Let me start by saying that I think I have regular hygiene habits. I take a shower every day, use soap and a washcloth, use deodorant, wash the clothes I wear before I go out, and brush my teeth. I am a bit overweight and tend to sweat excessively, but I don't think my odor problem is external in origin. People seem to notice it even when I'm not sweating very much.
I've had this problem for over five years now (since I was eighteen and in 12th grade.) and it's pretty much ruined my life since then. I don't mean to whine or pity-fish here... Just to state a fact. How anyone could live a productive and fulfilling life with this problem is a ways beyond my comprehension.
It has me really confused. Let me start by saying that nobody has come right out and said that I stank... It's either been implied somewhat covertly by what they said, or in their mannerisms (which range in subtlety from near subliminal to blatant disgust). Also, people with whom I had the courage to ask (mostly my immediate family [many of whom don't live with me] and medical providers), have denied the existence of any odor. Until recently, I've been inclined to believe them, as I didn't notice the same mannerisms in them as I did in strangers. However, this has changed in the past couple of months, and it's become obvious that they're beginning to notice it as well.
I recently lost a job because of this problem. The stress of concentrating on staying out of everyone's way and dealing with their latent hostility toward me combined with the workload proved too much, so I left. Eventually, this led to a mental breakdown that ended with me on the Psyche Unit (my family and the police thought I was a danger to myself. I wasn't.)... Yeah, lock the smelly, anxious man up in the looney bin and see if he gets better... Insanity.
I'll try to keep my description of the PU short... If you want specific examples of their speech and behavior that I've been interpreting as being related to my odor, don't hesitate to ask. I realise that some might want to confirm that I'm not entirely crazy/stupid before making a comment.
Basically, what happened at the PU was the medical providers tried to convince me that my perception of my Body Odor was unrealistic, and that I should challenge my interpretations of other peoples' body language. Meanwhile, the other patients (when they weren't playing mind games), would drop hints on how I might solve the odor problem. At times it seemed that they were more sane than the nursing staff and doctors. If I actually do smell, why would they lie? Were they trying to reprogram me into believing something that's blatantly untrue? It was really messed up.
In the meantime, the staff had most people in the psyche ward playing a twisted game of charades. On the first day, most of the patients and nurses kind of played along, although the acting skills of the former were completely transparent and superfiical. It was almost funny to see, like watching a kindergarden play.
I dealt with my brief stint in the hospital by detaching from my concern with other people, ignoring the sounds of patients vomiting and crying in the rooms next to mine, and thinking of myself as some sort of super-villain. I called myself 'The Blight'. After a fashion, I learned to laugh at the people who were suffering. It was harder to deal when they rediculed me, but, most of the time, they were feeling too sick to work up the gumption to be humorous, so it worked out alright.
I ended up with a diagnosis of Avoidant Personality disorder (The doctor tried to pass off my Body Odor as my scapegoat for when I perceived that people were being critical or didn't like me.). Avoidant... No f-ing duh! Wouldn't you avoid people and be the slightest bit insecure if you reeked of a restroom in the slums in India?
Anyway, that's all I have to say for now. Basically, the main question I want answered is whether or not and, if so, why medical providers are required/inclined to lie about one's Body Odor . If they aren't, then the situation doesn't make much sense anyway I look at it.
Maybe I should tell my doctor/therapist that I smell the odor myself, just to get them on the wagon toward curing myself, because this is getting rediculous.