I have a feeling... IN MY FACE.
March 28, 2011 9:13 AM   Subscribe

What is this sensation in my face?

So this is going to maybe sound crazy, but everything other time I thought I was the only one, others have had the same experience as me, so maybe others have this too.

I sometimes get a ... not a taste, exactly, and not a smell either, but a sensation that is kind of like a taste or smell in my head, in my face area. It comes for a while and then leaves again. This time, I've been noticing it for the past week or so. I kind of like it, I associate it with being happy, and I've been getting it my entire life.

I can sense it more when I drink coffee (like, literally when I have coffee in my mouth, the sensation doesn't really last) and when I was taking Wellbutrin it was pretty strong.

Does anyone know what this is? I was thinking maybe it's serotonin, I guess because Wellbutrin makes it stronger, but I really don't know.
posted by rabbitrabbit to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This almost sounds like...synesthesia. Especially since you said it's been happening your whole life.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not just the feeling of coffee steam on your skin, is it?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:57 AM on March 28, 2011

"I can sense it more when I drink coffee (like, literally when I have coffee in my mouth...)"

Perhaps try some other non-coffee items with the same features as coffee to find a common feature (e.g., eat a really bitter food, chew a coffee bean on its own, or suck on a caffeine pill for a bit).
posted by astrochimp at 10:02 AM on March 28, 2011

Oh yes. I get this too, especially after a good nap. It makes things taste just a little bit better, and makes me salivate just a little more than baseline.
I always thought I was just a normal thing.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 10:12 AM on March 28, 2011

Oh god yes, you're not alone. Mine is a touch/sight thing around/in my head. I call it 'the orange' and it's triggered often by smells (but not oranges!). It has a specific texture, the same every time. I can also pinpoint sounds that definitely don't match with it, but I can't quite articulate the sounds that would...but they exist. I liken the whole thing to knowing another color in the rainbow is there, but *just* slightly beyond the ability of my eyes, ears or hands to get at it. And when it crops up, I think "Oh, the orange; hello my strange sensory friend I don't dare ever tell anybody about."

I'm sorry I don't have an answer, but know that you're not the only one. Brains are weird.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:41 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Doesn't really occur in response to stimuli, except maybe some foods (like daniel mentioned, it makes things taste just a bit better) as well as the coffee that I noticed this morning (which is what made me ask the question). I don't think it's synesthesia -- what kind would it be? Also not the feeling of coffee steam on my face.

I think it's interesting that some people know what I'm talking about and some don't -- so I'm not unique in having this, but it's not a universal thing. I didn't think it was; when I tried to describe it to Mr. Rabbit this morning and ask if he got that too, he just stared at me.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:17 PM on March 28, 2011

Is it sort of like a chill/tingle? A relative of the brain freeze, but on your cheeks rather than your palate?
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:49 PM on March 28, 2011

Response by poster: Nope, not like a chill/tingle/brain freeze. It really is almost like a taste or smell.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:29 PM on March 28, 2011

When I've taken an anti-anxiety med like Ativan or Valium, I first feel it like a tingle or creeping warm sensation in my face that comes with a very specific taste in my mouth. It's pretty pleasant!
posted by thinkpiece at 7:42 PM on March 28, 2011

I would second the theory on synesthesia, but if it's not consistent, that wouldn't make a lot of sense. Have you ever, or do you now have a seizure disorder? Does the sensation linger for weeks at a time? Or does it come and go over the course of several days? What you're describing sounds like a kind of "aura" that some epileptics experience before they have a seizure.
posted by doogan nash at 4:38 AM on April 3, 2011

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