A mother of two with a “phobia of food” has recently shared how she has been living off cheese sandwiches for decades.
29-year-old April Griffiths has a severe food phobia and experiences intense anxiety at even the thought of consuming food that is not a cheese sandwich.
Griffiths, in an effort to beat her phobia, has invested in hypnotherapy sessions but has yet to be cured of the fear.
“Every time I attempt to try new things, I have a panic attack, my whole body begins to shake, and I am terribly nervous. The fear of choking and experiencing a different texture of food scares me and even though I have tried to eat pea-size portions of rice, pasta or vegetables, I have never been able to swallow it without throwing up.”
She shared how awkward it is for her when going out for meals with new people as she has to explain why she is ordering a cheese sandwich.
The fear has also affected her intimate relationships too.
“When I first met my partner of nine years, Leigh Kendall, 34, I had to pre-warn him about my food phobia to save myself of the embarrassment on our first date,” she said.
While Kendall did his best to encourage Griffiths to try a few new foods, she was not able to do. She has now accepted the possibility that this may be the diet she lives off for the rest of her life.
“I am bored of cheese sandwiches but even with years of counseling, I am unable to overcome my phobia,” she said.
Even how the cheese is prepared affects whether Griffiths can eat it.
“Sometimes I have a cheese toastie to mix it up, but I must eat it when the cheese is hot because I start to gag when it cools down and the texture changes,” she said.
“It sounds silly but if I have sliced cheese I have to avoid thinking about it because the texture is completely different to my usual grated cheese sandwich. But I don’t have a panic attack because I know it is still cheese, and I can eat toast as I know bread is safe to eat.”
The mother said she dreams of consuming certain foods but if her imagination runs too wild, she becomes sick.
“The only other thing I can stomach is crisps and that is the only excitement my tastebuds get so I always pick a flavoured pack,” she shared. “I usually eat cheese and onion crisps or prawn cocktail, and treat myself to sour cream Pringles on special occasions.”
While she has had counseling since she was a small child, Griffiths said it has not worked and the only time she came close to being “cured” was after hypnotherapy.
“I had two sessions and I managed to eat rice a couple of months after which was a massive deal for me, I was so proud,” she said.
But at £300 a session (or $373 and something odd cents) she shares she cannot afford to continue — forcing her her to return to her diet.
Until she can, she consumes the food she can eat along with three cartons of orange juice a day to get essential vitamins.