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Paraplegic obsessed

The Sun
Friday, February 01, 2013

A WOMAN repeatedly tried to break her own back in a desperate bid to become paralysed.

Chloe Jennings-White, 57, suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) - a condition that means she wants to be paralysed from the waist down.

Chloe's obsession started aged nine when she tried to copy her paraplegic aunt.

One bid to paralyse herself saw her trying to crash her bike to break her own back.

Chloe, a research scientist in psychiatry who is originally from London but now lives with partner Danielle in West Bountiful, Utah, said: "I didn't really know what I was doing. But I had an overwhelming urge to be paraplegic like my aunt. I didn't know there was anything wrong with that.

"I rode my bike off a tall wooden stage I'd set up in a park. It resulted in some cuts and bruises, but nothing more serious than that.

"I landed on my neck with the full force of the bicycle on top of me. It was at that point that I realised I was just as likely to break my neck as I was to break my back and end up quadriplegic - totally paralysed - which I did not want."

Chloe, who later took to wearing leg and back braces, was diagnosed in 2008 and doctors suggested using a wheelchair to stop her trying to hurt herself.

Now Chloe chooses to live her life on four wheels - pretending she is paralysed.

She revealed: "Being able to use a wheelchair is a massive relief, and the closest I will probably ever come to being paraplegic.

"BIID is a serious condition and for years I had no idea what was wrong with me.

"Now, finally, I know I'm not alone and using a wheelchair helps curb my desire to break my own back, so it has probably saved my life."

Chloe, who also volunteered for a research programme into the condition, told the Daily Mirror: "It was a relief to finally have a diagnosis but I was still sceptical. I worried what people would think but I agreed to give it a try.

"The chair arrived by courier while I was at work and Danielle had assembled it for me as a surprise when I came home. It was the closest I'd ever been to being paraplegic, and the happiest I'd felt in a long time.

"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 I the summer, and when I go skiing in the winter. I've been told that if I continue to do both activities then I'm at high risk of becoming paraplegic - hence my motivation to keep doing them."

Danielle also told of facing a backlash from people who don't understand her condition.

She said: "I've had angry comment from people dubbing me a fake. But I suffer with a genuine condition.

"Even now I still fantasise about being in a car crash or when I'm hiking near a cliff edge friends have to lead me away from temptation.

"I may not be paralysed but I'm no fraud. I may have chosen the wheelchair - but it's saved my life."