Is this the weirdest phobia ever?

Publish Date
Wednesday, 15 March 2017, 10:22AM

For as long as Anna Cox can remember she's always had a phobia of fruit.

And no, it's not just a dislike of fruit.

It's a legitimate phobia - one that affects her every day.

Even when she was in primary school she can remember her mum trying to bribe into eating the healthy snack.

"She said something like, 'I'll give you a dollar if you eat a grape,'" the mother-of-four recalls. "I couldn't do it."

When she encounters a piece of fruit she experiences a rush of adrenaline and panic that many of us get from a spider or being up high.

"It's that it's wet and juicy and smelly," she says. "The thought of touching it, getting it on me, is horrible."

"One time I was in high school and I accidentally let my hand brush up against someone's mandarin peel," she says.

"I raced to the bathroom to wash my hands but I couldn't get the smell off. It was horrifying. I couldn't get that smell of mandarin off my hands all day."

She also remembers as a child her neighbours squishing banana through their teeth just to terrorise her and has the memory of someone eating an orange loudly and feeling "grossed out".

When Anna had children she decided to put their nutritional needs before her fears.

The 35-year-old would force herself to cut up bananas - with a knife and fork - while wearing gloves, and found that dealing with fruit puree was less distressing than whole fruits.

"I felt guilty that I wasn't feeding my kids fruit so I forced myself," she says. "But they still don't eat a lot of it."

Now Anna has made peace with her quirky phobia and will happily have a laugh about it.

"People ask me about it all the time, which is fine. I don't mind talking about it. It's just a part of who I am."