'I made myself blind with drain cleaner because I wanted to be disabled'

Woman has rare psychological disorder

I Made Myself Blind: Living With BIID

For most people becoming blind would be a living nightmare - but for Jewel Shuping it was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.

Jewel, 30, from North Carolina, has Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), a condition in which able-bodied people believe they are meant to be disabled.

Her need to lose her sight was so strong that in 2006 she decided to blind herself - by having a sympathetic psychologist pour drain cleaner into her eyes.

She said her fascination with blindness began early in childhood: "By the time I was six I remember that thinking about being blind made me feel comfortable."

As a child she would spend hours staring at the sun, and in her teens she started wearing thick black sunglasses. She got her first white cane aged 18 and became fluent in braille aged of 20.

Hospital tried to save her vision

Jewel eventually found a psychologist willing to help her become blind. The psychologist put in numbing eyedrops - acquired by Jewel during a special visit to Canada - and then a couple of drops of drain cleaner in each eye.

Despite the hospital's attempts to save her vision - against her wishes - they were permanently damaged, although it took around half a year for the damage to take affect.

Jewel originally told her family it had been an accident, but they eventually found out the truth - causing both her mother and sister to cut contact.

However, she has been supported by her former fiancé Mike, 50, who is registered legally blind - although in his case due to naturally occurring early-onset macular degeneration.

"I really feel this is the way I was supposed to be born, that I should have been blind from birth," she said. "When there's nobody around you who feels the same way, you start to think that you're crazy. But I don't think I'm crazy, I just have a disorder."

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