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  1. #31

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Well done on a courageous and eloquently written article, some very interesting comments added also. The fragrance industry is geared towards lifestyle aspirations (and understandably so), but not everyone always has the time to reflect on how fragrances can help people through challenging times, even if only for short periods. I develop 'aromatherapeutic' fragrances and believe that if a fragrance uplifts someones mood (perhaps only momentarily), then that is aromatherapy working at the most basic level - something I have to remind myself of all to often.

  2. #32

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Thank you for this honest, brave article, I really enjoyed reading it. Perfume has helped me through many a dark day myself, so I can relate to your scent journey. Be strong, try not to let the fear be in control - that's what I tell myself when things seem bad. Big hugs to you.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    A wonderfully very brave article - I completely amazed, thank you for having having the courage to share!

  4. #34

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Great piece, thank you Laurin for your candor and bravery!

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Thank you for such a heartfelt piece of writing. I was once in a relationship with a woman with such a disorder. I remember feeling helpless whenever the illness kept her captive within its claws. Now I wonder if a fragrance could be used as an olfactory cue to keep one centered in the face of emotional upheavals.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    wishing you all the best!
    One Love!

  7. #37
    sands1974, amsterdam
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Oh my goodness. This is the first time I have ever read an article like this. It's absolutely perfect. I was diagnosed as bipolar in 2003 after a six month psychiatric evaluatory hospitalization, although I had been ill for much longer than that as well. The ONLY thing that brought me out of my deepest, suicidal depression was the experience of fragrance. One of my best friends brought me to Annick Goutal's "Eau de Charlotte" in 2004 and that literally saved me--the innocent wonder of that perfume with chocolate, rose, and cassis, and started a perfume collection that now equals just over 400 bottles. All representing a mood, a personality, a moment, a decision, a dream. I am an artist and I consider my collection an artwork with title "Monument to Depression". Medicine, therapy, and mindfulness work with perfume to keep me going, in addition to my work as an artist (there is an artist book, "Art In Everyday Life" by artist Linda Montano which is worth searching out...another which really helped me is "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron -- it includes practical exercises that really helped me https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Artis...+julia+cameron). Thank you 1000 times for writing such a beautiful piece. This is the brightest side of the internet: SHARING / WE ARE NOT ALONE.
    All warmest best wishes to you for December and the year to come. And just for fun, here is my Fragrantica profile: http://www.fragrantica.com/member/927777/
    THANK YOU

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Laurin! Fellow fragrance lover who also has bipolar (never said that on the boards but I will now). The last time I was an inpatient we weren't allowed to have perfume, but I still remember what a comfort my scented soaps were when I was in there. I packed a sage bar and a tee tree patchouli bar into a backpack in the middle of the night, afraid to go to the hospital but even more afraid not to. All that week I would linger in the shower to be with those scents. In the days after, when I was home but still not back to work, I wrote a (moderately bizarre) perfume concept paper and sent it to one of my favorite Indie perfumers. I knew it was kind of ridiculous, but it helped pass the time and challenged my jumpy mind to stay on a discrete task. The magnanimous fellow responded!

    That was just over a year ago, and I use scent all the time in my mood management. Making sure I get enough sleep is important to avoid manic upturns and volatile mood, so I get myself ready for bed with Japanese incense (shout out to Shoyeido, Nippon Kodo, and Cinnamon Projects). It's a good ritual that envelopes my bedroom with delicate fragrance and calms my brain. Similarly, frankincense perfumes help me stay sane and feature heavily in my collection: Messe de Minuit (Etro), LAVS (Unum), Calling All Angels (April Aromatics), Fire from Heaven (CB I Hate Perfume), Cilice (Euphorium Brooklyn), Reve d'Ossian (Oriza LeGrand), Encens Chembur (Byredo) ... you see my point, tons of incense!

    Those are the notes and products that I think most directly relate to my mental health, but I am also a big fan of herbs/greens/aromatics, resins, and spicy/sweaty fragrances just from personal taste.

