Update: Check out my fragrance-free blog, Poison Scents.
Well obviously I didn't go to Conestoga. There really was no possible way to do it on such short notice, so...that's that. Maybe next year.
I appreciate all the encouragement given on my neurotic post. Sometimes you just have to step back and take stock, and that's what I did. Looking at reasons I have trouble writing, without blaming anyone, helps clarify things, and, for some stupid reason, declaring anything to the world brings answers more quickly and decisively.
So after posting I had a revelation. If you've been reading long, you know I have chronic sinus and eye problems, manifesting as inability to see and concentrate, developing into headaches. Doctors haven't been able to tell me why, and medicine doesn't help. I may have found the cause, though I don't want to get too excited about it, in case it turns out not to be so.
It could be (at least partly, and I am in no way getting excited)...
...a fragrance sensitivity.
After I figured out that my deoderant was the cause of that pinchy feeling between my eyes, I did some research of the Google variety and came across a list of symptoms associated with a fragrance sensitivity: blurry vision, brain fog, chronic sinus problems, migraine headaches, even asthma-like symptoms. The list could have been written by me.
So what could I do, except rid my home of fragrance, just to see what happened? People, that's a lot of stuff. Seven or eight plastic grocery bags. Perfume gives me a headache, I've avoided it for years, but I never thought about all the fragrances sitting around my house: scented candles, shampoo, kitchen cleaner, lotion, deoderant, virtually EVERYTHING has fragrance added. You might be surprised to know, as I was, that even products labeled "unscented" probably have a masking fragrance. All of those things went out to the shed for a trial period.
The change was instant. My vision cleared to a certain point, concentration improved. That pinchy feeling between my eyes left, but returns whenever I come in contact with a fragranced product.
The resulting quest for unscented products took me to Walgreen's and Wal-Mart, where the headache came on from just standing on the lotion aisle for several minutes. No wonder I always feel terrible while shopping.
I've had to compromise on some products, because it is just damn hard to find truly fragrance-free products in the stores. There was one body wash, one bar of soap, one anti-perspirant, a couple of lotions, and forget about shampoo. And don't forget that fragrance-free products cost way more than all the stuff I've been using. Since I'll have to order the shampoo off the internet, I've taken the shampoo out of the shower and put it in a plastic bag under the sink. When I open the bag, the smell hits me in the face. It's incredible how the constant barrage of chemicals becomes mere background noise.
I'll probably start making my own soap so I can control the ingredients, and maybe lots of other things. Stay tuned for more developments.