“Protection Mode”

For all but maybe two years of my life until the age of 38, there was at least some sort of abuse to which I experienced.

I am not one to banter about the past without there being a solution to a problem/ / fault about myself that I have learned. In other words, this is not a “Woe is me,” hand-wringing post.

Again, I survived and experienced abuse of every sort over the first 38 years of my life except the 2 years I was single.

This bred something underneath my awareness.

My mother did not like me writing, so I would hide my papers that I wrote in various places in my closet: in pockets of my clothing, etc. This was because I wanted to not be so robbed of me totally losing a facet of my life that was both therapeutic and exercising my individuality.

My first husband was physically abusive, so I hid my keys and cell phone in similar ways. The whole purpose was to have a way to leave if things were that bad based on my assessment.

Then, I left my first husband. Abuse ended with him. My parents were mostly out of my life, so that was less likely as well, not to mention, Dan (my present husband) knows and knew and guarded against anything happening to me or my children.

After I left my first husband and later connected with Dan, I WOULD STILL hide my keys ad phone! I was STILL SCARED even though my environment was immensely altered. I slowly shifted when my trust grew, and I realized everything was okay.

THEN, I fell twenty feet and obtained a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). On a side note, I loathe mentioning this as I do not want to have it sound like AN EXCUSE. THE THING IS THE BRAIN CHANGES after such an event. FURTHERMORE, it often relapses with memories, emotions, etc. I will say I did not lose my memory of the present; however, my emotions relapsed.

What does this mean? Well let’s go back in time, BEFORE my fall, I did try to protect Dan, the love of my life of… disappointments, etc. I did not share all information with him that I had come to know or of what I was in control.

Was this maniacal, and was I attempting to be deceitful? No, believe it or not. You see, I love this man far beyond what I ever felt for my first husband (note to those who do not know me: I did not say I loved my first husband). Finding Dan has been the best part of my life, and I value finding him and his love for me so much that I ERRONEOUSLY was not straightforward with all of the woes life brings. It’s like… I wanted to protect him like one of my eight children.

BECAUSE this was so much a part of my life in the past before Dan MIXED WITH the cognitive / cerebral transitions, I took this “Protection Mode” regarding him BEYOND what should be. More and more I am believing that “Protection Mode” should not exist so much amongst life partners.

My point in this post is to communicate one of the errors in my ways along with provide insight into how others may also have learned to cope and survive.

Please, if you are with your Soul Mate and he / she is good to you, this way of living should not be a part of how you operate. IF YOU DO NEED THIS to survive, please consider how unhealthy your life is and seek a way to create a new pay.

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One Night Changed my Life Forever by Debbie Jinks

I didn’t think going to a friends for dinner would turn out to be a life changing experience, (yes she’s a great cook, but not for that reason!) It is a day that has been burned into my memory for the rest of my life. Saturday 7th February 2015 – the day my life came crashing down, or should I say I came crashing down, quite literally!

I had been at her house for all of five minutes when I bent down to get something from my bag. I stood up too quickly, went dizzy and fainted. As I crashed towards the floor I hit the back of my head on the wall. Not just a little knock, a large thump.

When I came round again, I had a major headache and a huge bump on the back of my head. But other than that I was perfectly fine. Or at least I thought so at the time. It seems that may have been a little naïve.

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It wasn’t until a short while later that I realised things were not quite right. The curry that my friend was lovingly attending to was bubbling away, but I couldn’t smell it. The scented candle burning on a side table next to me looked pretty, but yet again, I couldn’t smell it.

But that wasn’t all. As we sat down to eat and I raised the ‘scentless’ curry to my tongue, I discovered that not only was I missing its heady aroma, but I couldn’t taste it. At all.

That was when my nightmare began.

My little fainting turn had caused me to contract what the professionals call ‘Anosmia’.

I’m won’t bore you with the ‘science bit’ but in a nutshell, Anosmia is a complete loss of your sense of smell. It can be congenital, meaning you are born with it or, as in my case, acquired. This can happen for a number of reasons, a severe sinus infection for one or (in my case) a severe head trauma!

Unfortunately for me when I fainted and hit my head, the impact was so hard that it rattled my brain, (yes I do have one) so violently that my Olfactory Nerve Fibres were severed.

These tiny delicate fibres are attached to my Olfactory Bulb. A structure in the brain that processes information about odours. So as they were no longer attached to it, they couldn’t tell my brain what things smelt like anymore.

