London: A 22-year-old student who is so terrified of cheese she is unable to walk past the supermarket counter in case she bursts into tears has spoken of how her phobia blights her everyday life.
Student Melissa North revealed that her fear of the dairy product is so bad that she avoids the cheese counter in the supermarket and looking at it is enough to bring her out in a cold sweat.
The 22-year-old, from Herne Bay, Kent, revealed: “Walking past a deli counter in a supermarket is really difficult for me. I get so clammy and start to have a panic attack. It just looks awful — so gooey and disgusting — it makes me feel sick.”
Melissa insists her fear blights her everyday life, but her family and friends think it’s hilarious and tease her endlessly over it. She said: “My boyfriend is always making fun of me. He will chase me around the house with a block of cheese in his hand but I just go into a state of panic. I just have to lock myself in the bathroom until he gets bored.”
Melissa is aware that her fear seems strange, adding, “I’d love not to be able to be so afraid of it, but I’m terrified.”
Melissa’s fear — named Turophobia — developed when she was given cheese on toast as a child. She said: “It tasted horrible but my parents had always taught me to finish what was on my plate – I didn’t want to be rude so I had no choice but to eat it. It just tasted disgusting and I’ve been afraid of it ever since.”
The strangest phobias
>> Xanthophobia – fear of the colour yellow
Sufferers of xanthophobia may fear anything yellow, including the sun, daffodils and yellow paint.
>> Somniphobia — fear of falling asleep
Somniphobes may fear falling asleep because they associate going to bed with dying.
>> Hylophobia - fear of trees
Hylophobia involves an irrational fear of wood, forest, or trees.
>> Omphalophobia — fear of the navel
Sufferers are afraid to have their navels touched, or to touch another’s navel