    It makes me really happy to hear you speaking honestly about scent in your life, difficult parts included. I hear you sister. <3 <3

  9. #39
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Thank you for writing this piece. I happened to find it today, just when I needed it most.
    Peace and love to you, from someone who cries every day.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    Basically, Aromatherapy

    If it works for you, that's a good thing
    I'd say, art therapy.
    Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,
    Luxe, calme et volupté.

    Baudelaire, L'Invitation au voyage

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Dear Laurin,

    your words and story took my breath away, and I have a tear welling up. Bravissima. I have an adult child with schizoaffective disorder, with symptoms extending back to childhood, and have mused from time to time that there's no Make-A-Wish Foundation for mental illness. Sharing his illness has to be done with more care than with physical illness, alas. As he has grown, my son has become more forthcoming about his illness, as he does not wish to hide part of himself. There are days when he accepts it as part of his identity, and days where he wished he was "normal." He enjoys attending an organization in our area that is modeled after Fountain House in NYC, where persons with mental illness can go on a daily basis, participate in meaningful work, sit on the board of directors, and have fellowship. He says he is actually happier aroundothers with mental illness, perhaps because he doesn't have to "pass" or to translate.

    From time to time I offer him fragrance. He likes the pick-me-up of 4711, and the calm of Donna Karan Essence Jasmine.

    postscript_about "normal". My son met a girl, broke up, got back together, and broke up again, sadder but wiser. One day he asked me, "mom, why can't I stop thinking about her?" to which I whispered, "_______, I have to tell you something: you're normal!" And it is normal. He's a guy in his 20s, with all the recklessness, bumps, bruises, small victories, and aspirations that go with young manhood—his margin for error is smaller, and he is more vulnerable than average, that's all.

    Thank you again for your generosity and eloquence. I wish you every good thing. Besos. XXXOOO
    Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,
    Luxe, calme et volupté.

    Baudelaire, L'Invitation au voyage

  12. #42

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Thank you for your article and sincerity. You are a strong woman, and I wish you good luck and more good days.

  13. #43

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    I certainly recognise human suffering, but I question whether 'illness' is an appropriate metaphor when it comes to the mind.

    Aware that I'm possibly kicking a hornet's nest here, I'll just suggest that anyone interested in the topic might read Thomas Szasz's seminal work: "The Myth of Mental Illness. Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct" (1961). It's a powerful critique of psychiatry that is as relevant today as it was fifty years ago.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    ^ The word "illness" has been long associated with a physical dysfunction (the inability to fight off an attack by a virus, bacteria, or biological imbalance). It's only in more recent times that it has been applied to the psychological.

    My own personal and completely non-professional perspective is that it would probably be better to have a different word for it. I'm not sure what. "Neurosis" comes to mind. It's a neural issue, essentially. But clinically speaking, there are other connotations that might not be appropriate. Besides, there are 2 nuances to mental illness -- a) purely psychological, and b) physiological. With the purely psychological, there is no biological influence. It's basically a case of a person managing to create their own mental thought construct that happens to be detrimental to themselves (like a persistently negative view of the world). By physiological, there is an imbalance of sorts in the body that ends up affecting the level of hormones directly involved with mental function, like dopamine. For instance, a physical issue that triggers the psychological effect of depression.

    So I understand the resistance to perceive mental issues as an "illness"... but until a more appropriate word is found, I think it's suitable as long as people are aware of what it truly means.
    Currently wearing: Accord Oud by Byredo

  15. #45

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    As always it is, to my mind, a matter of the attitude brought to the term, so it would be relevant to hear from the author rather than talking about her or her choice of terminology in the abstract. I would never refer to the depression I suffered from as an illness, it was a condition that resulted from my natural response to a mentally abusive environment (of a depressive and emotionally locked-down father) and I was able to grow out of by virtue of activating inner resources and accepting outward support. I find condition a more empowering term and illness to imply a passivity and helplessness that precidely defines the depressive self-perception and may reenforce it. On the other hand it's important to emphasize that there is no guilt or blame in depression and illness may signify that it's not something I can just turn off at will or snap out of.
    When it comes to a severe psychosis and the like I would certainly speak of an illness. But again, the author should be given a voice here or we should just leave it at that.

