The Huffington Post David Moye First Posted: 07/19/13 EDT Updated: 07/22/13 EDT
At first glance, Chloe Jennings-White seems to be living a dream life.
The 58-year-old research scientist has a beautiful home in West Bountiful, Utah, a Ph.D in Chemistry and degrees from Cambridge and Stanford Universities. She enjoys skiing and is happily married.
However, Jennings-White wants something she does not yet have. She wants to be permanently paralyzed.
Jennings-White suffers from "Body Integrity Identity Disorder" (BIID), a psychological condition where sufferers do not accept one of their own limbs and seek to amputate them or become paraplegic.
"When I'm in the wheelchair I'm not even thinking about the wheelchair. it's just normal for me, but anytime I'm walking it's always in my mind, sometimes dominating my mind, that this is not the way it's supposed to be," Jennings-White told ABC4.com.
Jennings-White said she was 4 when she first consciously decided that nature made a mistake by giving her working legs. She was jealous of disabled kids and envious of an aunt who needed leg braces after a bike accident.
When she was 9, Jennings-White tried to paralyze herself by riding her bike off a stage, but just ended up with scrapes, and bruises.
But the real pain came from wondering why she was the way she was.
"I didn't know that there were other people like this until about a decade ago...nobody would make this up. That would be nuts," she told KUTV-TV.
When she skis, Jennings-White pushes herself to the limit, going down the most dangerous runs, with the thought that at any moment, she might have that permanently disabling injury she dreams of having.
"Doing any activity that brings a chance of me becoming paraplegic gives me a sense of relief from the anxiety caused by the BIID," she said, according to HuffPost UK.
Barring serious injury, Jennings-White's only hope of permanent loss of her lower limbs is if she gets surgery estimated at $25,000.
She said there is a doctor overseas who is willing to cut her sciatic and femoral nerves so that her legs no longer work, but she admits that's a pipe dream.
"I'll never be able to afford it, but I know I won't regret it if I ever can, and I don't know why it upsets people," she said, according to News.com.au. "It's the same as a transsexual man having his penis cut off. It's never coming back, but they know it's what they want."
Jennings-White does get some support from her wife, Danielle Saint-Marie, 44.
Early in their marriage, she let Jennings-White pretend to be paraplegic at home, even though it meant she was stuck with all the housework.
"Part of her wished I wasn't in the wheelchair, but she knew it was the only thing that helped, so she played along," Jennings-White told The Sun.
Dr. Mark Malan, who treats Jennings-White, said, in the future, people with BIID might be able to selectively remove the use of their limbs for short periods of time.
"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," he said, according to the Express.
"It would give BIID sufferers a chance to change their minds if they wanted to."