'I made my­self blind with drain cleaner ' ...Jewel, 30 says she just wanted to be dis­abled

Daily Trust - - DIGEST -

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 able­bod­ied 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 braille at the aged of 20.

Hospi­tal tried to save her vi­sion

Jewel even­tu­ally found a psy­chol­o­gist will­ing to help her be­come blind. The

in 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.



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 ef­fect.

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 ear­lyon­set 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.”

Read­ing be­tween the lines: Jewel taught her­self to be fully flu­ent in Braille by the age of 20

Jewel Shup­ing’s de­sire to be­come blind was ful­filled by ar­rang­ing to have drain cleaner poured into her eyes

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