Just a few weeks after the news that a British teenager went blind after years of eating nothing but junk food comes the news of another Brit with a severe eating disorder. April Griffiths told the Mirror that, from childhood, she’s been unable to eat anything besides cheese sandwiches.
“Every time I attempt to try new things,” she said, “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.”
Griffiths has been to counseling and hypnotherapy. The hypnotherapy was mildly successful: for a couple of months five years ago, she was able to eat rice. But the therapy was £300 an hour, and she couldn’t afford to keep going.
After 29 years of this, Griffiths is getting tired of cheese sandwiches. She alternates between Mature Cheddar and Red Leicester and sometimes she toasts the sandwiches for variety. She can also handle potato chips (usually cheese and onion or prawn cocktail, with sour cream Pringles on special occasions) and drinks up to three cartons of orange juice every day for vitamins.
Griffiths’ two-year-old son has noticed the lack of variety in her diet and has also been demanding potato chips for dinner. In order to avoid setting a bad example, she’s begun eating in a separate room.
“I would love to eat a roast dinner,” she said, “but I couldn’t face it—the vegetables, potatoes and meat all touching makes me feel sick.”
This story makes me deeply, deeply sad. I can’t even venture a guess at the nutritional value of an all-cheese sandwich diet, but I do know that food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and I do hope that the publicity from this article will help Griffiths get the help she desperately wants.