a great deal of patience and listening to see and when you really see, the world is full of even more mystery. 

People frequently like to pathologize those who are different and see things they can’t see or don’t want to see. People have even accused me of having OCD at times.

What if it really just comes down to that some people deeply see and pay very close attention to the world around them

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda