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I was TRIGGERED this weekend! Yep! The Mindset, Emotions and Beliefs Specialist was TRIGGERED!

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

However, it was not in the emotional sense which is usually what I talk about. Let me explain.

I went away this weekend with a group of women who I just love. It was a celebration weekend. We rented a house and had a ton of fun activities planned. I was really looking forward to getting away, disconnecting from technology, and celebrating one of the young women getting married.

Unfortunately, the last time we had gotten together I had a reaction to one of the young woman’s perfume. I didn’t want to have this happen again, so a few days before our trip I sent a text asking the ladies to please refrain from spraying perfumes, etc. in the house we were staying in, because I have severe sensitivities. I explained that I hated to ask this of them and did not want to inconvenience anyone, but explained the medical issues that I have to deal with.

Unless you suffer from ODOR/CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY or know someone who does, you may not realize that there are MILLIONS of people who have this and that causes real health issues and uncomfortableness - like me. So, while you are enjoying your perfume, lotion or deodorizer with no issues THE ODOR HITS THE PERSON WITH SENSITIVITIES LIKE A CLOUD OF CHEMICALS (because that is what they are).

Unfortunately, two or three of the young women did not adhere to my request. I had to be careful about which woman I sat next to or walked behind.

I then had to slip away, use my inhaler and then the storm of symptoms ensued:

My eyes, nose and mouth begin to burn.

My asthma symptoms were triggered.

My chest began to get very tight, painful, and it became hard to breathe.

(It is as though you are completely buried under dirt and rocks and only have a straw sticking out of the ground to breathe in and out of.)

I started coughing because my lungs were trying to expand to let air in.

Then the severe headache started.

I sneaked away and used my inhaler … and whew! I could breathe freely again. (A little important!) BUT … then I dealt with the following from the asthma medicine:

Nervousness, the jitters, dizziness, heart palpitations - your heart feels like it is going to come out of your chest.

The asthma medicine causes your mouth and throat to burns

Then severe acid reflux started.

Your stomach then begins to hurt and you get very nauseous.

Sometimes you get a horrible migraine. Mine was a severe headache.

If the symptoms are very bad you may need to go to the doctor and get a steroid shot.

Then, a whole new group of issues occurs - increased appetite, weight gain, puffy face, mood swings, etc.

A normally extroverted person, gets very quiet trying to deal with all the symptoms listed above. It is common to hear, "Are you O.K.?" when you think you are doing everything in your power to remain "normal".

These symptoms can last for a few hours, days and even 2 weeks! It is five days later and I am still dealing with most of these issues which then causes me not to be able to workout, enjoy myself, show up for my family, friends and clients the way I want to, etc.

Trust me when I say, I, as well as your friend, co-worker or family member are not trying to be a nuisance, high maintenance or “extra”. In fact, we are exhausted with dealing with this sensitivity and really do not want to inconvenience anyone. It is also NOT about trying to control the situation, be offensive, critical, or take the attention away from anyone, etc.

I understand that people don’t know what they don’t know and it is hard to understand what you cannot see or feel. One of the young women caught me using my inhaler and felt terrible. I explained to her in detail what occurs . I lovingly told her not to that I knew she would never wish that on me or anyone but NOW that she knows … she can really help not trigger all the symptoms I was dealing with by not wearing the perfumes.

So, I thought I would try to educate, even one other person, to understand what happens to millions of people with regard to strong odor sensitivity.

Perfumes, Lotions, Candles, Cleaning Products, Air Fresheners, Incense, Scented Laundry Detergent, Softener, Burning Wood, etc. Anything with a STRONG odor is usually the culprit. It is the chemicals in these products that are wreaking havoc.

The most common chemicals found in fragranced products are known to:

  • interfere with hormone function in the body (known as endocrine disruption) (Darbre, 2015);

  • irritate the skin, and cause allergic skin reactions (Johansen, 2003);

  • trigger asthma symptoms (chest tightness and wheezing);

  • cause headaches and migraines;

  • irritate the eyes, nose and throat;

  • trigger nausea;

  • cause infant illness (Steinemann, 2015);

  • impact the neurological system and trigger restlessness, dizziness or difficulty concentrating;

  • be linked with behavioural symptoms in children (Kim et al, 2009; Engel et al, 2010);

  • accumulate in fat and make its way into breast milk (Bridges, 2002);

  • be cancer-causing in animals (human studies on potentially cancer-causing fragrance compounds are lacking) (Bridges, 2002);

  • many fragranced compounds make their way into our soil and water sources, where they contaminate the environment and accumulate in aquatic life (fragrance chemicals have been found to be stored in the fat tissues of many fish and seafood).

I don’t know about you, but that list is extremely concerning to me. I always think to myself, “Would I want this around my newborn baby? Then why would I want to be around it?"

You can read more of the article here.

I have eliminated all toxic products from my home. I have natural cleaning products, laundry detergent, wool dryer balls in lieu of fabric softener, natural candles, soaps, shampoos, non-toxic dry cleaners, paint, etc. It has made a world of difference but I cannot live in a bubble.

Unfortunately, if I walk into a store and it has a strong odor, I have to walk out - no matter how many cute things I may have wanted to buy! If there is someone who uses air fresheners in their car, I cannot ride with them. I cannot be around strong cleaning products and incense which is tough since I am also a yoga instructor and meditation facilitator. I have to be sure to reach out and ask whoever is running the class or workshop I am attending if they can refrain from using such products and explain my situation. Luckily, I have never had anyone get annoyed. In fact, everyone has been very appreciative that I reached out instead of simply not attending.

On a separate note, if you find that you get TRIGGERED (annoyed, angry) when someone asks you to please not wear or use perfumes, air fresheners, etc. when they are around .... Perhaps you need to take a look inward. What is going on with YOU that this is a big ask?

Do you think to yourself, “I have every right to do what I want?” Or “Why do they have to be so difficult?” Do you make it ALL ABOUT YOU? If so, you have some underlying BELIEFS/ISSUES that need to be dealt with because when you really break it down - it is not a difficult ask. Isn’t the health and happiness of another human being more important than you not being able to wear or spray something?

I would ask yourself, “What if it was you? Your spouse? Child? Parent or Best Friend who had that sensitivity and who would get ill for days or weeks due to something that could easily have been prevented? Would you change your attitude? Would you easily do without that perfume or deodorizer?” I think you would. Remember this, that person with the sensitivity is someone’s spouse, child, parent, or best friend.