Woman 'Pretends To Be Disabled' Due To Rare Condition Body Integrity Identity Disorder (PICTURES, VIDEO)

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The first time Chloe-Jennings White sat down in her new wheelchair, she was thrilled. After years of suffering, she could enjoy moving around the way she wanted to - without using her legs.

But shockingly, 58-year-old Chloe's legs work fine and her body is in perfect health, and she doesn’t need the wheelchair or leg braces at all.

Chloe, from Utah, chooses to live as a disabled person, due to rare condition called Body Integrity Identity Disorder, or BIID.

chloejennings white

Chloe-Jennings White

BIID is a disorder where sufferers do not accept one of their own limb or limbs and seek to amputate them or become paraplegic.

Some experts believe it is caused by a neurological fault, in which the brain's mapping system cannot see a certain body part.

Chloe, a Cambridge University educated research scientist, believes both of her legs do not belong to her, and dreams of being paralysed from the waist down.

For years she bandaged herself secretly, but now lives openly with her condition, despite facing intolerance, insults, and sometimes online threats.

chloejennings white

Chloe first realised she was different at the age of four, after visiting her Aunt Olive, who was using leg braces after a bike accident.

"I wanted them too," said Chloe. "I wondered why I wasn't born needing them and felt something was wrong with me because I didn't have them."

At the age of nine, Chloe even took action, and pedalled her bike off a four-foot high acting stage on Hampstead Heath, landing on her neck.

"I only wanted to stop my legs working but could have broken my neck or died," she said.

From then on, Chloe lived out her fantasy in secret, pretending to be disabled when alone, playing risky sports and climbing trees in the hope of hurting her legs.

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Now, as an adult, Chloe enjoys the excitement of downhill skiing and the possibility she might fall and suffer serious leg fractures.

"I ski extremely fast, and aim for the most dangerous runs," she said.

"Doing any activity that brings a chance of me becoming paraplegic gives me a sense of relief from the anxiety caused by the BIID."

In 2006, Chloe had a skiing accident, which left her with a minor back injury and a reason to get leg braces.

While researching the braces online, Chloe read about BIID for the first time and found out there were others like her.

"It was a huge relief," said Chloe. "I wasn't a freak - there were hundreds of others like me."

Chloe-Jennings White And Her Body Integrity Identity Disorder
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Chloe took part in a BIID research study with psychiatrist Michael First, from New York, who diagnosed her in Spring 2008, recommending a wheelchair.

At first, she used the chair in private, but eventually gained the courage to reveal her secret to friends and work colleagues.

"The chair gives me psychological relief, instead of physical, " she added. "I know it can be difficult for people without BIID to understand, but it's what we feel."

Now, Chloe spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has to get out for various household tasks and to walk down the steps to her car.

"Most paraplegics can actually stand for short periods if they have to, so I justify getting out of it like that to myself.

"I can't afford to convert my home for disabled access so I just use the chair as much as I can," she said.

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Chloe admits she sometimes fantasises about ways of having a car crash so that she can damage her legs, without hurting anyone else.

"Any time when I'm driving I sort of conjure up accident scenarios in my mind where I will become paraplegic," she admitted.

In 2009 she was involved in a serious 75mph car crash and suffered pre-concussion amnesia so cannot remember the 15 minutes before the impact.

Police reports seem to show it was not a deliberate act, but Chloe sometimes worries she might have subconsciously wanted it to happen.

In 2010, Chloe found a doctor overseas who would be willing to help her become disabled by cutting her sciatic and femoral nerves, but she could not afford the $25,000 costs.

"I might never be able to afford it, but I know, truly and deeply, I won't regret it if I ever can," she said.

"Something in my brain tells me my legs are not supposed to work. Having any sensation in them just feels wrong."

Chloe writes for the BIID support group www.transabled.org and believes it is important to raise awareness about the condition.

Psychiatriast Dr Mark Malan, who treats Chloe, said: "The question I often ask is, is it better to have somebody pretending to use a wheelchair, or to commit suicide?

"One possibility could be to do some sort of nerve blocking so that that limb could not actually be used for a period of time, to let the patient test the reality of being physically disabled temporarily.

"It would give BIID sufferers a chance to change their minds if they wanted to."

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