My Anosmia Frequently Asked Questions
Hello! My name is Yazz aka The “Girl Who Can’t Smell.” I like to write about what it’s like to live without a sense of smell. Most people are usually surprised when they find out I can’t smell. Many people like to ask me about my experience. The following is a list of what they usually ask. Enjoy!
1. What is Anosmia?
Anosmia is the medical term for the inability to smell. It is important to note that there are two types of anosmia. There is congenital anosmia (no sense of smell since birth/or ever being able to recall processing scents) and acquired anosmia (obtaining this condition later in life).
2. If you can't smell...Can you taste?
The quick, short answer to this question is yes. I can detect the basic tastes (salty, sweet, bitter, sour, umami) but, I can’t tell the difference between flavors. For example, if you were to blindfold me and hand me two lollipops (a strawberry and a grape one) and ask me to guess which one is which, I wouldn’t be able to tell. I’d only know they were both sweet.
3. When did you first notice you could not smell?
I was in second grade. I remember a group of my friends were smelling my scratch n’ sniff stickers and I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. They kept going “MMMMM” over and over again, taking in really long, deep breaths. Everyone was all smiles, inhaling the air. I think I saw some even dancing a little. I was like what, why?
I probably had on a very confused looking face, but at the time, I was just not understanding anything that was going on. This is one of my favorite stories to tell, actually. I describe this moment in more detail on my “How I Found Out I Can’t Smell” post here:
4. Did you tell your family? How did they react?
I came out as a “non smeller” to my mom when I was in 7th grade. When I told her I couldn’t smell anything, I remember she reacted confused. She gave me a perplexed look, looked away, gave me the perplexed look again and then asked if I felt sick or short of breath. I told her I felt fine. My mom probably thought I was going through a weird kid phase…
When I told my older sister, she reacted very differently. She asked me to smell a ton of smelly things. One by one, I confirmed I couldn’t smell any of them. She couldn’t believe it! I actually interviewed JJ on my podcast, “The Girl Who Can’t Smell Show.” I’d always wondered what she thought about me not being able to smell…
I have a younger sister as well. She is annoyed by my anosmia. She doesn’t like it when I ask if I can borrow her nose. She opposes all types of smell checks.
5. Do you wish you could smell?
This is a very interesting question and one I’ve been asked a lot. Actually, I’d like to take this opportunity and flip this question around and ask you an important question.
If you can smell, would you be interested in not smelling for a period of time? Would you miss the ability to smell?
How different would your life be? Have you ever stopped to wonder how smell would no longer be a source of pleasure? You’d also lose out on your advantage of staying safe by not picking up on smells as warning signals.
The truth of the matter is I’ve never been able to process scents. Regardless of this fact, I’ve lived a great life. I think the ultimate answer lies in whether or not I would value this sense. Would I like to know if there’s a gas leak or fire nearby? Or if my leftovers are safe enough to eat? Absolutely!
Ha. Yes! I really enjoy being able to talk about my experience. I have found myself in many interesting situations. I’ve got school stories, dating stories, work stories, you name it! One of the worst days of my life involved a beauty hack fail. Never again!
A very small percentage of the world’s population can not smell. Not being able to smell is an underrepresented condition, that I personally believe must be discussed more within mainstream society. My blog’s purpose is to raise awareness about anosmia by being an active voice and initiating the conversation around this smell disorder. The end goal of raising awareness is it will lead to more research, and more research will ensure more support and a possible cure.
Also, I believe it is very important to connect with other fellow anosmics. If you are here for the first time, welcome! (and please say hello!)
Also, if you’d like to show your support, make sure you sign up as a patron on my Patreon page. You’ll get a free anosmia sticker! Visit my official Patreon page here:
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The information contained in my blog posts, stories, memes, webcomics, science articles, drawings and future content, is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only.
By accessing this site, you assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. My website, www.girlwhocantsmell.com’s purpose is to share my OWN personal experience growing up with congenital anosmia. Not as a guide as to how anosmics in general, live their own lives.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment