Sultan Mehmed II smelling a rose, from the Sarayı Albums. Source: Bilkent University
When I don't have a migraine, I've usually got an almost-constant headache. Being outdoors seems to be the only way to alleviate the pain for any length of time.
Running definitely helps! Using nasal strips however, means I pick up every area marked by wild animals, cigarette smoke from a hundred metres, and goodness knows what else. Often it's actually quite nauseating! When I've been running or working out, I can smell the salt in my sweat! And weirdly, chlorine! OK, it might not be actual chlorine (although when I used to swim every morning, it most definitely was), but something I am sweating out does make me smell as though I've bathed in bleach. Thankfully, no one else smells it!
Along with the headaches and migraines, I've had hyperosmia for as long as I can remember, and they all become more acute as I grow older.
My biggest bane however, is being able to smell my neighbours' cigarette smoke, despite my doors and windows being closed (I can rarely have my back doors or any windows open - fortunately it's hardly ever warm enough in the UK for me to want to!), and even being bunged up with hay fever, I can still smell it when they are puffing away. In addition, there's a working men's club about five metres from the back of my house, where the clientèle are outside, puffing away from the time the club opens (10am) to the time it closes....sometimes not until 2am. I work from home, and sometimes it is so bad that I cannot even be in my workroom, which overlooks the club. This is the downside of the smoking ban in the UK.
I used to have a neighbour whose deodorant I could smell when he sprayed it every morning, and I always know exactly which shower gel amato mio is using when he is showering in the downstairs bathroom, even if I am in the bedroom, at the top of the house, with the door closed! Don't even get me started on the food smells from my neighbours' houses!
I also get olfactory hallucinations when I have a migraine... and that is just plain odd! When I was a child, I thought it was evidence that I had ghosts watching over me, keeping me safe! Mind you, I was also convinced that the tinnitus I experienced was alien radio communications! It's possible that it was inevitable I'd grow up to be a SciFi geek!
On a day-to-day basis, my hearing is very sensitive too - I assume this is connected to the hyperosmia. Or maybe I'm just lucky. Not. Yes, it's great that I can hear really well....until it comes to trying to get to sleep. And staying asleep. I hear everything! My friends, Ales and Gemma, recommended BioEars to me - little pieces of malleable silicone which go right into the ear. They told me they worked really well for them. I envy my friends - BioEars don't work for me. Sometimes, I do, quite literally, cry with frustration and fatigue. Of course, the lack of sleep fuels the headaches and migraines. I can almost guarantee that after a couple of consecutive nights without sleep, I will have an attack on the third day.
Does having hyperosmia mean I cannot use perfume or scented products? Not at all, I really appreciate them... although there are some which don't sit well with me (some green scents for example, especially 'ferny' ones). I go into a Lush store, and it is like a fantasia of colour and light...imagine watching the best firework display ever - that's what it's like for my sense of smell! I can usually pick out individual scents from products, and have over the years, learned which combinations work really well. Very useful when indulging in one of my hobbies - soap and toiletry-making!
Having said that, the above really only applies to natural products; artificial chemical scents very often hurt - household cleaners are a bit of a minefield. Toilet cleaner is particularly bad, even Ecover. The worst offender in this group however, is anything banana-scented. Real bananas are fine (I love them!) but artificial banana scent not only makes my eyes water and my nose scream for mercy, it causes my throat and chest to become tight, and feel as though they are going into spasm. I once bought some 'amazing miracle' stain remover for my seagrass carpet to deal with a wine malfunction....I thought I was going to die! I actually did throw open all my windows, even though it was freezing outside. And I vacated the house for several hours! It makes me cringe to think that this stuff (not the cleaning product!) is put into children's sweets, cereals and milkshakes.
On the plus side - having hyperosmia is really useful to me as a cook; not only can I smell individual ingredients but the hyperosmia enhances my sense of taste too! It's no wonder that food is one of my greatest pleasures - it's so sensual (and not in a Nigella way)! It also means that I can eat in a restaurant or at a friend's place, and re-create almost any dish at home (plus it's handy for working out approximate nutritional values because I am nothing if not anally retentive about such things)! The food aspect alone makes up for any negativity of having this condition!
In conclusion, although at times it seems to be an inconvenience, or at worst, a curse, it has been possible to turn hyperosmia to my advantage. If there was ever a cure, don't think I'd actually want it; I suspect that despite the negative aspects, I'd be utterly lost without my olfactory super-power!
Chocolate-scented cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus). Source: Björn Appel