OCD sufferer, 34, who is scared of touching food with his hands uses a pair of metal tongs to eat all his meals – including soup

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John Junior, from Manchester, first developed the phobia a decade ago after falling ill eating cooked chicken. While he began using the tongs alongside cutlery, the pandemic saw the 34-year-old's fear spiral out of control

A man petrified of touching food with his hands has shared how he eats all of his meals — even soup — with a pair of metal tongs. 

John Junior, from Manchester, first developed the phobia a decade ago after falling ill eating cooked chicken. 

While he used to use the tongs alongside a fork, knife and spoon, the Covid pandemic saw the 34-year-old’s fear spiral out of control. 

His phobia — known as an intrusive thought, a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for which he received a diagnosis in March — now sees solely eat with tongs and carry around three pairs in his car to ensure he is always prepared. 

The tool has allowed him to continue eating sandwiches, crisps, burgers, full English breakfasts and salads.

John Junior, from Manchester, first developed the phobia a decade ago after falling ill eating cooked chicken. While he began using the tongs alongside cutlery, the pandemic saw the 34-year-old’s fear spiral out of control

His phobia ¿ a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for which he received a diagnosis in March ¿ now sees him carry round three pairs of tongs in his car to ensure he is always prepared

His phobia – a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for which he received a diagnosis in March – now sees him carry round three pairs of tongs in his car to ensure he is always prepared

But the mental health campaigner claims the hardest meal to eat is cottage pie.

He said: ‘I know it’s ludicrous but it’s my intrusive thoughts. Everyone’s got to eat to survive and this is the only way I can deal with it.

‘People laugh and point at me when I’m out having a meal. I do get it, humans are curious. But it is hurtful.

‘One time when I was at Miller and Carter I had my tongs beside the knife and fork on the table.

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What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

Obsessive compulsive disorder, usually known as OCD, is a common mental health condition which makes people obsess over thoughts and develop behaviour they struggle to control.

It can affect anyone at any age but normally develops during young adulthood.

It can cause people to have repetitive unwanted or unpleasant thoughts.

People may also develop compulsive behaviour – a physical action or something mental – which they do over and over to try to relieve the obsessive thoughts.

The condition can be controlled and treatment usually involves psychological therapy or medication.  

It is not known why OCD occurs but risk factors include a family history of the condition, certain differences in brain chemicals, or big life events like childbirth or bereavement. 

People who are naturally tidy, methodical or anxious are also more likely to develop it.

Source: NHS 

‘The waiter had a look and smiled at me. I just said “I’ve got a phobia mate” and he just went “that’s ok” and gave me another smile.’

He added: ‘I briefly forgot about the giggling from other tables. It was nice that someone had just accepted it.’

Around 750,000 Britons are thought to be living with OCD, which can leave sufferers obsessed with washing their hands, tidying up and checking that doors are locked.

Charities estimate up to 3million Americans are affected, including Hollywood stars Justin Timberlake and Jessica Alba.

Roughly half of patients are classed as having ‘severe’ symptoms, which can impact sufferers so badly that they don’t want to leave their home.

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Treatment can usually involve cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps patients face their obsessive thoughts without ‘putting them right’.

Drugs are also dished out, with anti-depressants used to alter the chemical balance in the brain. 

Although doctors are baffled as to what causes OCD, they believe that unusually low or high levels of serotonin may be to blame. 

Mr Junior said: ‘I just can’t physically touch the food. In my head I think I will die.

‘I’ve got it nailed down pretty well now. I can eat all sorts. I even eat soup with it. It doesn’t take me any extra time.’

In an effort to raise awareness of the day-to-day impact of his intrusive thoughts, he launched a TikTok channel earlier this month.

In one video viewed more than 685,000 times, he claimed cottage pie is one of the most difficult meals to tackle with tongs. 

He told his followers: ‘This is a cottage pie that’s been made for me. 

The tool has allowed him to continue eating sandwiches, crisps, burgers, full English breakfasts and salads. But the mental health campaigner claims the hardest meal to eat is cottage pie. He said: 'I know it's ludicrous but it's my intrusive thoughts. Everyone's got to eat to survive and this is the only way I can deal with it

The tool has allowed him to continue eating sandwiches, crisps, burgers, full English breakfasts and salads. But the mental health campaigner claims the hardest meal to eat is cottage pie. He said: ‘I know it’s ludicrous but it’s my intrusive thoughts. Everyone’s got to eat to survive and this is the only way I can deal with it

In one video seen over 685,000 times, he claimed cottage pie is one of the most difficult meals to tackle with tongs. He told his followers: 'This is a cottage pie that's been made for me. 'I'm using my metal tongs. The biggest ones I have. The reason why I eat like this with my metal tongs is I have intrusive thoughts which tell me to eat with the metal tongs otherwise I'm going to die'

In one video seen over 685,000 times, he claimed cottage pie is one of the most difficult meals to tackle with tongs. He told his followers: ‘This is a cottage pie that’s been made for me. ‘I’m using my metal tongs. The biggest ones I have. The reason why I eat like this with my metal tongs is I have intrusive thoughts which tell me to eat with the metal tongs otherwise I’m going to die’

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While some of his 4,700 followers have praised Mr Junior for his openness, others haven't been as supportive. One TikTok said: 'OCD is rough and scary, stay strong and you'll get through the intrusive thoughts. You're not alone.' Meanwhile another commented: 'To be fair tongs with a burger is not a bad shout, hate getting it all over my hands.' A third however added, 'nah what's going on these days', while a fourth said 'speechless'

While some of his 4,700 followers have praised Mr Junior for his openness, others haven’t been as supportive. One TikTok said: ‘OCD is rough and scary, stay strong and you’ll get through the intrusive thoughts. You’re not alone.’ Meanwhile another commented: ‘To be fair tongs with a burger is not a bad shout, hate getting it all over my hands.’ A third however added, ‘nah what’s going on these days’, while a fourth said ‘speechless’

‘I’m using my metal tongs. The biggest ones I have. The reason why I eat like this with my metal tongs is I have intrusive thoughts which tell me to eat with the metal tongs otherwise I’m going to die.’ 

He added: ‘This is a form of OCD. I wish I never have these thoughts because it just ruins your tea and I don’t enjoy it. 

‘I did not enjoy that meal one bit. But I have to do what it says otherwise I’m going to die. 

‘Remember if you have intrusive thoughts and OCD you are not alone.’ 

While some of his 4,700 followers have praised Mr Junior for his openness, others haven’t been as supportive. 

One TikTok said: ‘OCD is rough and scary, stay strong and you’ll get through the intrusive thoughts. You’re not alone.’

Meanwhile another commented: ‘To be fair tongs with a burger is not a bad shout, hate getting it all over my hands.’

A third, however, added, ‘nah what’s going on these days’, while a fourth said ‘speechless’.

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Source: tit.edu.vn

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