Odd things, daily.
Sean O’Conner suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), a psychological disorder that fills able-bodied people with a desire to be disabled. I have to admit, I’ve often thought about this myself, but it has more to do with amazing car parks and spacious toilets, rather than an actual need. O’Conner describes it as being “transabled”. He explains:
“I need to be paralysed. It’s an intense longing… in a nutshell, someone who is transabled ‘wants’ to be disabled. But it is not so much a ‘want’ as much as a ‘need’. Our ‘desire’ is more a reflection of the fact that our self-image is that of a paraplegic (or amputee, or blind, or any number of other disabilities) than that of an able bodied man or woman.”
O’Conner’s disorder began at an early age.
“When I was a kid, on long drives, I’d be sitting in the back seat of the car, looking at the scenery and imagining that my legs were paralysed. At the time, I didn’t understand ‘paralysis’. I thought it meant that the legs couldn’t move, that they were stuck in one position, like wooden sticks coming out of one’s body. And so I sat in the car, making my legs rigid… for hours on end.”
O’Conner feels more comfortable in a wheelchair than he does walking, but admits suffering from BIID can be torture.
“Living as a paraplegic is hard. I’d venture to say that it’s actually harder to NOT be a para and live as one than it would be to actually be a paraplegic, because not only do you have all the logistics and difficulties of living from a wheelchair, but you also have all the problems of leading a double life and having no real logistical support for your wheeling.”
Special thanks to Matt O’Neill who sent me this story.