29-year-old April Griffiths has suffered from severe food phobia and experiences intense anxiety at consuming food that isn’t cheese sandwich, reports Ellen Scott of U.K.-based newspaper Metro. The mom-of-two has lived off of cheese sandwiches and crisps since childhood, although April mixes “things up with melted cheese on toast on special occasions.”
She states, “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.” April admits feeling awkward when eating out with new people, as she has to explain why she is ordering a cheese sandwich. Oftentimes, it becomes “the talk of the table.”
When April first met her partner of nine years, 34-year-old Leigh Kendall, she had to warn him about her food phobia to save herself from embarrassment on their first date. “Leigh used to always try and encourage me to eat something new but it is impossible, I think this will be my diet for the rest of my life,” April recounts.
As expected, April is bored with eating cheese sandwiches, but she can’t stomach any other food. She tried hypnotherapy sessions to ease her anxiety “and try something new.” Sadly, April could not afford regular appointments. In 2014, she had two meetings with a hypnotherapist, forcing her to return to her diet of mature cheddar and red Leicester-filed sandwiches. Sometimes, April has a cheese toastie to “mix it up.” However, she must consume it when the cheese is hot or else she will start to gag when the toast cools down “and the texture changes.” The 29-year-old would love to eat a roast dinner, but the vegetables, potatoes, and meat make her feel queasy.
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Raising a child with good eating habits is challenging for her. Feeding her two-year-old son Charlie has become difficult because he noticed “she isn’t eating the same thing as him.” Considering that Charlie prefers to eat crisps like his mother, April has to eat in a separate room so that her children would not mimic her dietary habits.
Two hypnotherapy sessions enabled her to eat rice and she is “desperate for more of the treatment.” But for now, she has to make do with cheese sandwiches and crisps, as well as drinking three cartons of orange juice each day “to get essential vitamins.”
Many people say April’s parents weren’t tough enough, but she argues that she has always been genuinely scared of food. Hypnotherapy sessions cost £300 ($372) a session. She is hoping that hypnotherapy will be available on the NHS (National Health Service).
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