Regaining my fifth sense


It was early March 2020 when the Coronavirus hit London seriously and I became one of many people who caught it right away. I believe I contracted the virus from the guy upstairs after just 7 minutes talking at his doorstep about internet, or simply from work. I mildly felt ill and initially assumed it to be a normal cold, however later, I realised that something was different with the nature of this cold. Two nights after the start of my illness, I fried myself a salmon fillet for dinner and when I took the first bite I felt a strange taste, more like the taste of a piece of paper but thought there was something wrong with the fish. That night, I did not notice that I actually had lost my sense of smell and therefore taste abruptly and totally; one night after reality hit me...

I did a quick search about the link between losing the sense of smell and the Coronavirus, but nothing came up apart from an article from Iran, where the virus was at its peak. The report read: ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctors from Tehran had reported a sharp increase in the number of patients reporting the loss of their sense of smell over the past month. As the only common illness between the two countries and the rest of the world was Covid-19, I became certain that I had caught the virus. I could not smell anything, not even my perfume or shower gel, every odour was blank. Suddenly, not only did I fear dying as a result of the virus, but also experienced a profound sadness thinking about the possibility of not having my two senses back ever again. At that very moment, I felt like I was wrapped in a box away from the rest of the world and the only thing I wanted was to have my senses back, nothing else mattered; absolutely nothing.

Everyday we live our life with so many blessings and lots of enjoyable moments; one for instance is the ability to smell the odours or taste the flavours, which significantly improves our quality of life but often goes unnoticed. Anhedonia, which is defined as "inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities" can be a result of anosmia (complete loss of the sense of smell and taste). When I had serious concerns about regaining my senses, I found it hard to get reassurance or advice from medical staff as they also lacked accurate information on the matter, which pushed me further into the darkness of my new reality.

Once I slowly started to recover from my anosmia, I automatically became extremely happy and upbeat. This time, everything looked different to me as I now could see the world through a new lens, but what had actually happened was regaining what I already had. That means we humans have a tendency to take most of our blessings for granted and only discover their importance once we lose them. I firmly believe that being grateful for all that we have from our health and relationships to everything else that we mostly forget to include in our list can significantly improve our level of happiness. If we set an intention to count our blessings on a regular basis, we then automatically find joy in all that we have/do and therefore increase our quality of life.