“I poured drain cleaner in my eyes to blind myself”

*** EXCLUSIVE *** RALEIGH, NC - AUGUST 12: Jewel Shuping at the park on August 12, 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina. 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, USA, 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. As a young child she would spend hours staring at the sun in a bid to damage her eyes, acquiring her first white cane aged 18 and becoming fully fluent in braille by the age of 20. Tired of being secretive due to the stigma surrounding the condition, Jewel is now sharing her story to help raise public awareness of BIID and to encourage people with the condition to seek professional help. PHOTOGRAPH BY Ruaridh Connellan / Barcroft Media UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com

For most people, going blind is their worst nightmare, but for this North Carolina woman it was a dream come true.

Jewel Shuping, 30, was so desperate to be blind that she poured draining cleaner in her baby blues to wipe out her eyesight — and she couldn’t be happier.

She suffers from an illness called body integrity identity disorder (BIID) — a disease that causes able-bodied people to strongly desire a disability.

“I really feel this is the way I was supposed to be born, that I should have been blind from birth,” Shuping told Barcroft Media.

The afflicted woman knew from a young age she wanted to be blind, and would attempt to harm her eyesight by staring at the sun while “blind-simming,” or pretending to be blind.

By the time Shuping turned 21, the idea of being blind was “a non-stop alarm that was going off” and she sought the help of a sympathetic psychologist to help her carry out her ultimate desire in 2006.

The psychologist gave her eye-numbing drops before sprinkling a few droplets of drain cleaner into each pupil.

“It hurt, let me tell you. My eyes were screaming and I had some drain cleaner going down my cheek burning my skin,” she said.

“But all I could think was, ‘I am going blind, it is going to be okay.”

Dr. Michael First, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, says that people who suffer from BIID can’t control their need to be disabled.

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