The woman who wants to be paraplegic

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Minniehaha

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The woman who wants to be paraplegic

  • on: 25 Jan 2013 09:33PM
I'd never heard of Body Integrity Identity Disorder until I read this article today:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/woman-in-wheelchair-pretends-to-be-paralysed-chloe-1553850

I'm sure it's a genuine (mental health) condition but I just don't know what to make of it other than it being utterly incomprehensible.  >erm<


auntieCtheM

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Yes,  there are some very strange conditions that people have.  I wonder if she has tried hypnotism?

ally

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Melanie Reid a real life paraplegic wrote about this in the Times.  Melanie broke her spine and neck while horse riding and is struggling to regain any movement in her limbs.  It must be very difficult for those like her accepting that some people want to be paraplegic.  While I am not in that category I do spend time in a wheelchair due to my spinal problems.  I can't fathom out why someone would be desperate to be that way.  Obviously it goes a lot further than normal obsessions.

Sunny Clouds

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I know nothing of these things but since it started in childhood and arose from something that happened to her aunt, I wonder whether she's had any therapy that addresses that relationship?  We're not told, which is a pity.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Jockice

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There was a programme on BBC2 in the mid 90s called The Wannabes about people who wanted to be disabled.  It featured a couple of blokes whose deepest desire was to have a leg amputated. I think I read in a paper a few years later that one of them actually did.

Gravity

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Chloe Jennings-White is my friend. It's been a few months since she gave The Mirror this story, we've been nervously waiting for it to come out. (Though it's by no means Chloe's most scary appearance in relation to BIID.)

I hadn't realised it had appeared yet. I'm really impressed actually by how balanced it is - many of the articles I have read have been very vicious.

It's pretty shocking, I know. And I think it mostly has to do with the concept that someone "wants to be disabled". The natural response to that is to exclaim, "what the ****?"
But obviously it is more complicated than that. It's a neurological dysfunction that means parts of the body don't map onto the brain - causing all sorts of problems.

Re: therapy/hypnotism/etc. For Chloe and the other people with BIID I have had contact with, nothing relieves BIID. Therapy helps to understand where the urges are coming from and how to deal with it, and can improve emotional health but not the BIID itself.
There is one lady who has experienced relief by using a technique called "Body Talk" which I don't really understand. Here is a website about it. She seems to be an anomaly. I'm not sure I buy it - but it helps her so that's grand.

I could go on for days, I apologise. I have been reading about and talking with people with BIID for almost five years now. It didn't take long for the shock to evaporate.

Jockice

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Put it this way - I don't think she wants to want to be disabled. It's something she's stuck with. Some of the replies to that Mirror story totally lack any empathy or humanity.

devine63

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hi

i can only imagine that this sort of condition must arise from some form of brain dysfunction, I don't believe it is as "simple" as a psychological reaction to something.  Sadly, that means there is unlikely to be a cure ...
regards, Deb

Yvette

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I use the chair more and more but continue with my active lifestyle, ditching it when I go hiking up mountains at least once a week in the summer, and when I go skiing in the winter.

Ive been told that if I continue to do both activities then Im at high risk of becoming paraplegic hence my motivation to keep doing them.


And if this woman has the accident she wants to have, what about the safety of the rescue crew who will have to rescue her and get her to hospital?   To potentially put others' lives at risk to satisfy the acheivement of her psychological condition is pure selfishness.

KizzyKazaer

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Put it this way - I don't think she wants to want to be disabled. It's something she's stuck with. Some of the replies to that Mirror story totally lack any empathy or humanity.

But isn't she already disabled?  Just not necessarily in the way she wants to be... BIID sounds like a valid mental impairment in itself.  Actually, I can see parallels between BIID and anorexia nervosa (the latter being something I am familiar with) - if you think about it, wanting to be a virtual skeleton (and starving oneself over a long period of time to achieve that) could also be deemed bizarre and a gamble with one's own health at the expense of others.  I feel sad for Chloe having to battle those self-destructive impulses, I know how compelling and all-absorbing these can be...

Jockice

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That's what I meant Kizzy. I don't think she's decided to do this just so she can get in the papers...

Dic Penderyn

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You could draw parallels with those who feel their bodies are the wrong gender and have gender modifying surgery.
People who feel they are fat and ugly and are offered barbaric surgery oh sorry I mean bariatric surgery many surgical procedures are carried out every day to satisfy the psychiatric needs of people who's bodies don't fit the patients mental picture of what it should be. Why should this be considered differently.
Be careful in what you wish for, God has a sense of humour

Sunshine Meadows

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It is interesting to read that using a wheelchair is considered a treatment and not a aid to mobility. Fair enough, but that Chloe still gets to 'walk' away, go skiing and hiking does in my opinion contradict her need to be paraplegic. I know it is not just about the ability to move but if a person stopped walking and used a wheelchair all the time then it would not take that long for muscle strength to wither and mobility to be lost.

The article says it is not a fetish but I cant help wondering if it has more to do with behaviour influencing biology than the other way round.

Quote
BIID sounds like a valid mental impairment in itself

I agree.

boccius

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I've spoken to other amputees about this.

Of course we sympathise (and indeed empathise) with anyone with mental or physical problems but living with the day-to-day struggle of having 1 leg, no legs, no arms, and so on, the general reaction is certainly of the "What the *****?" variety, as most of us would sell our souls (if we believed in them) to get our limbs back!

A

Jockice

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I think there actually are those who are jealous of disabled people though. You see them every time there is a disability-related story in the papers. They're the 'hard-working taxpayers' who can't see why we apparently get free cars, benefits for not working etc.

They're just unhappy and dissatisfied with their own lives and as they find themselves unable to do anything about that decide to take it out on the easiest available scapegoat. If they had to be me I'd give them a week before they had nervous breakdowns.