Thursday, December 20, 2007


I have a very, very sensitive sense of smell. It's not problematic, but I pick up on things other people don't and can get nauseous very easily at odd smells. And even sometimes at not so odd smells.

Like the lotion I brought to work today. Our clinic is "smell free" zone (which probably has something to do with my sensitivity since I've worked here for over two years). We have policies against wearing perfume or using smelly foo foo stuff. Our patients are going through chemo and we don't want to make them nauseous. So I normally have unscented, Suave lotion in my office. Well, I ran out yesterday and grabbed a little thing of Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion from Bath & Body Works that came in a little gift set last year because it's winter and I wash my hands 20 times a day and not having lotion around is just unheard of.

I love the Warm Vanilla Sugar bath gel in the bath, but the lotion is making me sick right now. It's just not fading. And my concern is that if I smell this all day, and stay nauseous from it all day, when I use my bath gel, I will suddenly dislike the smell, thus forcing me to eliminate a once loved aroma from my arsenal (you should see the basket of bath stuff I have on the back of my toilet. Love, love, love good smellin' bubble bath stuff!) So I need to go wash my hands again to get this smell off, then go hunt down some unscented lotion. Yes, it's a busy, stressful day around here in Raechelle-land.

In addition to smells making me nauseous (I actually had to ask my massage therapist not use the unscented oil on me because it did in fact have a scent that turned my stomach and I had to shower as soon as I got home after every massage), they also have a very powerful emotional effect on me. Some might even say I need to bring this up in therapy.

I've been known to cry when I smell my mom's perfume, Coty Musk, in a public place, or when I get a whiff of.....whatever it is, that smells like my uncle's old shed. I bought a candle for my bedroom because when I sniffed it at the store, it reminded me of someone I miss. But then earlier this week, when I was so sad, I had to put the candle away, because, again, it reminded me of someone I miss. There's a certain cologne, I don't know the name of it, that reminds me of a ex-boyfriend who almost hit me a long time ago, so I get creeped out when I smell it.

The smell of Method Baby Laundry detergent reminds me of Daniela and Jonah, motor oil reminds me of my brother because he was always working on his car and chardonnay reminds me of my sister. BBQ will forever remind me of the Lock & Keel because they smoked their own bbq out back and baking peanut butter cookies remind me of my Aunt Lois because I would go over there every christmas and bake cookies with her.

It's truly amazing my head doesn't explode during the day.

This neurotic post brought to you by Lush. Someone bought me some of their bath stuff a few years ago and I just loved the smell of it. I forget the name. I would always stock up when we'd go to Vancouver, but now there's a Lush store in Seattle! Whee!


Anonymous said...

YEAH! Chardonnay! What about my GAP body spray that I keep in my car? :)

Monica said...

OMG! I have always been able to smell everything, and I mean everything, since I can remember, always causing me either headaches or be in a bad mood. I never realized that it was my sensitive sense of smell that drove my mood and my headaches! I just never paid attention to it, but I just realized that smells have a huge significance on how my day turns out. If I don't have something that smells good, then I can smell everything else, even people's feet, shampoo, cheap perfume, I can even smell what people have touched or what detergent they used, I am tired of it, because that drives my mood up and down! I get headaches from all the million smells that Im around. I totally feel the same when you buy a nice lotion but ends up making you sick because the smell is just so there like something I can do about it?

Anonymous said...

Same here. Can´t use nail polish the smell lasts for days and really can´t stand it.

rateesh said...

hey even i have this sensitivity to smells, at sometime its really good to have it, but sometimes u really regret to have such kinda nose, it really kills.

justin said...

Yeah, no, I guess it's not so very much of hyperosmia to be able to sense the lotions and all the bubbly bath stuff:) It's just a good, normal and healthy nose you have. Regards from the vast internet

David said...

I read your article a while back, and really do appreciate it!

I deal with it, and it's very, very dibilitating.

There's also two other conditions, that are sort of related. Here's a great article in the NY times:
Parosmia, hyperosmia, and phantosmia.
I'm not sure which I have, but I don't feel like the superheros listed here!: