One Hand Jason Interview Posted

I have a lot of great interviews in the queue right now, from mild to wild, but I’m absolutely thrilled with the one that’s going up today, One Hand Jason, an interview which discusses Jason’s decision to amputate one of his hands in order to deal with what he had always perceived as a devastating birth defect — that is, being two-handed. Click through to read it now, and come on back here to comment (but please, read it before commenting).

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

131 thoughts on “One Hand Jason Interview Posted

  1. i no shannon said come back to comment, but just had to put one up cuz im 1st, woop woop *pulls childish face*
    love the look of his arm/missing hand tho, very intresting

  2. oky, now iv read it, and its very interesting, i wonder how amp’s who have lost ther limbs etc non voluntarily feel about some one like jason who has amp’d and then pretended to go thru the pain and emotion that they would have to go thru for real??? id be interested to hear from any one who is a non voluntary amp, and hear ther feelings on this extreme ‘body correction’ mod

  3. A very well done interview. I greatly respect the responsibility he feels upon sharing his story, making sure it doesn’t come across as an extreme mod but rather as a self-chosen therapeutical intervention. Thanks for posting this!

  4. He is a losser just like shannon an rohha anat has to make up false lies and cant sty 1 thand behind a truthfull action is a BIg L losser

  5. that was very interesting to read. He certainly understands his situation and how that would impact on other peoples lives, and although it must be hard for him to be not able to tell people the real reason why hes done it, i guess you just have to realise that there are bigger things than yourself such as the feelings of people you love. Anyway i think he has great attitude towards life and i completely respect his choice.

  6. Ok, I guess that at some point of his past life – for those who believe – he didn´t have that hand too, and being born in this life with that hand, while his spirit was already used to ‘live’ without it, was disturbing him. That´s the only explanation that comes to my mind…

  7. I really enjoyed that interview. Rather than losing himself in philosophy and ideas, or trying to push an agenda, he did better explaining what it’s REALLY like.

  8. That is a really well done article. He does a really good job of answering the questions put to him in a very thorough way leaving very little room for misunderstanding. I personally wouldn’t have thought an amputation would normalize someone, but his explanation made sense. Thanks for sharing!

  9. What a groovy dude!

    Seriously though, great story, and I’m glad he feels right now :) Really reminds me of stories I’ve read about trans people. I hope one day in the future people in general will be more accepting of such things.

  10. It’s very well done and one can sense what a mature and sure of his choices Jason is. His juxtaposition of more “standard” body modification and his amputation is very interesting, too.
    His amputation really comes across as an obvious, natural thing to do.

    I’m really curious what else Shannon has in store for us!

  11. I immensely enjoyed reading that interview – I’m really glad I took the time to do it before work so I’ll have some food for thought for the day.

    And I have to say, he is very brave to go through something so tough (and incredibly painful, I’m sure) as losing a hand – and to think I have trouble sitting for scarification!!

  12. I really like this article and I respect Jason’s choice, but I can’t help but draw a parallel to similar feeling I’ve had about my body. I was anorexic for much of my teens and early twenties, so I know what it is to feel that a “normal” part of your body is really a defect (in my case, fat). I’ve been in counseling and have been “cured” of these feelings and I feel much better about myself. I know that starving yourself can lead to death, while amputation does not, and I’ll never totally be rid of my negative feelings about my body, so in a way I’m very envious of Jason. I just wonder about the question of “where to draw the line” when it comes to feeling a part of you is wrong.

  13. outstanding interview, very interesting indeed. Im gld taht he went through what he did to make him happy, d im glad that he thought it through too instead of hacking it off for the wrong reason. but sadly some people just dont understand, i really hope there arent going to be a barrage f hateful and spiteful comments

  14. I cannot fully understand how he felt about his one hand to much, but his determination leaves me with no doubt that for him, amputation was the thing to do. What I really like is how he explains the difference between BIID body correction and body modification. Fascinating.

  15. i have so much respect for that guy and his drive.
    in some ways i know how he feels, too; i’ve always felt that i’m not one with my body, if that makes any sort of sense. not much i can do about that, though. (:

  16. Lily – You raise a very interesting point, but I’d argue that yours is different, because yours is a manifestation of and response to experiences in your teens, rather than something that you experienced from early childhood or perhaps even birth?

  17. I guess my take is that this is sorta similar to all the anorexic people out there. Thinking you shouldn’t have two hands is a strange delusion, just like thinking you look good when you’re emaciated. Some people struggle with anorexia their whole lives and fight it off, and others just decide to give in and go with it. Of course you can still live with only one hand, and being dangerously underweight can kill you, but the basic drives sound kinda similar.

  18. lily- i think the line is where your truely hurting others nd yourself, in this case, he helped get peace of mind as before he was spirling and effected his relationship and his mentality, as for anorexia, it can hurt a lot f people becuse they might know you have omehing wrong but cant do nything about it, or your death could be a huge blow to your fmily, friends and well ofourse yourself too, but thts just my opinion im not saying its completly true

  19. that was interesting. i wonder what causes people to feel they need to amputate a limb to feel normal? i saw a nip/tuck episode that had a man who suffered from BIID and wanted to cut off his leg. i didn’t think it was a real disorder till reading this interview

  20. Laura – Not only is it a real disorder, but I believe its sinze and how common it is for someone to actually go through with it is vastly underestimated.

  21. Lily’s point is very valid. There are strong similarities between anorexia and BIID from a psychological perspective.

    I believe Sean O’Connor said himself that BIID sufferers (i.e. it is a medical condition that causes suffering) should always consult the medical profession first.

    Self harm used to make me happy too.

  22. #16 Lily – I think it’s an interesting question, particularly given that Jason himself mentions that those with BIID (at least in his experience) would do anything to prevent someone from talking them out of wanting to get rid of their chosen body part.

    If they were truly talked out of it, then you’d think they would be happy (to be rid of the BIID, and liking having the part now) but I guess the underlying thought is, they don’t think they truly can be, they would return to wanting that part gone.

    Just one of those (sort of threadjack, I guess) philosophical things, what if there’s something you definitely don’t want, but a future self afterward might? All wrapped up in identity too (what if you could be someone else, you’d lose who are now, but were guaranteed that the new you would be happier and never miss your current you?).

    #3 Dredloks – Surely that’s part of the reluctance to “tell,” particularly after everyone worried. I definitely sympathize with him on that one, I don’t know if I could ever tell, in that situation. An earlier profile here of someone missing a leg and other parts, some voluntarily, he mentioned he didn’t “tell” either. I can easily imagine people getting mad and saying he abused their sympathy, etc, even if it wasn’t a money thing.

    I do wonder – was he left handed before? Given that he felt the right hand was alien?

  23. wow! thats one hell of a story. really happy for jason that he is finally happy with his look. however this interview didn’t satisfy my interest in how he was preparing for that and the surgery itself. would have been great if there were any pictures or even a video.

  24. Also – there’s BIID that doesn’t involve limbs but rather other handicaps. If you google on “transabled” one of the first links is a collaborative blog about it, some of the authors wish to be paralyzed (but with all limbs intact), some people apparently wear blind contacts, etc.

    (Found that link from last go-round of voluntary amputation threads, which led to some fascinating reading. Truly interesting stuff to be found here!)

  25. This is a community on the outside of conventionalism but do you really think a person should do something like this. A person with body dismorfic disorder who repeatedly get cosmetic surgery to look better only to come out like a monster in the end sometimes incuring serious harm is not better of taking acting because they think they want it. A mental disorder should be treated by a doctor who doesn’t use a knife. Occasional maybe a person must do what makes them feel better but the line should be recognized.

  26. i think that people with true BIID like jason are extremely interesting. they are just like all the people who use body modification to transorm thier body into something that they see themselves as truly being. body modification makes us happy as does amputation for all the people that do such. i think jason is very brave for coming out and giving the interview to shannon. i wish him the best and hope to hear more from him.

  27. I think BIID is not talked about enough, hopefully if Jason’s words go some way to re-address the stigma and fear of psyciatric withdrawl that sufferers encounter then at least, for some, the veil might be lifted and a half-life may be whole.

  28. The body modification community has NO interest in BIID sufferers obtaining permanent psychological cures for their condition, rather it ‘needs’ them to fulfil their limb removal.

    There is something VERY VERY wrong here and it is being overlooked in favour of a good story and interesting pictures.

    Leeho is right in that psychological anomalies should never be addressed by surgical procedures, they simply sort out the symptoms rather than address the causes.

  29. That’s a really great interview. You asked all the right questions and the person you interviewed was as candid as he could be while remaining anonymous. It was really informative and enlightening.

  30. I don’t know if I can form an opinion on how I think of people amputating limbs voluntarily. I myself would have to do a lot more research before I get into what people with this disorder think of themselves before I can draw any judgement. If I draw any judgement. Though I can say for certain this was a great and enlightening interview. Thanks Shannon!

  31. Giles – So far the only cure for BIID of this type is surgically addressing the perceived defect. It is the only cure that has consistently removed the mental stress from people’s lives.

    The question is, is a life full of mental anguish leading to general social instability, drug use, weight problems, and deep unhappiness BETTER than being happy, stable, but without a hand? Many people, Jason included, would argue no.

  32. Shannon – There have been many cases of BIID sufferers being cured of their illness through psychiatry and self help. Surgery isn’t the only way, just as it isn’t for those with other body identity disorders such as bulimia,

    Psychiatry looks at the root causes of the problem and attempts to ‘normalise’ the thinking behind the problem rather than simply allowing the sufferer to act on the symptoms.

    Did ‘Jason’ look at the possibility that he suffered with a monothematic delusion at all ? Has he been to specialist psychiatrists that deal with body dysmorphic disorders at all?

    Just because he was happy at the time of the interview does not mean he will never regret his decision, at least psychiatry gives him the option of both hands in the long term. This ‘cure’ by removal does not allow for the idea that BIID can be dealt with completely through corrective psychiatry, it simply offers a quick satisfying solution.

    Psychiatry also means he never has to lie to the people he loves.

  33. Ok, you guys know that I turn a somewhat jaundiced eye toward potentially debilitating mods. I did do a little outside reading, though. This article for a philosophy journal puts things in an interesting light and approaches the question from the ethical standpoint of surgeons faced with removing limbs in BIID sufferers. I would much rather see a more formal approach to things as is done with Gender Identity Disorder rather than people with this condition be faced with staging their own accidents.

  34. First off body-integrity-disorder BIID? Then why the extra I? where did it come from? oooh… You forgot Identity, which was a good Movie by the way. No body Cut off their Limbs though so… maybe not your flick.

    Raised a lotta money? What the hell does that mean? You had people raise money for you, based on this Lie… wow.

    So if you can sort of sense your fingers and imagine them moving, then when did you feel it wasn’t right to be there? Something Missing.. and not anymore.. I’m an Artist… this is just… Not Smart. Blurt out Stump? and Hook? is that even possible? honey pass me the Stump.. I mean Salt.. Seriously.

    “I super feel like this “having a spare limb” is a definite body deformity, which needs to be cured by surgery to allow the BIID person to lead a normal life.”

    But your not living a normal life, your just getting off living with this secret, your afraid to come out because people will lose respect for you, Not like a man losing respect for a gay son… no.. but people felt sorry for you, cried I’m sure, prayed and raised money?

    Spare limbs a body deformity? wow… Ignorant, This is like Ana and Mia but when a girl vomits people help her understand that living like that isn’t good for her not support her Drastic delusional thoughts of Fat that isn’t there… Just like the guy who cut his penis off and Regrets it, this seems like a new fad… at one time young girls became Wiccan, Bi & Vegan.. Not because of real interest but commercial.

    Boys kissing Boys and Gay was in.. Come DECORATE MY HOUSE! Making it seem all Homosexual Men do Interior Design. People Stretch things and join groups, Tattoo things and join “Tribes” or “Gangs” and this is no Different.. just another wave or new things to do…

    I know life is boring and at any moment you can even question why… or whats the point of this all, but getting so bored you get a wacky tattoo is one thing, putting your family and friends through worry and pain for your Fantasy (thing to fit in) it’s really not disturbing… not shocking or anything to me but really Sad and just reading your words I see you’re Irrational.

    eh whatever… Be mad at me, I’ll just go attempt to play the Sax, I don’t know how, but I can TRY.

  35. Giles – This is the first in a series of amputation interviews… Another person actually mentions that they wished they’d gotten psychiatric counseling, not so much because they are worried they made the wrong decision, but specifically so they could talk to their friends and family about it.

  36. Link not working Dr Mod ?

    There are a couple of other links that I will sort out of people who had BIID who (after therapy) still had BIID but no longer felt such overwhelming desires to amputee themselves.

    In all cases the therapy bought out underlying issues that often failed to be properly addressed as the BIID consumed them. It also showed how those with BIID often had no desire to ‘cure’ it rather satiate it and gave the impression that it almost defined them.

  37. I really enjoyed the interview. Throughout the article I kept thinking about how unfair it is that someone like Jason would have to hide their reasons for amputating a body part from a society that accepts breast implants, nose jobs, liposuction, hair-dying, and wearing makeup but would judge him for wanting to change the body he was born into. Wanting to change your arm is not ok but wanting to change your nose is? Its a huge double-standard in my opinion.

  38. Shannon-

    Is BIID a neurological disorder or a psychological disorder? I wonder if there could be a medicated fix for those not wanting to pursue the DIY surgical procedure? Are there any statistics for those suffering from BIID?

    Congratulations to ‘Jason’ for his brave feat, and thanks to Shannon for another fantastic, discussion-provoking interview.

  39. I think keeping it a secret is a little out there, I mean, I understand why he did it, and respect the guts it took to go through with that, but I think he should at least tell his loved ones. Unless, I suppose, they’re that type of family that would shun him for his actions, in which case your secret is safe with all of us!

  40. Mike – That’s an interesting question; I’m guessing psychological but now that you mention it, maybe it is a “wiring” issue.

  41. #42 moddoctor – The link isn’t working for me either.

    #40 Giles – It’s interesting, in light of the quote from the original interview where Jason says:

    “Other voluntary amps I’ve talked to are the same. We would do anything to avoid being “talked out of” or “cured” of our need to lose that part.”

    almost as if wanting the image and reality to coincide, but only in the one direction, perhaps not thinking it could ever go the other way? Anyway for me that’s a quite intriguing part of the article.

    As for the differences between BIID and GID, and some of the issues with encountering disabled (by accident or birth, etc) people who are very turned off by “wannabes” and the BIID discussions, there is an interesting post by a self-identified person with BIID from (link pops) that bears thinking about, relevant to the image of “disability” or really what it means to want to voluntarily join any “disadvantaged” group.

    I look forward to the other interviews here as well.

  42. A very well put together interview, I enjoyed

    I have often wondered about the voluntary amp community, the motivation behind the correction and it was nice to hear a first hand account instead of the usual scientific/medical/philosophical reasoning behind BIID

    thank you for shariong this Jason and thank you for bringing it to us Shannon :)

    oh, and #5…learn to spell you fool

  43. akibare – I read the “not wanting to be cured” part part as just being quite certain of the identity, in the same way as a homosexual would in general fight hard not to be “cured”, if a “cure” for homosexuality were made available.

  44. i dunno, there are a lot of times where we are proud of something, but dont want to risk scrutiny for it, for fear that others will indeed get the wrong view of it. is it wrong i dont know, is it normal to do, deffinitly. im sure everyone hs done it atleast once, and im sure he didnt ask people to raise money for it. im sure he does wish t tell people but im also sure that he loves his family friends and lover too much to fear rejection an disownment for revealing the truth. probably not the best way to go about it, but its done and over, water under the bridge and hes living life so no matter what anyone cries whistles and whines about, theres nothing you can do bout it, let it be

  45. I usually try to be very open minded but I was disgusted by this interview. The people around him gave him their love and support and raised money based on a lie. He took the “easy way” out and did what would feel good to him right then and there instead of taking the hard road and actually working on his mental disorder. Just because he is happy with his decision now doesn’t mean he always will be.

  46. #Akibare – You are right, the desire to NOT be cured appears to be very strong, to the point where seeking a cure almost appears not to feature in many BIID lives at all.

    One of the problems this causes too is that obtaining impartial information on successful ‘therapy’ cases takes a lot of searching. The main information on BIID comes from a small group who it appears have been let down by psychiatric methods. However delving deeper (during the last discussion) uncovered several very real examples of people who undertook therapy because of their condition and whilst not cured they certainly attained a more relaxed approach to their condition.

  47. That’s really beautiful that he found happiness in a simple procedure.

    We really need to get the medical community to offer this service, though. Doing it yourself is VERY dangerous.

  48. Up until now I didn’t even know there was a clinical term for the want of amputation, it is a big relief for me to hear that it’s been studied and accepted as something “real” in the medical world. I hope Jason will be free someday and feel safe enough to talk about his secret. All my luck to you.

  49. Ames – The people around him made that decision and there wasn’t anything reasonable that he could do about it that wouldn’t cause them a great deal of pain. Society’s difficulty in dealing with this issue — not his difficulty — force people to keep it in the closet. This is why we talked a bit about the guilt issues surrounding this. I also think it’s a little silly to call this “the easy way”.

    Giles – Hypothetical question — if a cure for “wanting piercings” were offered, would you take it? Alternately, if you were gay, would you accept a “cure”? Both of these cures would of course statistically improve your life on many levels by keeping you away from behavior that’s “damaging”.

    I think it’s difficult for people to accept the idea that they need to be cured of who they genuinely believe they are. I understand the argument that sometimes people believe they are things that are not fundamentally best for them, but that doesn’t change the subjective reality for them.

