Livingston’s Guide To Lesser Known Psychoses: Flat Surface Syndrome (FSS)
There being not just one, but two links to the post mentioned, it’s not bloody likely I will repeat that explanation here – even though that explanation is probably shorter than this explanation of why I’m not wasting my time explaining it.
This time, we’ll be talking about another ubiquitous, yet barely acknowledged condition I call, Flat Surface Syndrome (FSS). I’m sure everyone has seen at least one example of it without even realizing it. Both observer and sufferer may be completely oblivious to the condition.
So, what then is FSS? Simply put, it is a compulsion to cover any flat surface with random objects until that surface is no longer flat. If there is a flat surface, no matter how miniscule, the FSS sufferer needs to put something on it.
If you click on the picture above, you will see it in somewhat more detail.
In that picture, there are indications the afflicted person living there may have had an FSS induced breakdown. The first indication is the empty space on the back of the maroon arm chair at lower left. Clearly, this person was interrupted by something. A more subtle indication, perhaps only recognizable by someone familiar with the condition, is the number of books. Books are the bane of the FSS sufferer’s existence. No matter how one stacks books, or how many, one is still left with a flat surface. On occasion, that persistent inability to satisfy the compulsion will push an otherwise stable person with FSS over the edge and into madness.
It is important that Flat Surface Syndrome not be confused with hoarding. What sets FSS apart from hoarding behavior is, as you can see in the picture above, a person who has FSS will typically leave a pathway through the stacked items, whereas a hoarder will completely fill the living space without regard to navigability.
As mentioned, the space illustrated above clearly belongs to a hoarder. Notice how there is no possible way to traverse the space. Someone with FSS would, at the very least, need to leave a trail to that huge flat space on the front of the tractor. That tractor, as is, would be an FSS sufferer’s “great white whale,” and no amount of hoarded detritus would deter an individual seriously afflicted FSS from reaching that space in order to cover it with bric-a-brac.
Under normal conditions, FSS is spread from one person to another by sharing a living space. There is almost an osmotic quality to the infection. In its initial stages, the condition may be so subtle, it may easily be disguised as the normal behavior of a harried individual.
If you care for your friend, an early intervention, and removal from the source of infection may be the only salvation available.
Take a look around your own work space. And welcome to a New Week, Bitches!