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Fragrance Illness: Some Brain Thoughts

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Disclaimer: I am not a brain or brain rewiring expert. I am simply sharing my personal journey and my personal understanding as it makes sense to me.

Fragrance Illness and The Brain

Some thoughts were just rolling through my head that had me deciding to just start clicking away on my computer. Let’s see how this goes. Fragrance illness. Fragrance sensitivity. Environmental illness. I’ve suffered the physical, emotional, financial, and career impact that fragrance illness has had on my life for twenty years.

While I can certainly regurgitate the highlights of the negative impact by sharing many details that I’ve allowed to remain on replay in my brain, I will refrain from doing so. I am working on letting the past remain in the past. My effort now is to strive for increased joy and a more able bodied self. 

My biggest effort now is in healing.



What an odd word to attach to an illness caused by chemicals that are toxic to everyone (and to the planet). 

I know there is a struggle for many when I share that I’m working on brain rewiring in order not to have the reactions that have been increasingly more debilitating over the years. 




No Debate

There’s no debating the issue that fragrance isn’t a simple ingredient. There’s no debating the fact that the toxic chemicals behind so many of our MANY fragranced products are unsafe for everyone. The effort to increase awareness and decrease toxic chemicals from our homes, classrooms, doctors’ offices, and everywhere is one that needs to continue in a big way.

But my inner question has been, Why do I react the way I do? Why had the switch flipped in my body that caused me to smell chemicals, not fragrance? Why did my body and brain react in such a way that I felt so intensely miserable when around anyone who uses fragranced laundry products, air fresheners, scented lotion or deodorant, perfume or cologne?

Continued Learning

I am so grateful for learning about DNRS and brain rewiring. I’m grateful for the journey this past fifteen months has found me on. I’m grateful for learning that my reactions are due to a maladapted stress response in my limbic system. And I’m grateful for learning how to diminish that response.

I shared more in my posts: Brain Rewiring Part 1: I Wasn’t Ready and Limbic System Impairment: My Understanding.

*(There is a link to a free trial of the DNRS program in my post, Brain Rewiring Part 1. I am NOT an affiliate of the program. I’m just sharing something that is having a positive impact on my life.)

The Brain is an Organ

We often misinterpret a “brain issue” as an issue that is “in the head.” It can be confusing, since, after all, the brain is in the head. But what does “in your head” imply? — that its made up.

My reactions when triggered are certainly are NOT made up. My reactions are not “in my head.” My reactions are in my brain. 

Diabetes is insufficient insulin being created by the pancreas. If the pancreas was located under our skull would we blame people for having diabetes by saying it was in their head?

Thyroid Disease is too much or not enough thyroid hormone. If our thyroid was located in that space under our skulls would we blame people for having Hashimoto’s or Graves disease by saying it’s in their head?

You get where I’m coming from. 

The limbic system is in the brain. My sensitivities are due to a limbic system impairment. And after a year of training, I now recognize what created my personal impairment (to the point that it created a fragrance sensitivity). 

I Let Myself Wonder (Sometimes)

I sometimes let the wonder of what others might think get in my way. I wonder (sometimes), if after seeing my improvements and hearing that it is from brain retraining, if anyone in my life will now think to themselves, ‘Yup, I knew it was in her head.’ 

And poof. I need to let that thought go. 

I know it isn’t in my head. My greatest desire is to heal myself. I don’t have a need to prove anything to anyone. That interference distracts healing. I’m simply sharing that here because if you have that thought as well, you’re not alone. My number one goal, however, is to get my life back. 

Short and Sweet

Ahhhh. I started writing just under an hour ago and I think I got all the thoughts that I wanted to share out of my head (or is it brain? — hahaha)

NEW BOOK! Start your day with gratitude.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Debbie Simpson

    Thank you, Stephanie. It definitely is a 2-parter: A need to change the world, haha, and a need (and ability) to change self. It’s a journey that my inner voice keeps tugging at me to share.

  2. Stephanie McCullough

    Thank you for this. For not downplaying the chemical aspect, for addressing the “it’s all in [her/my] head” argument, and for sharing info about DNRS. I’m very grateful to have found your page, and now, your blog. Much gratitude 🙏

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