Today I have a guest post from a fellow blogger that I thought would interest you. I have often said I think there are so many more eating disorders than we realise and that emotional eating is almost an eating disorder in itself in my opinion. Anyway here is James who has Selective Eating Disorder sharing his story with you.

Have you ever had an experience with your children where they suddenly decide they don’t like certain foods because it tastes horrible? Have you ever experienced this at home or worse, out in a restaurant and the tantrums then follow suit? Well imagine what that is like for a 31 year old (minus the tantrums off course!)

Well that would be me.

Hi there, I’m James Mulhern, I’m 31 and I suffer from Selective Eating Disorder and have done for the best part of 20+ years.

a black and white image of a man, smiling.

This may be the first time you have ever heard of this, but it is quite a common thing and one that I am becoming more aware of! To the layperson, it is essentially “picky eating” for adults. But it goes much deeper than that. It involves “safe foods” and “safe spaces” and fears of tastes or textures or contaminants and I don’t mean a hair in your food.

Let me explain, you see, I don’t like eating out in any fancy restaurants because the anxiety of having to order a plain cheeseburger and chips whilst everyone is having a lovely meal, is absolutely overwhelming.

Now add to that, the fear of the burger being wrong, or onions in it, or garnish on the side touching that food. It’s all very overwhelming.

burger and chips on a bright yellow rectangular plate

I have become adept at dealing with the situation as best I can, but becoming a parent made me have to adapt that again because this is something that I don’t want my children to pick up on, I want them to have a happy and healthy lifestyle!

I now have to make the food I eat look similar to what they are having or eat some of the food that they do.

Want me to blow your mind a little?

I love to cook for my family, using fresh ingredients, but I can never bring myself to taste what I am cooking or to enjoy it, I hope they like it enough and that my wife doesn’t lie about it haha.

It’s even that peculiar that I don’t like holding things like ham, chicken, pork etc. I can’t stand the feel of it, I always have to improvise to manage.

a basket of fresh fruit and vegetables that looks like it can straight from the farm

Maybe at this point, you’re probably sitting there thinking I’m a complete weirdo and why don’t  I just eat a big steak dinner, well, it’s not that simple. And last year, after struggling with this, I finally reached out for help. It took a lot of courage to do it. I went into the GP, dry mouth, told him what was wrong….

He didn’t have a clue! I had to show HIM the NHS website. “take some vitamin tablets” was his response.

My heart sank, 20 years of living with this problem and that was the advice. I was livid that that was the level of expertise.

Needless to say, this spurred me on to have a second opinion and I was advised to take vitamins again but also encouraged to seek CBT and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as there may be some issue behind it.

I’ve had one block of CBT already and waiting for another coming very soon, but I don’t know what this will achieve.

I can see the huge importance of a good relationship with food and now at 31, I’m trying to achieve this for my kid’s sake!

If your kids or an adult is struggling with something like this then don’t laugh it off, because deep down they may really be struggling with it, encourage them to reach out and get some help!

Where you can find James

A note from Jen

I found James’ story really interesting which is why I wanted to share it with you. I know people with autism often have issues with certain foods due to having Ben and knowing the issues he faces now and has in the past but I wasn’t really aware of this so it has enlightened me.

Has it made you think differently? What are your thoughts?

Living with Selective Eating Disorder

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