Most of us start our mornings with a cup of coffee or tea, accompanied with some eggs, and toast. But for the last 11 years,one London woman has had a tablespoon of bricks every day. Patrice Benjamin-Ramgoolam satisfies her strange cravings by eating bricks all the time from her walls. The 28-year-old claims her unusual craving has not led to any serious health problems.
Benjamin-Ramgoolam’s addiction started when she was 18, when her grandmother mentioned that her aunt and uncle used to pick at the wall. She has not stopped picking at her own walls since, and has even gone on to pick the walls when she visits friends or family. Pica, her eating disorder, is characterized by the need to eat items that contain little to no nutritional value. “I thought it was strange, but became interested in what it would taste like,” Benjamin-Ramgoolam told ITV’s This Morning. “I tasted it, I liked it and that’s where it all started. It’s like a chalky, earthy taste. I got hooked on it.”
Aside from natural curiosity, she developed her strange addiction around the same time she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Benjamin-Ramgoolam shared with This Morning she had a tough upbringing, and was bullied as a child. Eating the wall became a “like an escape,” she said.
The 28-year-old’s sublimation has led her to constantly damage the walls of her own home, including the bedroom, but she continues to receive full support from husband. At first, Benjamin-Ramgoolam would try to hide the damage by covering the holes in the walls with posters, but she soon confessed to him her unusual compulsive habit. “We are very close and he is very supportive. Once he found out that I ate the wall I did it in front of him,” she said, the DailyMail reported.
Her odd eating compulsion may be a coping mechanism for Benjamin-Ramgoolam, said Dr. Abigael San, clinical psychologist, on This Morning. “Prevalence rates [for pica], the estimates vary — there are rates of about eight per cent that are quoted,” San continued. “It's quite rare in the average population – it’s more common in pregnancy or in people with learning disabilities.”
Benjamin-Ramgoolam is currently seeking professional help to kick her brick eating habit.