Meet The Woman With An Extreme Food Phobia

BarcroftTVPublished: November 3, 2017272 views
Published: November 3, 2017

This pub landlord is so afraid of certain foods that just the sight and smell of it can drive her to panic attacks and make her physically sick. Jill Hayman, 36, from Montrose Scotland, lives off a diet primarily made up of crisp sandwiches and fizzy drinks, and she says she has never sat down to eat a proper hot meal with a knife and fork.

Jill has a list of approximately 18 food and drink items that she can stomach, to which she refers as her ‘safe’ foods. These include fizzy and energy drinks, jelly sweets, crisps and chocolate, with bread making up the majority of her ‘meals’. Unsurprisingly Jill gets through, on average, seven loaves of bread per week.

At petite size 6, Jill suffers from Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), formerly known as Selective Eating Disorder (SED), where the consumption of certain foods causes anxiety, panic attacks and even physical sickness. When faced with ‘unsafe’ foods Jill becomes physically sick, her throat closes and she goes into panic attack which she cannot control and then she has a meltdown.

Jill’s phobia began when she was only eight months old when she started to reject the solid food her mother tried to introduce her to.

ARFID specialists suggest that Jill’s phobia was brought on sub-consciously by an early-life feeding experience, when something at that time scared Jill, perhaps an instance of choking or an unexpected taste and her brain made a note that this wasn’t as expected and panicked. A sudden shock like that can activate a fight or flight response and create a future aversion to food.

Surprisingly, Jill owns a pub in Montrose, Scotland, where hot meals are not served, for obvious reasons.

Videographer / director: Jacek Hubner
Producer: Nathalie Bonney, Ruby Coote
Editor: Marcus Cooper

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