Woman Wants To Be Permanently Paralysed: Body Integrity Identity Disorder

COMM: Chloe Jennings White spends he days confined to a wheelchair. It’s tough to get
around and she struggles with living in the world that isn’t built for the disabled. However
Chloe is actually able to walk perfectly, and chooses to live her life like a paraplegic,
due to a rare psychological disorder called BIID. 00:22
COMM: Despite wishing she was paralysed Chloe still takes part in extreme sports like skiing. 00:27
COOM: BIID has led Chloe, a Cambridge University educated research scientist, to harm herself
in a bid to become paraplegic for real. 00:36
Chloe: I have fantasies about having a car wreck, and becoming paraplegic from a car
wreck. 00:42
COMM: Perhaps most shockingly of all, London born Chloe is on a quest to find a surgeon
willing to operate in order to paralyse her legs forever. 00:50
Chloe: I did find a surgeon in another country who would be prepared to do femoral and sciatic
nerve transections to paralyse my legs. It would be at least twenty five thousand dollars,
and I don’t have the money to do it. That’s basically the only reason that I’ve not yet
had surgery. 01:15
COMM: For her whole life Chloe has wished more than anything that she was disabled. 01:20
Chloe: From about ten years old I somehow got the idea to bandage my legs when I was
home alone so nobody would know what I was doing, I sort of fabricated a leg brace so
that I couldn’t bend my knee and walking around like that felt “Oh wow, this is how it’s supposed
to be.” 01:41
COMM: Chloe struggled to cope with her feelings. 01:44
Chloe: For a long time I had no idea why I felt this way about my legs. 01:51
COMM: Chloe began to get real relief from her condition when she started using the wheelchair
full time in 2008. 01:58
Chloe: When you have BIID, the stress is really intense. The first few friends I told I would
literally be shaking or, and crying even with emotion. I was not really living a normal
life before that, it was always in my mind, like, “I’m supposed to be paralysed!” 02:18
COMM: But while Chloe pursues her quest to have surgery that will leave her paraplegic,
she loves taking part in her favourite past time, downhill skiing. 02:27
Chloe: Skiing is essential to me and it has a lot of benefits for me in terms of BIID.
I ski very aggressively, if it’s a groomed run I will absolutely go as fast as I can.
My friends and family can get a little worried about me skiing sometimes because they know,
they know that I ski very aggressively, and y’know, they know it’s in the back of my mind
that I actually want to get injured. 03:02
COMM: To deal with the anxiety BIID causes her, Chloe sees psychotherapist, Dr. Mark
Malan as often as she can. 03:09
Chloe: The problem that I run into is that people make up these fantasies about BIID,
it;s like they say, “Oh well, you’re doing it to get disability benefits, you’re doing
it to get attention” and then you say “No, that’s not it” and they’ll come up with another
fantasy of theirs. 03:29
Dr. Malan: So it sounds like, just misunderstanding that a lot of what you’re having to do is
educate people about it. 03:35
Chloe: Oh education yeah. 03:37
COMM: Dr. Malan says BIID is actually very real. 03:40
Dr. Malan: It’s a psychological disorder that people have, where they desire to have some
sort of body modification, but it’s a sense that a person really wants to lose some sort
of ability that they have. 03:57
COMM: And like other BIID sufferers, Chloe’s illness has worrying symptoms.
04:01 Chloe: I have to admit any time I’m driving
I sort of conjure up accident scenarios in my mind where I would become paraplegic. 04:12
COMM: In 2009, Chloe really did crash, surviving a horrific seventy five mile per hour double
roll over. 04:19
Chloe: One of the things that was in my mind, after the car wreck was dId I do this deliberately
in order to um, y’know, be paraplegic? 04:33
Chloe: I couldn’t say for sure at that time that I had not done it deliberately because
I simply had no memory of, that. 04:44
COMM: Chloe’s attempts to injure her legs mean many of her friends and loved ones worry
about her. Like Dave Allen, a hiking buddy. 04:51
Dave: It’s scary for all of her friends y’know, including myself that y’know if she does,
y’know, she runs a huge risk that she could die doing some of the stuff she’s done in
the past 05:00
COMM: Despite her love of skiing and the challenges of confined to a wheelchair, Chloe is still
determined to have surgery that will render her paralysed. 05:09
Chloe: When I have that surgery I just know, it will be the happiest day of my life.



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