  16. #46
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    Smell being our most affective sense what would make more sense than making them a conscious part of our feelscape! I hope meditation and mindfulness are helping you accept that mental illness is a part of you, but not you. It is hard to swim when you fear drowning, but at some point comes the realization in soul, heart and mind that you cannot sink, you cannot drown, because you are the lake.
    This strikes a chord with me!
    Thank-you the_good_life!

    Jasmine Indoles, are what draw me back from the Disassociation and give me the nudge to alter the Meds.
    Scarcity is an illusion. Unlearn it.

  17. #47
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    As always it is, to my mind, a matter of the attitude brought to the term, so it would be relevant to hear from the author rather than talking about her or her choice of terminology in the abstract. I would never refer to the depression I suffered from as an illness, it was a condition that resulted from my natural response to a mentally abusive environment (of a depressive and emotionally locked-down father) and I was able to grow out of by virtue of activating inner resources and accepting outward support. I find condition a more empowering term and illness to imply a passivity and helplessness that precidely defines the depressive self-perception and may reenforce it. On the other hand it's important to emphasize that there is no guilt or blame in depression and illness may signify that it's not something I can just turn off at will or snap out of.
    When it comes to a severe psychosis and the like I would certainly speak of an illness. But again, the author should be given a voice here or we should just leave it at that.
    I'd never thought of it before... but I think you're right. "Condition" is very apt.

    Another thing I wanted to say is that I find the behavior of the pharmaceutical industry to be reprehensible. While they do fill a need and they will help people (I've known people who have benefited from taking anti-depressants), the whole attitude is "you have an illness, and we have a drug that will alleviate the symptoms." And that's it. They LOVE the fact that they have chronic patients taking their drugs, for the foreseeable future. No end in sight. As opposed to drugs being used as a stop-gap measure, while efforts would be taken to help empower the patient to find a way towards ending the affliction. And of course, the physicians and psychologists are complicit... so many don't see anything wrong with just accepting that a person is going to be chronically ill for the rest of their lives, rather than focusing on helping to break that cycle.
    Currently wearing: Accord Oud by Byredo

  18. #48
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    I, as a "conditioned" person would say that I view myself as such.
    I am grateful for the Loxapine that brought me back from possible psychosis.
    I continue to be grateful for the therapists, medications and research that is put froward by those interested in the subject of Mental Condition.
    Now, if only they could slip a little Loxapine into the White House coffee every morning, huh?
    Scarcity is an illusion. Unlearn it.

  19. #49

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Wow, for some weird reason I missed this article when it was published.

    What a wonderful piece. One of the best reads, ever, on Basenotes.

    Thank you. x

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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    As a licensed clinical psychotherapist I found this article highly refreshing and genius. My best friend suffers from Bipolar 1 and another good friend has Bipolar II. I think the difficulty many lay people have with the diagnosis of bipolar is that we don't do it (well, most of us) until the person is at least 17 years old. Why? Because even if they have been experiencing symptoms a good part of their life, we must be careful to account for hormone changes as well as personality development, as well as development of the frontal lobe (judgment center).

    The brain is an AMAZING organ, yet we still treat our brains as though they are a foreign body - and we are frightened of what it can and cannot do. So many thoughts in my brain, but really, I am just excited that not only did Laurin publish this brave piece, but she won such a prestigious award! BRAVO!

  21. #51

    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Congratulations on winning a Jasmine Award!!! Yay!
    "Fragrance weaves a necklace of perfumed memories" M.B.
    "If perfume be the food of love, spray on' M.B.

  22. #52
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    Default Re: Scenting my mental illness

    Wonderful, thank you!




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