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Chloe Jennings White lives her daily life in a wheelchair – despite being able to walk perfectly.

The 58-year-old Cambridge graduate and research scientist has wanted to be disabled from a young age due to a rare psychological condition known as body integrity identity disorder (BIID).

When home alone, Chloe would often make leg braces for herself, which she says ‘just felt right’.

She frequently conjures up fantasies in which she experiences an accident and loses the use of her lower half for good, and she’s even on the lookout for a surgeon willing to grant her wish of being paralysed.

‘I did find a surgeon in another country who would be prepared to do femoral and sciatic transections to paralyse my legs,’ admits Chloe. She says the $25,000 fee is the only reason she hasn’t gone through with it yet.

As a result of her BIID, Chloe suffers from intense anxieties and bouts of shaking and crying.

To combat this she took to using a wheelchair full time in 2008, which brought her some immediate relief.

Despite her desire to become disabled, Chloe loves to go skiing and wants to do it as much as possible before any future operation. She admits that her friends and family worry about her skiing because the possibility of an accident is always in the back of her mind.

She even had a car crash in 2009, a 75mph double roll over. Years later Chloe is still questioning whether any part of her did it deliberately, but she can’t be sure. All she knows is that she can’t wait for the day she loses control of her legs.

‘When I have that surgery, I just know it will be the happiest day of my life.’

 

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  • Leahbeth Williams

    Interesting way to look at it, Andrew, they are both (in simplest terms) the ‘feeling of being stuck in a different/ wrong body’ to how people feel they should be. I guess I am just looking at it from the prospective of ‘Why would somebody want to deliberately disable themselves, take away the freedom of being able to walk?’ I think there is a difference in that gender dysmorphia is something that, if somebody decides that they are stuck in the wrong gender body, there are steps that are often taken to change healthily and those that choose that route often express feelings of being ‘freed’ from the wrong body. I can see the drastic steps Chloe considers might ‘free’ her from the feeling of being in the wrong body- but it is just disabling and limiting what she can do in life, so I would think the perhaps what she needs more than anything is some therapy? It’s very difficult to put yourself in somebody’s head or body and see why or how they feel.

  • Andrew Goss

    Arguably the same could be said for people with gender dysphoria. The way I see it, these issues run a parallel (though people with BIID seem much more likely to try and suppress it through sympathy or reason). So it’s not quite as clear-cut as you’re making it out to be…

  • Leahbeth Williams

    I’ve never heard of this ‘BIID’ disorder, but I guess if it’s a verified thing Chloe is diagnosed with then she does have mental problems that need treating This still makes me kind of makes me very upset- I would love, millions upon millions around the world would to be able to walk properly again, be well and able to join in with everything. Once she found out it was in her mind- she should have sought specialist help, not buy a wheelchair for ‘immediate relief’. It’s not immediate ‘relief ‘because there is no problem with her leg, It’ll maybe bring short-term relief but it is almost like Chloe is trying to get sympathy when she goes about. Permanent relief would be see to see a psychiatrist or trained therapist to tackle the route of her real problem- BIID..