But to add insult to injury, as smell is very much interlinked with the taste receptors, (think about when you have a bad cold, your taste is often dulled or almost non-existent, isn’t it?) I stopped being able to taste as well. It is important to point out that this isn’t always the case but is a common occurrence.

The next few months were excruciating. I didn’t feel like myself anymore. At least not the me who used to relish the smell of freshly cut grass when I was out running in the sunshine, or the me who liked nothing better than to bury my now bloody useless nose into a bouquet of scented flowers – honeysuckle, lavender. I could bore you with a list, but the fact of the matter is that you never realise what you love the smell of until all of a sudden you can’t smell it anymore.

My perfume for example. I would stare at the bottles and think “may as well chuck that out now” and my scented body wash “I should probably just use unscented soap.”

Even my husband’s aftershave. The one I buy him every year for Christmas. That’s the smell of ‘my husband’, isn’t it? That special smell we associate with the ones we love?

Right I need to stop reminiscing or I’ll cry all over my keyboard.

My whole life changed and it was devastating.

I was unhappy. Resentful. Angry.

Why me?!

Oh yes and let’s not forget the food thing. Ever since I was a kid I loved my food, but what is the point of eating when everything tastes like… well… nothing!

It didn’t taste anymore!

The ‘flavour’ has disappeared from my life and Anosmia had robbed it from me.

I hate that word. Anosmia. It’s like that mean girl at school whose very name makes you frown and growl.

If I was blindfolded and food was put in front of me even now, I couldn’t tell you what it was unless certain obvious textures gave it away

I had to force myself to eat, and sometimes I just didn’t bother. Cue the lovely little added side affect of this condition – yep you guessed it… the weight started to fall off. Slowly at first, then as I got increasingly defeated and unhappy, more quickly until I pretty much stopped eating altogether.

This is when the doctors started to worry! Protein supplements were now the order of the day, and yes I was ordered! But it wasn’t until I collapsed at work and ended up in A&E with such low blood sugar that I could have fallen into a coma, that the severity of my condition really hit me.

In a crazy way this was a wake up call for me. I now try to eat sensibly, or at least try to eat enough! I’m still a skinny little wimp, but better than I was and no longer at death’s door, yes it sounds melodramatic, but that is how bad it became. Who would have thought losing my sense of smell could result in me almost losing my life? It seems ridiculous to those on the outside, but trust me, walk a day in my shoes and you quickly realise just how much you rely on this under appreciated sense.

no apetite

Almost a year and a half down the line, I’m still here. Still fighting and still Anosmic. There is no cure, you see. Sometimes the nerve fibres can heal, (for instance, I can now tell you if it something is sweet or savoury – that in itself is a massive leap forward) depending on the extent of the damage.

It seems my nerves are as determined as me to get back to their normal self. They have been trying to reattach themselves to my Olfactory Bulb, and I battle with the positive and negative repercussions of that every single day!

But that’s another story, if the lovely ‘Glass House Girls’ will have me back I’ll tell you more about Parosmia -ghost smells.

Have I whet your appetite? Oops bad choice of phrase!

(Note from The Editor: Many thanks to Debbie for opening up about her experiences with Anosmia. Many people live with conditions that most would never see, experiance or understand but to read about them allows us to open our minds to situations we cant comprehend. To read more from Debbie you can visit her personal blog (icantsmellathing.blogspot.com) or check out her author page here.)

Spring back to life!

I’m going for some Smell Training with Chris Kelly, smelltraining.co.uk, this weekend.  You may well be wondering what this is so I’m going to try and explain it to you!

The problem is it’s not that easy, even the people who teach it aren’t quite sure how it works, but basically, researchers have found that ‘similar areas of the brain are stimulated when both detecting and imagining particular scents’. This being the case, if a person can imagine a certain smell from their memory, for example a rose, when they attempt to smell it it’s possible that eventually by imagining the smell and repeatedly trying to smell it, they will start smelling it properly. In the case of Smell Training,strongly scented essential oils are used, the recommended ones being rose, eucalyptus, lemon, and clove. A patient will smell them daily for several months in the hope of retraining the brain to remember how they smell and eventually be able to smell them again. It’s not guaranteed of course but ‘in clinical studies, evidence suggests that patients who did this fared better in identification and discrimination of smells that those who didn’t’.  So for me it’s worth a try!

