The Forums Forums Medication WOW! What a revelation Re: WOW! What a revelation

#92189 |

Hi Rick.

Thanks for the kind words.

Hi Redward 1965.

Yes I know the documentary well.

As a matter of fact I am also a private pilot and have flown over 140 small planes, mostly antiques & homebuilts.

Been flying since I was a teen. Didn’t know I had ADD till I was 46.

But my ADD & my Tourettes NEVER affected my flying.

When I was diagnosed, I asked my Doctor why that was.

He explained that all us undiagnosed ADDers don’t realize it, but we search for ways to self-medicate so we get what we’re really after – a quiet mind!

Mentioned I used Alcohol as a younger teen, but sensed I was on a “road to hell,” so quit drinking booze and became a pilot instead . <g>

(Sidebar: Also put myself in hospital twice with some strange malady they couldn’t figure out till my 2nd “visit.” The Doctor asked a bunch of questions. “Don’t drink. Never smoked,” I said. “Looks like you have caffeine poisoning,” he said. “Never drink the stuff,” I responded. “Chocolate?” he asked. “One candy bar a month – maybe,” I replied.

“How about TEA?” he said. “Oh, I LIVE on tea,” I replied. “How many cups a day? he asked. “Just normal,” I replied. What’s “normal” he asked {with a look in his eye that told me he’d figured out the problem}. I thought carefully then told the good Doctor, “Oh 35 – 40 cups a day…”

I SWEAR I thought a) there was no caffeine in tea, and b) 35-40 cups a day was normal. Turns out I did have caffeine poisoning and – without realizing it – had been self-medicating my ADD with tea!!! Switched to decaf tea. Without the caffeine, drank less tea. After I got my meds, lost all interest in the beverage. Now drink only water, milk and the occasional cup of hot chocolate (and yes, I KNOW that has caffeine <g>).

Wow! Some sidebar … where was I?

Oh, right – Flying.

My ADD Doc told me many of his ADD patients were Pilots (You’ll hear Doctor Hallowell mention that same fact in “Totally Add & Loving It.”)

“Let me ask you a question,” the Doc said. “When, or where, do you feel ‘at peace’?”

It only took me a second to reply, “When I fly.”

The Doctor grinned and nodded his head (which was unnerving).

“Why ?” I asked.

“Because ADDers make great pilots,” he responded. “The combination of flying the plane and watching the instruments and the weather and the traffic and the maps, together with the “white noise” of the engine & the wind is exactly the environment you guys thrive on.”

“Okay. But WHY?” I wanted to know.

“Because all that activity occupies the part of your brain that usually drives you crazy; that internal conversation that won’t shut up. As a result, the other part of your brain – the “real you” – gets to experience rare moments of peace & quiet. And you’re hooked on that.”

It was a staggering revelation … because it’s true.

Turns out I’d been self-medicating with flying.

Also turns out all us Swans who climb mountains, scuba dive, race cars or run ER departments are doing the same thing!

We’re NOT “Adrenaline Junkies,” as so many think. We actually do what we do because – without realizing it – we get the one thing we REALLY crave…

Peace of mind.

(Sidebar: Attended an ADD conference once where I spoke with a specialist who’d been a Military Doctor in Vietnam. He noticed the “loss ratio” of his pilots went up if they had to fly more than 15 minutes to combat. The Doc had an idea he was dealing with ADDers {who were getting bored} and started his pilots on Dexedrine before their flights. As a result, the loss ratio plummeted and the success ratio soared! It’s a little known fact that the US Air Force has been offering their pilots Dexedrine {so-called “Go Pills”}since 1960 {That’s not a rumor. I have a copy of the U.S. Navy Pilot’s manual on the subject.}. They do it NOT “to get them high,” but to help the ADD Fighter Pilots the Air Force naturally attracts get their symoptoms under control. Dexedrine was on EVERY Apollo Mission (you can read about it in the flight transcripts) and was used on the so-called “Vomit Comet” during weightlessness training! The Air Force is VERY aware that most of their top pilots are “Swans” <vbg).

Oh, man.

That was long.


Cheers till next time,


PS: One last point (big surprise) – that Flight Surgeon told me, “If anything ever goes wrong when I’m flying in an airliner, I pray one of you ADDers are in the pilot’s seat.” “WHY?” I asked. “Because with you guys, it’s always about, ‘The Next Thing, The Next Thing, The Next thing…,’ and I know you ADD pilots will go through every possible scenario to save the flight – and you’ll do it in nanoseconds.”

Know what? He’s right.