Associating Smells

 I have a big problem when it comes to smells and scents. They drive me mad! I can’t stand other people’s deodorants, body washes, shampoo, conditioner, perfume, aftershaves, washing detergents, air freshness, house sprays, cooking smells, the list is probably never ending.

It really aggravates not only my nose but my whole mood and wellbeing. I can be having a good day and then someone with strong aftershave might brush past me or a friend with strong perfume or washing detergent will give me a hug and it can send me into an emotional overload! It’s crazy that my mood, emotions and day can be ruined just by a smell but it really happens.

I also don’t think my OCD helps in that respect either. I can become fixated on a small if it hangs around me or say if someone comes into my room or sits on my bed and their deodorant or scent can sometimes linger which really makes me upset. I have to either cover my bed with another duvet or blanket just for them to sit on and then remove it when they go to get washed so I can use my normal bed underneath to sleep in without any alien smells on the covers.

I think my SPD heightens my senses and keeps them 100% alert 24/7 which is extremely tiring because it can be hard to filter things out. I went to a Costco store yesterday (American store but this is was a UK branch) and was completely overwhelmed by everything when I walked in. There were so many different lights, a multitude of colours, weird smells, people with trolleys ( I found the huge trolley a bit unwieldy to push at times) it was like a crazy environment I hadn’t experienced before. Towards the end of shopping I was so tired I was mentally drained from not being able to filter out everything that was going on around me but also physically tired just from walking around all the aisles.

Cooking smells are also super problematic. Anything spicey, fishy, meaty, herb or cooking oil covered is really unappealing to all of my senses. I didn’t like writing this post because I can pretty much smell the smells I’m talking about. I think I associate certain smells with certain moods and emotions as a result of SPD. I think there’s almost like a language/dictionary of smells in my head like a built in catalogue I can refer to. A world without strong smells would make my life a lot happier and easier and I think my OCD wouldn’t be as prominent.

How do you cope with smells? Do certain smells bother and irritate you? Also how do you manage in busy shopping environments? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “Associating Smells

  1. I hate perfumes and artificially scented body or home products – I can feel dizzy and nauseous if I spend too much time around them. I tend to steer clear of those for myself. I think I’m a little less sensitive to smell than some of the other senses, though – touch, sound, and light affect me more.

    In terms of shopping environments, having a list and/or specific objective helps me. Sometimes having someone along helps keep me focused. Also, having a time limit sometimes prevents me from getting too overwhelmed.

    By the way, hello. I’m 32 and just started seeing an occupational therapist for sensory processing issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad someone else feels the same way as me! Yeah I’m the same touch and noise probably bother me the most but smells can affect my mood which is so annoying!

      I like your idea of the list and having an objective that sounds like it keeps you focused and having someone with you is a good idea – I like to do that too. The time period as well is such a good idea because then you are only subjecting yourself to a busy place for a short amount of time – thanks for the tips!

      Hi it’s nice to hear from you 🙂 if you don’t mind me asking do you live in the UK or a different country? Good luck with your OT I always found it super helpful, feel free to comment or email me anytime 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m 32, been dealing with this all my life. Smells aren’t my most prominent sense, but certain ones do irritate the hell out of me and make me feel like my throat is closing and they are swallowing me whole!
    Stores exhaust me. I have to basically put on blinders, mentally. If I’m just looking around, it’s not so bad. I have a set path that I generally follow and I focus on the person I’m with or I direct my thoughts inwardly. If I have specific things I need to get, I stick to my list. I even write my list based on the set path I follow in the store, so I’m not wasting time and energy doubling back for things! After I’m back home and things are put away, I get into my “comfy clothes” and relax for a bit to recharge!

    Also, my sense of smell became my cooking super power when I figured out that it could be a positive thing! I can literally just think of a couple ingredients and their smell and taste is so strong in my mind that I can immediately know whether they’d go well together or not. I don’t really follow recipes, I cook based on my memory of smells and tastes, if that makes sense. Once I took control over that, I started to enjoy food a lot more and even started to like more and more things (always was super picky before).

    I hope this helps!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s so interesting and great to find other people who have the same problems as me. I totally get what you mean about your throat closing up it kind of takes over. I wish I could put physical blinders on in stores everything is just to bright and colourful I can’t focus! that’s a great idea writing your list ad mapping out your journey through the store and it saves your energy I’m going to have to try it! I’m exactly the same changing bro comfy clothes as soon as a I get home it’s all so overwhelming.

      That’s absolutely brilliant you’ve used your sense of smell to an advantage! I bet you’d be a great chef. That’s a definite skill to be able to not follow recipes and work with smells and tastes. I’m a nightmare I can’t cook at all – I literally burn everything! I still am a bit of a picky eater but I’m hoping I will get better the older I get. It’s super helpful thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah you should definitely write a cookbook – I’d buy it 🙂 but yes I can imagine being a chef in a restaurant kitchen can get very stressful! Aww how lovely it’s nice to cook for family and friends 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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