Jen's story

Jen has been living with parosmia for nearly two years after a Covid infection.
Headshot of Jen smiling

Jen's story

Jen likens parosmia to having amnesia - where once smells were positively evocative for her, her distorted smell now leaves her with feelings of distress.

I was infected with Covid in October 2020 and lost my sense of smell and taste. This developed into parosmia.

The early days of living with parosmia

Not having my sense of smell was traumatic for me from the beginning. Before my infection, smell was very important to me. I really connected with smells and found them very emotive - the smell of my house, the smell of my family, the smell of outdoors - everything gave me a feeling. And, almost always, a good feeling.

My main lunch for over a year was a protein shake with frozen berries and spinach and I would force that down just because I knew it was good for me. I lost a lot of weight.

When I discovered AbScent it was comforting, knowing I wasn’t the only one, and that there were people carrying out research to find a cure.

Living with parosmia now

I’m 22 months into my smell disorder and it’s been life-changing - it still makes me feel in danger and in a state of upset. Because there is always a consistently bad smell, I feel like my brain is making me feel like something bad is about to happen.

People don’t always understand - I have to explain to friends and family that most things still smell awful. I continue to feel like I have amnesia. I walk into my parents’ home now and it doesn’t have the smell of when I grew up. So on special holiday occasions, I don’t have the same memories associated with the smell of the house or the good feelings anymore.

When my father passed away, I saved his cologne and a little sunscreen he used but they don’t smell like him any more. I refuse to smell them anymore as I’m worried I’ll forget the ‘right’ way my father smelt. 

Soccer is big in our family and I now force myself to go games again, despite dreading the smell of the stadium food. I’m also starting to go out to eat more - in social situations, I’m a little more distracted so meals are a little more tolerable.

Hoping my smell and taste will return

Every day I smell a cologne that my husband wears in the hope that I will smell it correctly, but every day it smells different. There are very few things that smell normal to me; the only ones are clove spice, lilac and wisteria. However, I am not ready to accept that I will not be recovered and have hope that other normal smells will return.