You’re a sheriff’s deputy and you’re hungry. You stop at the local Burger King drive-thru and order a Whopper with cheese. You often eat five meals a day—frequently at fast food restaurants—because you work night shifts. Yet, this time you drive away with an uneasy feeling. You stop in another parking lot to examine your hamburger.
As you lift the bun, you notice a “puddle of phlegm” on it. It looks like oil or fat. You stick your finger in it to see. It’s neither. You’ve touched the spittle of a Burger King employee. He later pleads guilty to felony assault and is sentenced to 90 days in jail.
You’re nauseated by this traumatic event. Because of it, you can no longer eat any prepared foods. Once, when you were served spaghetti at a friend’s home, you vomited right then and there. Even walking past free samples in grocery stores makes you want to barf. Unable to eat out, you binge once a day at home on food you prepare yourself. Your repeated nightmares involve food poisoning or other communicable diseases.
You’re now seeing a mental health professional to overcome these food aversion issues. You’ve been taught some coping techniques, including how to clear your mind before eating or going to sleep, but progress has been very slow.