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October 27, 2020

Coming to terms with total anosmia

When you know your sense of smell won't be coming back.

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Nearly ten years ago, Kim Price suffered one of those life-changing moments when she fell off a ladder, smacking her head on a concrete floor. The very best care and her personal determination have seen her make a remarkable recovery in every area, except for her sense of smell. Kim now lives with a complete loss of smell and taste.

With so many other elements to her recovery and progress to be thankful for, Kim admits that she tried to ignore her loss for three or four years before she started to acknowledge it was something she needed to address. She describes it as “a very personal loss” as no-one knows what it’s like to live with anosmia unless you’ve had that experience yourself.

Unfortunately, the nature of Kim’s injury meant that the loss of her sense of smell was total and irreversible. Smell training was not going to help restore her senses, and she had to come to terms with never being able to smell again. The struggle to deal with this was a huge challenge and Kim remembers it left her feeling mentally exhausted. It was only when her friend suggested she speak to her doctor about how she was feeling that Kim was able to take the first steps to dealing with her loss.

Her doctor was very sympathetic, and encouraged Kim to think of the loss as a bereavement. In this way, she was able to process the experience and allow herself to grieve. It didn’t make it easier, but at least she could start to make sense of her feelings.

Kim's Tips for living a full life without smell

As with all bereavement, time is the healer and Kim has been able to move forward. Along the way, she has picked up some ways to make the tough times easier, and she shared them with us on the webinar.

Appreciate what’s around you. Connecting with nature is a really good way to live in the moment and enjoy colours, texture, sound and sensations.

Get those endorphins going. Regular exercise is really important in Kim’s life to keep her feeling positive.

Turn the volume up. Cooking a meal is a particular trigger as that’s a moment when Kim really misses her sense of smell and taste. Putting on her favourite music and playing it loud seems to drown out the sorrows.

Brighten up. Bright colours seem to help, and anything that stimulates the other senses is a big boost to enjoying the world around you.

To see the full interview, please go to YouTube/AbScent Anosmia Support

A summary of the webinar is in our article Recovering smell lost through brain injury.

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