Desperately Seeking Adrenaline

I told a friend of mine yesterday that I felt like I might be addicted to adrenaline, that I feel antsy unless there’s an ever-present thrum of looming disaster, and if one doesn’t present, I’ve become good at conjuring.

She helpfully recharacterized this not as an addiction, but rather as simply what became normal during the exigencies. In the calm of the hereafter, everything seems just so, well, calm. It’s disquieting. And antsy.

At the start of improv class tonight—yes, I went back!—we were asked what we hoped to get out of the evening, and I told the group that I wanted to experiment with intentionally seeking adrenaline as an alternative to having it awkwardly leak into my workaday life.

I reasoned that if I could ride the improv tiger, I might lessen both the unwanted appearance of the tiger at 3:00 a.m., and the unintentional introduction otherwise of the tiger into situations where tigers clearly don’t belong.

It’s too soon to tell whether this works, or even makes any sense, but I can say that I did achieve a certain level of ecstasy tonight, a brief few minutes where I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing, I was just doing it, listening to a different part of myself than I usually listen to. That was amazing, and worth the expenditure of gumption it took to get me to the stage.

I realized tonight, as well, that learning to ride horses and learning improv are more alike than I imagined: both involve trust, the giving and receiving of gifts, and being willing to be vulnerable in the face of greater forces.

There have been a few times I’ve been riding Tye the Horse when I’ve achieved an ecstasy similar to that I felt on stage tonight, a moment when I felt like I trusted Tye, and Tye trusted me, and we did something truly together.

And perhaps that is the key to confronting the tiger: finding ways of connecting, of finding togetherness, and learning to trust in the possible beauty of what comes next.


Ton Zijlstra 's picture
Ton Zijlstra on November 9, 2021 - 12:50 Permalink

Very recognisable, not sure if it's adrenaline addiction, but there definitely is a withdrawal effect after a longtime stressful everyday period. Ptss , continuous ptss is similar. For years after my depression I organised/caused a certain level of chaos around myself, that while it wasn't manageable at least was a known quantity.

Ton Zijlstra 's picture
Ton Zijlstra on November 9, 2021 - 12:51 Permalink

Horses and improv to me sound like a much healthier way of dealing with such a thing, I must add.