The bad news for Diane Freelove is that she just can’t bear to be near a paper.
Diane cannot touch or look at newspapers, she hates their smell and has to look away when she sees one on TV.
The mum of three has suffered for 25 years from the unusual condition which is called chloephobia.
Diane, 49, said: “When I visit a shop I walk as far away as I can from the news-stand. I can’t go anywhere near someone who has got one, and if they approach me, I freak out. At one time I could touch a newspaper as long as I knew I could wash my hands thoroughly afterwards. But now I can’t even look at them.
“I don’t like the feel of them – if I touch a newspaper it feels like my skin is crawling. And I can’t stand the smell, which I think is quite strong and distinctive.
“If I see a newspaper flash up on TV, I have to physically turn away.”
Diane, a care home kitchen assistant from Rochester, Kent, suspects the root of her fear may lie in her childhood.
She said: “When I was a child, my mother hit my father over the head with a newspaper. She did it in a playful, friendly way, but it worried me.”
“I became afraid of newspapers over the past 25 years.”
Diane, who has a son, Matthew, 29, and daughters Lauren, 24, and Rebecca, 19, said: “They all like to read newspapers. Lauren has them delivered but throws them away before I visit her.”
Diane said she regularly bought newspapers for her late husband, Ian, who died in 2011. But she used gloves and a bag to pick them up.
She said: “As my husband read the newspaper, I would leave the room and go to an open window in the kitchen. Fresh air made my anxiety more bearable.”
She added: “I have ordinary fears as well – spiders and heights.”
Other unusual conditions include papyrophobia, the fear of paper, and bibliophobia, the fear of books. And it’s bad news for those who suffer from euphobia – the fear of hearing good news. So they may not want to hear there is now a Mirror e-edition which Diane could read on a tablet computer. Find out how to get our e-edition here.