I Hallucinate Smells AKA Phantosmia (Thanks, Epilepsy)


Looks pretty. Doesn’t smell pretty.

The smell of spoiled, dirty rags and Brussel sprouts aren’t exactly what I enjoy waking up to in the middle of the night or while standing next to someone or in class. I  can’t tell most of the time if it’s real or not.

As defined by the Mayo Clinic, phantosmia is “An olfactory hallucination makes you detect smells that aren’t really present in your environment.” 

What a stupid form of hallucination. I don’t experience it much anymore with the new medication I am on, but when it happens, damn. If you’re curious about my condition read my article on absence seizures (I like to call it time travel) and my Living With Epilepsy article. They give a pretty in-depth explanation of what my kind of epilepsy is.

In the beginning, I would occasionally smell cookies, what happened to that? Why did the smells turn terrible? Does anyone else experience this?

Let me know in the comments what your condition is and if you experience this. And is the smell pleasant? If it is, I am so jealous.

Also follow me on Twitter @epileptea for daily updates!! Like, comment and share with your friends and family. 


4 thoughts on “I Hallucinate Smells AKA Phantosmia (Thanks, Epilepsy)

  1. I do not yet have a diagnosis, but my doctor suspects seizures, narcolepsy, or migraines. I have been hallucinating smells as well but mine have been pleasant for the most part. At least since I have started paying attention to everything.

    I have smelled bacon when there was none in the house and had not been any for weeks.

    I have smelled a very strong odor of pancake syrup when I walked through our front door going inside. I argued with my husband convinced that our twins had dumped some out somewhere but we did not have any! In fact I had banned it from our house and he was in the middle of changing a dirty diaper! THAT was what I was smelling, but it was distorted.

    Earlier today I went outside and was standing near our chickens…and all I could smell was Butterworth toffee candy.

    It is strange. I do remember having days where I have searched and looked through the house like a mad woman trying to find a foul smell that no one else could smell though. I just knew it was real. I had no idea there were scent hallucinations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s crazy that smells can be hallucinated. My doctor told me they are partial seizures. I usually have them as a warning for an absence seizure now. You should speak with your doctor about these smells, symptoms are very important to aid in the diagnosis of epilepsy or any other disease/disorder. You’re so lucky that yours smell good, not many are a lucky as you with that! Good luck and keep me updated, I would love to hear back from you.


  2. […] Now the dog thing happened last night and I am mad as hell. I had forgotten what sleep deprivation does to me. I was up until about 4 in the morning last night because of this entire ordeal. I woke up three hours past my pill alarm with a raging headache and a stomach ache. I also look like Gollum. I have spilled coffee on myself, thanks to my triggered myoclonic jerking, and also accidentally hit the wax melter in my kitchen and spilled hot wax all over my hand and my counter. My hand is fine and un injured but cleaning that shit up was hard. Also, I keep smelling rotten dirty rags because I Hallucinate Smells AKA Phantosmia (Thanks, Epilepsy) . […]


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