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Man attempts to paralyze himself

Posted on Tuesday, 4 June, 2013 | Comment icon 22 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: CC 2.0 Colin Mutchler

Sean O'Connor suffers from a rare disorder that leads him to believe his limbs do not belong to his body.

The first symptoms of the illness arose when he was around 4 or 5 years old and lead to the sensation that his limbs were somehow disconnected from his body and that he should be paralyzed. Known as 'body integrity identity disorder' (BIID), the condition was first reported in the 18th century when a French surgeon was held at gunpoint by a man who demanded that he remove his leg.

"I have attempted to break my back, but I missed. I need to be paraplegic, paralysed from the waist down," said O'Connor. "I don't hate my limbs they just feel wrong. "I'm aware that they are as nature designed them to be, but there is an intense discomfort at being able to feel my legs and move them."

"Sean O'Connor is a very rational man. But he also tried, unsuccessfully, to sever his spine, and still feels a need to be paralysed."

  View: Full article |  Source: New Scientist

  Discuss: View comments (22)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by Rlyeh on 7 June, 2013, 7:40
I would be if I was the one perpetuating a myth.
Comment icon #14 Posted by shrooma on 14 June, 2013, 9:05
couldn't hypnosis be of some value in these kind of cases?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Darkwind on 14 June, 2013, 16:06
Sorry, but I have learned more about the brain than I ever wanted to know. We use all of for silly mundane things like breathing, digestion, walking, seeing, etc. I have proof I have one too. I get an MRI every year, so I have pictures. I don't understand them, being in a wheelchair is super inconvenient, I have first hand experience. I hope I never have to go through that again.
Comment icon #16 Posted by trish1997 on 14 June, 2013, 19:12
Yeah I saw her too.. What a idiot
Comment icon #17 Posted by little_dreamer on 15 June, 2013, 12:21
It almost reminds me of Munchausen syndrome, except that they literally give themselves a disability instead of just faking it. An extreme version of this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchausen_syndrome
Comment icon #18 Posted by Seeker79 on 15 June, 2013, 14:07
Sorry got to jump in on this one... The statement is really about how much you are concious of... Indeed all of the brain is being used but you are only concious of a small fraction of what is going on... Probably less than 10%. This is the context of what people mean when they are saying this. Indeed if we were conciousnes and in control of much more of our subconscious we would be capable of tremendous things. Anyway that's a better answer than google educated parroting dont you think?
Comment icon #19 Posted by Rlyeh on 16 June, 2013, 15:54
Why would someone be conscious of non-conscious brain functions? You obviously haven't thought out your answer very well. A better answer would be one that is right
Comment icon #20 Posted by Black Red Devil on 19 June, 2013, 6:36
I bet there aren't any insurance companies offering this guy a policy.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Cryptid_Control on 17 July, 2013, 21:03
Wow I didn't know this was an actually disorder but I kind of have episodes of this. I mean I wouldn't go sever my spine because of it but every once in a while I'll get this really uncomfortable feeling where I'm like hyper aware of my body and limbs and it's just terrible, I feel like they shouldn't be there or something. But it doesn't happen too often and only for like a minute then the feeling goes away.

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