Death Wish or Life Wish

I'm reading a book by Thom Hartmann (it's a book I've had for years but don't remember the title and it's sitting in my desk at work). It questions ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder - with or without Hyperactivity) as a disability and looks at it through the screen of a personality type, or skills set.

I have an "official" diagnosis of ADD (inattentive); it gets me ritalin if I want it during exam weeks, although I have not used prescription meds in years. I do self-medicate with caffeine.

The prescriptions that work for those with this diagnosis? psycho-stimulants.

But wait...why would a stimulant work to slow down a person?

Here is the theory: There are a certain number of people who have a function in their body that releases less of a chemical than the body of the person living next door to them. (Do I remember the name? no, but the book is at work.) This chemical stimulates the nervous system.

So (the theory goes) I have less of this chemical running around in my body, so I feel less "stimulated". How would this affect the way I run my life?

How would a child sitting in a class for hours give him(or her)self stimulation. Impulsively jumping out of the seat? Pulling the hair of the nearest child? Bouncing legs, doodling, watching the birds fly by the window?

How would this play out in an adult life? Waiting until the last minute to write a paper, somehow liking the stress of the impending deadline? Careening down a hill on a piece of wood called a "snowboard"? Strapping a big piece of fabric to one's back and jumping out of an airplane?

"Normals" look at this behavior and say, "That person has a death wish." They are wrong.

We have a life wish. If you ask somebody at the bottom (or top) of a cliff after a rappel or climb, they will tell you that they feel alive.


It is the desire for the feeling of "aliveness" that brings with it the urge for "high risk" behaviors, whether sports, exploration or sexual acts.

I have a "life wish" - I want to do new things. I want to experience the wind in my face, snow in my eyes, water in my ears. I want to feel the sun on my back as I climb, the cool of water in my face as I dive.
I want to experience danger, excitement, even fear. I want to feel the flash in my limbs as adrenalin shoots down to my fingertips and toes. These are the feelings that life is made of and I want to experience life.

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