Gillian, 22, can’t even stand to be in the same room as friends and family who wear them.
She first realised her fear aged seven, when she refused to put on her school blouse.
The sight of buttons sends Gillian into panic attacks and boyfriend Nate Dorrington, 23, can only wear clothes with zips.
She said: “I’ve had the fear as long as I remember. My mum says I freaked out when it was time to get dressed.
“I have always been fearful of buttons, especially when they are grouped together.
“For me touching a button would be like touching a cockroach. It feels dirty, nasty and wrong. When I was younger my brother used to tease me by opening my mum’s button tin. I hid in my bedroom until he put them away.
“My cousin was wearing a button necklace one day and in the end she had to take it off.
I could not stand being in the same room as her.”
Gillian, of Waterlooville, Hants, tried in vain to hide her phobia from school pals in case she was picked on and has even tried hypnotherapy to cure herself, without success.
She added: “Some people don’t believe me and I try to joke about it. I’ve tried things like self-help tapes and hypnotism but nothing has worked.
“Watching the children’s TV show Button Moon is like being made to watch a horror movie. People just think I’m weird.”
But Gillian’s not alone. Her phobia – officially named Koumpounophobia – affects one in 75,000 people. A spokesman for The National Phobics Society said: “The phobia often affects children and the problem can persist into adulthood.
“We suggest cognitive behavioural therapy as a way to self-manage the phobia.” – thesun