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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Diptyque and the Power of Scent

I think we've all had about enough of the medical aspects of the DD: the CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia. Perhaps it's time to take a little break and go off into more "frivolous" directions for a bit - after all, we are not our illnesses, we're just trying to live as normal a life as possible with the hand we've been dealt.  Right about now I think we really need to build up those health credits with a bit of rest and relaxation, especially since the holidays are quickly descending upon us and November and December are just bad for your health, period.  Actually, I happen to believe that the holidays should be celebrated every four years like the Olympics since getting through them is an Olympian event.  The other three years can be mini, very "in" low-key affairs.  Hey!  Think about it.  It COULD work!   But I know, I know: back to topic at hand.

In a recent post I wrote that I thought I might have found a new fragrance that I loved and which I would be testing.  Well, the fragrance IS indeed lovely and I used it sparingly this past week since I didn't want to associate this almost-found holy grail with the almost unbearable experience of the past two or so weeks.   

Let me backtrack for a moment.  I've always been affected by smells and there are legends in the family - stories to be carried on by future generations (joke!) - of the little accomplishments my nose has achieved. So, imagine my joy when I discovered aromatherapy and essential oils on one of my trips to England, at a time when the States had no idea what aromatherapy was.  I read every book on aromatherapy that I could locate, took a few "correspondence courses" (I'm embarrassed to admit this last part, but desperate times and all...) and even took a few trips to get treatments in London by someone who'd been highly recommended to me.   It's all a long story, not worth going into all the info.  Let's just say it really worked, in combination with other holistic approaches that I'd been working on with the same sort of dedication to "fix" myself as I had when I was going to grad school:  I DO happen to have a problem with doing things half measure.

And not only were the essential oils healing but the aromatherapy was a match made in heaven: I'm always teased by my family for my keen sense of smell (understatement!) and can drive lesser people crazy.   

Not surprisingly, I'd always been a "light perfume" person, never leaving the house or my dorm or wherever I lived without a scent, but that ended with the "holistic clinic" since no scents of any sorts were allowed - understandably so, due to so many with chemical sensitivities.  And so I got out of the habit of wearing scents and that was a shame.   I strongly believe that just as a bad smell can put you (or at least me) in the worst of moods, a wonderful aroma can do the opposite: it can lift you up, it can even work synergistically to promote healing.  So, for the last year or two I've been on a hunt for a new perfume that would give me the feel I want.

The acid test for me?  When I get home from the doctor's (I mean, seriously, where ELSE do I go?) I quickly slip into the clean nightie that I'd put on after my bath and while doing my hair and face.  I absolutely love the residual scent as the nightie slips back over my head as soon as I hit my bedroom.  I've been out, the smells of the outdoors are clinging to me with their cleanliness and freshness and the lightly scented nightie then becomes bliss.  It's an almost fool-proof way of realizing that you do or don't like a particular scent.  

Well, I may have found the right new cold-weather fragrance.  If not, I know that I'm close to it. 

I'd never heard of the perfume-maker Diptyque, which was founded in 1960's and 70's Paris by three friends. The shop has a definite bohemian feel about it, is very "individual," with attention to the tiniest details - from what I've gathered.  Yet it's incredibly chic and classic at the same time.  I'd first read about Diptyque on one of my favorite blogs, "A Model Recommends," and didn't think twice about it.  After all, scents are so personal and can evoke so many different kinds of moods.  I knew I wouldn't be buying a perfume over the Internet without first having experienced it.  

Well, just a week later, a sample of Diptyque's newest addition came to my doorstep and I thought nothing of it until I remembered Ruth's review on AMR.  Oh, she and her readers were ever so right.  What an incredible Eau de toilette!

The newest addition to the Diptyque line is "Volutes," which was "designed" to evoke the memories of cruises with the exotic smells, tastes and destinations of yore.  Think Gatsby goes to Europe and the Far East, with perhaps Hercule Poirot in tow, catching up with a murder mystery, minus the gore.

One of the reasons I've not liked anything I've sniffed in the last few years from other traditional lines (oh, why can't my fibro-brain think of a more "delicate" word than "sniffed"?) is that so many of the scents are almost identical, mostly because there's something that makes me want to avoid inhaling too deeply, as if afraid of the tiniest (or not so tiny) bit of chemical scent mixed in - the stuff that makes a bottle of fragrance much more affordable.  But when I smelled the Diptyque I wanted to inhale it more deeply.  I wanted to lie down in it and think about things I'd thought I'd forgotten. 

The scent comes in two forms, Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette.  Because of the different concentrations used in the two forms, the Eau de Parfum has higher levels of iris and spice whereas the Eau de Toilette has a stronger emphasis on the tobacco and honey - I know, a strange combo, at least for me.  However, it reminds me of my mom when I was a young child with her gallons of honey she'd consume alone every year - and I just realized that she grew the best and most beautiful irises for miles!  On the other hand, the scent also reminded me of one of my professors who used to smoke a pipe with cherry tobacco and the scent was somehow transforming.  I loved walking down the corridors of the English lit building for the pipe smoke alone, the pipe usually unlit, just a hint of it in the air.  The tobacco in Volutes, which I would never have guessed that it IS tobacco, has been described as "smokey and sweet," even "fruity, moist and spicy."  Furthermore, I've read that "Volutes" is actually a scent that can be used by women or men - it smells differently on men and women, indeed from person to person.   Personally, I think that all perfumes smell a bit different on each person, but this one is in a class by itself.  To top it all off, I like how the scent changes from hour to hour.  Fascinating.  And rewarding.  And luxurious.  Ahhhh.....

My only problem now is figuring out which of the fragrances that Diptyque offers would best suit me.  I am so very tempted to go with Diptyque's Philosykos, having read great reviews of that.  Yes, it's a pricey company: We DO have to make a sacrifice to keep out those chemicals and to keep in the "real" ingredients and not fake chemical duplications/substitutes.  However, at the moment, I'm not quite sure how I'm going to go down THAT particular path - ordering a selection that I've not had an opportunity to sample ahead of buying, especially given that I live in the boondocks and that I don't get out much.  However, I'm judiciously enjoying the tiny vial that I have while I try to decide how I'm going to make a decision - because a decision I do need to make.  In the meanwhile, I'm just so happy to know that there are still REAL fragrances out there.  

For a person who is very sensitive to smells, this has been a wonder.  For a person who also has CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibro, this is a godsend!  

As always, I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend and feeling their best, only better.  Ciao and paka.  

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