Olfactory Triggers and One More Day


Olfactory Triggers

Ages ago, we bought a different brand laundry detergent.  I don’t even remember why we bought it (because I have sensitive skin and we always buy the unscented/dye free stuff), but I cannot stand the smell of it.  I used it the other day without really thinking…basically I just grabbed the wrong bottle. I bring this up because this particular scent brings a vague tickle to my brain…an association of this scent to something bad.  Somehow my brain says, “This scent = child molester.”  I don’t know exactly where that comes from, but it is not the first time I have experienced that connection.

Scents and odors are very memory triggering for me…Both in a good way and in a bad way.  A particular scent can transport me back in time to the feeling of the time.  Kind of the way music can. For the most part, it is okay.  But certain scents…they get to me.

That student-teacher who was inappropriate with me when I was a freshman in high school…She wore a particular cologne.  And whenever I smell that cologne (like when I am out in public and someone has been around who is wearing it) I am transported back to all of those feelings from when I was a freshman.  And I feel edgy and unsafe and it triggers my anxiety and PTSD.  And it does all of that before I can even process what is happening.  It crashes past the rational part of my thinking and right to the trauma recesses of my brain.

There are a few particular scents like this.  Certain colognes and semen being the worst offenders.  (I have a lot of issues with semen…but am not sure I am brave enough to go into it in detail.)

The funny thing is that I don’t necessarily even realize that there are odor connections with events/things/people/feelings until I am away from the originator of the scent (away both physically and in terms of time.)  It’s not until a scent takes me back to certain feelings that I realize that it is a trigger scent.

And like I said, it’s not all bad.  Some odors have very positive associations, like dh’s bay rum cologne.  That scent association is safety and love.  I could just sit and smell it all day long!  Or scents that remind me of babies, Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo, baby powder…They pull forward feelings of tenderness and love and that yummy feeling of snuggly babies and peacefulness.  Just thinking about it makes me feel calm.

Anyway….So, as I was sitting here on the couch and snuggling under a freshly laundered blanket and all I could smell was that oppressive “child molester” laundry detergent.  Yuck!  I tossed the blanket on the floor and will get it into the laundry pile to be rewashed and decontaminated.

And we won’t be buying any alternative laundry detergents again!

One More Day

Just have to make it through today and then my routine will fall back to normal.  Art Therapy tomorrow at 8.  Nutritionist later in the day.  Hopefully, I will hear from my Yoga Instructor and be scheduling my yoga for this week….Things will be back to the way they should be.  Plus I have a PNP appointment on Tuesday and then see my Physician on Friday.  As a matter-of-fact, if yoga works out, I will see everyone on Team Heidi in the same week!  That pretty much never happens since I don’t see my Physician that often.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s