Running For The First Time Since The Marathon And An End To My Nytol Addiction.
Today I ran for the first time since the marathon!
It was an excellent run in less than excellent conditions.
The forecast today was for persistent heavy rain and I woke up this morning thinking that I should probably wait until the weather was better before making a move.
But sometimes you can’t afford to wait to make a move and you just have to get out there and do it otherwise it will be worse again tomorrow.
So I ran in the soaking rain for 10.3 miles and completed the run in 1 hour 38 minutes at an average pace of 9:29 min/mile.
It was a super run and in some ways a landmark. A cyclist and his friend shouted “keep it going big lad!” at mile 7 and instead of flipping him off and shouting “Thanks, whore!” I waved and said “Thanks, man!”
I finished mile 8 in an 8:38.
Now for the reason I’ve been so hysterical recently.
If you follow me on Facebook or on the blog here a lot then you’ll have noticed I’ve been even more neurotic than usual.
It’s all been part of me quitting sleeping tablets gradually in Crete.
By sleeping tablets I mean Nytol/Benadryl/dipenhydramine.
How can anyone get hooked on Nytol?
I started taking Nytol back in 2010 when I moved back to my parents after living in Belfast for a year.
At the time I was at my heaviest (280lbs) and I started ‘dieting’ to try to bring my weight down a little. I found the drug convenient as it would allow me to go to bed early and I wouldn’t crave sugary foods and could then wake up fresh and motivated.
In the first few months, one or two Nytol would knock me out and I could just wake up feeling refreshed.
Then the tolerance started kicking in.
Since 2010 and until the start of May, I’d been taking 3-4 diphenhydramine tablets a night to sleep.
Suffice to say, the drug stopped working long before this and I’d become mentally dependent on something that was ultimately useless.
Besides, I was beginning to have some nasty side effects from misusing it.
I stopped the Nytol for 2 weeks in December 2011 on my trip across Scandinavia and had panic attacks by night in Copenhagen thinking that if I fell asleep then I’d seize up.
Not fun. But the hot dogs on Strøget pulled me through!
Running in the diphenhydramine haze.
Trying to do speedwork at 5am in the early winter of 2013 training for the Belfast Marathon as a Nytol fiend was quite difficult.
I’d feel paranoid that the birds in the trees weren’t making the right chirping noises and that they were really State-planted microphones.
Fortunately I’d ‘wake up’ after the 3rd mile and be completely sober by the time the run was over, but it was at this point I knew I was messing with something that wasn’t helping me whatsoever.
More Nytol horrors
I started taking Nytol at nights to try to sleep easier and be less tempted by late night sugary treats, but by the end of my use I would wake up with empty Kit Kat wrappers in my bed anyway.
On my ‘therapeutic’ dose of 3-4 tablets a night I’d often be on the verge of panic and would experience some other troubling side effects, including but not restricted to.
- Seeing ghost faces in the back of my computer monitor that would disappear when I’d gaze away.
- Being on edge and having to check the corners of my room after seeing things or people move in my peripheral vision.
- Hearing telephones ringing when I was trying to drift off.
- Being in bed and hearing people talking inside my head but being unable to determine what was being said. Best way I can describe it is with a Youtube link to the outro of “What You Want” by My Bloody Valentine. The talking in the background is very close to what I would hear.
- Being more terrified of mirrors than usual. I remember seeing someone else’s face in the mirror one night other than my own. It was the drugs. But you tend to get terrified that one such sighting could be the start of a full on episode.
Why I stopped diphenhydramine
The reason I stopped taking Nytol was because I wanted to do more with my nights. I wanted to feel vaguely human again and a bit less numb.
The last week has proved that I can sleep well (or even better) without any shitty drugs to help.
Sometimes I receive complaints from readers who try to argue that I’m somehow promoting drugs by writing about problems like this. They’re obviously missing the point. This blog is about my attempt to move past the problems I’ve experienced.
I can only write about what’s real to me. I could write the same old “running is great, carbs are bad, fast food is awful, booze will kill you, I’ll live forever with water” bullshit that you read on most other sites, but that’s of no use to anyone.
Besides, I hate those blogs and those that write them.
Another 10 mile run tomorrow.
Tomorrow I’ll be going out again in much better weather to do another 10 miles! It will be great!