I have sourced this information from the ‘Fifth Sense’ website, which is a charity dedicated to supporting Anosmics and researching it also. It’s a brilliant resource for Anosmics and those who want to learn more about it. If you want to have a look, the website address is fifthsense.org.uk

I’ve got to be honest when I say, I’m more than a little nervous about going for my training.  I have every faith in the lady who is teaching me, she is Anosmic herself and through self training has regained the majority of her sense of smell back.  But what if it doesn’t work on me, what if I come back and nothings changed? How will I feel?

The fact is I suppose I wont know until I’ve tried, and I’d end up kicking myself if I gave up now.  I have to carry on being the strong me, like I’ve been rattling on about in my previous posts!

So I’m going to go now and psyche myself up…..sorry for the short post but we are leaving at 7am tomorrow morning as its the other end of England!

Now I need my beauty sleep, if I get much sleep that is, this is a big day for me tomorrow.
Night, night I’ll let you know how it goes.  Oh heck!

(Note from The Editor: Many thanks to Debbie for opening up about her experiences with Anosmia. Many people live with conditions that most would never see, experiance or understand but to read about them allows us to open our minds to situations we cant comprehend. To read more from Debbie you can visit her personal blog (icantsmellathing.blogspot.com) or check out her author page here.)

“The Wanderer” Changed to “The Whirlwind” Lyrics

I’m the kind of gal who whirls all around.
Wherever there is havoc, I surely can be found.
I kick and I scream. I don’t know any names.
I fuss and fight, and I put you ALL to blame.
Cuz I’m the Whirlwind, Yes I’m the Whirlwind.
I whirl around around around around.

 

Oh well, there’s a mess to the left
And a wreck on the right.
If you get near me, I’ll put you afright.
And if you come to me and tell me you’re blessed
I’m sure you’ll want me placed under an arrest

 

Oh well I roam from town to town
I go through life without a care
I’m always happy as a clown
With my wind tunnel, I’m always going everywhere.

 

I’m the kind of gal who whirls all around.
Wherever there is havoc, I surely can be found.
I kick and I scream. I don’t know any names.
I fuss and fight, and I put you ALL to blame.
Cuz I’m the Whirlwind, Yes I’m the Whirlwind.
I whirl around around around around.

 

Written on February 24, 2016

Anosmic Anniversary by Debbie Jinks

Well here it is. One year ago today, I passed out, banged my head and came round with no sense of smell or taste. I can’t believe it’s been that long. I thought at first that I would get better, now I’m not so sure.

Things have changed though, for example:

Quite early on, I discovered that I couldn’t eat anything with onions, onion powder, or garlic in as it set off my parosmia, and discovering this has helped me to eat a bit better as I now know what to avoid.

I can now smell vanilla candles, not actual vanilla but sweet and pleasant.

I have put 3lbs on, said I’d let you know remember. My doctor was very pleased!

I have discovered that I really enjoy writing even though it’s a shame this is the way I had to find out.

(If you are into writing you can join my Facebook writing group using this link) www.facebook.com/groups/allwritedj

I don’t know how I’m feeling at the moment though, sad yes, but I was at work today and I suppose that helped focus my mind on other things. However now I’m sitting here writing this and my head is so confused.
I thought I’d be in a crumpled heap crying my eyes out by this point but I’m not. I do think I’m coping better, well I must be or I’d be doing the ‘crumpled heap’ thing by now! I also know I’ll be up and down emotionally, there will be a trigger that will set me off at some point, that is what happens now. It’s not the constant painful loss anymore, but it’s still there in the background.
I suppose this should be the year when I pick myself up and get back into living mode, instead of managing mode, because for me this is more my New Year than the official New Year. I’ve even changed my template for the occasion.

My sister, Mandy said to me don’t let your Anosmia define you and it has…..so this is the tricky part where I become officially me again. Deborah Ann Jinks, not Deborah Ann-osmic Jinks, yesss I did a funny!  That’s a good start. Speak to you all soon in real memode, you can tell me off if I’m not.

Actually I’ve not quite finished after all. It is Anosmia Awareness Day on the 27th of February, so if you want to show your support please wear something red on that day. I certainly will be. You can also find out more about it on Facebook.www.facebook.com/AnosmiaAwarenessDay
Thanks in advance for that one.

(Note from The Editor: Many thanks to Debbie for opening up about her experiences with Anosmia. Many people live with conditions that most would never see, experiance or understand but to read about them allows us to open our minds to situations we cant comprehend. To read more from Debbie you can visit her personal blog (icantsmellathing.blogspot.com) or check out her author page here.)