  50. I met a girl in the 7th grade who became one of my best friends. The first time I went to her house I met her dog. He was absolutely adorable, he was part Corgi and had 3 legs. He’d been hit by a car several years earlier and had to have the leg amputated. When I expressed sympathy for the poor thing having only 3 legs, my friend said for me to not be sorry for him. Before, when he had 4 legs, he was clumsy and kept tripping over his ‘extra’ leg. As soon as he’d healed from the amputation, he was no longer falling down all the time and he seemed much happier.

  51. Being gay doesn’t really involve any action on the person’s part. Having BIID means there is a definite almost obsessive action that needs addressing, an action that could permanently disable you.

  52. I can’t say that I understand this particular desire, to remove one’s limbs, but it sounds to me like Jason has made a very good recovery and is living a functional and meaningful life. I don’t think we have any right to interfere in that his choice hasn’t truly affected anyone but himself. I guess the only thing about it that bothers me is that I get squicked right out, thinking about the removal of such a large part of the body. I think about how incredibly hard it would be to do that to oneself. Ugh!

  53. Giles – Being gay involves gay action :P

    Certainly one could argue that there have been time periods where gay sexuality was higher risk, to say nothing of the social risks due to bigotry.

  54. This is such a complicated issue, on one hand (pardon the pun) he was able to relieve his mental anguish and finally feel at home in his body but on the other hand he made life changing choices without the support of friends, family or a professional all the time knowing that something wasn’t quite right in his head.

    I love body modification and although this case appears to be a mod on the surface (he modified his body to the way he thought it should be), it was done as the result of anxiety and anguish surrounding his hand. Most mods are not done because someone has obessive, intrusive thoughts that prevent them from living their daily lives. Its almost as if his mind was giving him no choice and in that type of situation a person needs to find professional help.

    I’m not saying he shouldn’t have done it, perhaps it WAS the only cure.. but he’ll never know that and that guilt he feels probably isn’t going away any time soon.

  55. >Certainly one could argue that there have been time periods where gay sexuality was higher risk, to say nothing of the social risks due to bigotry.

    Well yes but that is really a societal problem than anything else. I just feel we should be balancing things out better with the belief that removing a limb is the only way of addressing BIID.

  56. great interview! however if anyone that knows him reads this i fear it might just give it away. i still really enjoyed reading this and its interesting how the mind works!!

  57. Giles – As I understand it that is the medical opinion in many cases, and there are many doctors who believe amputation is the right solution. It’s certainly no more radical than sex change surgeries — perhaps less so, really.

  58. Interesting interview.

    I still have to take the conservative route here and be the advocate for trying to consult a psychiatrist or psychologist prior to amputatio, but I appreciate it may not always work out for everyone feeling this way. And more importantly I realise these things are all relative. Being gay for example (since that seems to be the comparison on this forum), is still ‘successfully treated’ in some institutions, but as time goes on, it does seem that for at least a portion of these ‘reformed’ persons, it just doesn’t work. And you know they used to be crazy about the treatment of gayness before we became a little more enlightened about it. Ces’t la vie I think, if it makes him a happier person, so be it.. :)

  59. I first heard about BIID on..I want to say 20/20? About people who packed their legs with dry ice or other similar measures to get amputations. It’s so wild! I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

  60. This was a bit hard for me to read,i still find people with amuptations a little intimidating(only because i havent been exposed to them,or personally know any)and i wasn’t aware a condition like that was out there.To me it seems bizarre,id miss any of my limbs,however im glad he’s found what he’s looking for. I just feel its a shame he couldn’t have had the support from family and friends,keeping it a secret like this must be a heavy mental strain.

  61. Hmmmm, this was an interesting read. I am an amputee, not by choice. I had a birth “defect” that caused me to not have fingers ( the doctors did construct two fingers on each hand from what I did have ) and my right foot was amputated when I was about 2. Reading stories about voluntary amputation is always interesting for me and at times I have mixed feelings about them. For me it really all boils down to the “defects” whatever they may be are just one of the things that makes us who we are. To me its no different than being fat or skinny, all of us are different in our own ways, and if it takes amputating a limb to make you feel normal then who am I to say no you shouldn’t do that. I am 32 now and having lived with me “defects” all my life I can honestly say that I feel as normal as the next person. I really forget that I am even different in that respect until I see someone staring or someone ask me about it. Funny thing is I am short and overweight and I really feel more subconscious about the extra pounds than not having as many fingers as everyone else. Just my two cents.

  62. To me this is a good article, but i’ll never understand the logic(not that i have to) But, for me losing a limb is a fear. it gives me knots in my stomach. AS long as hes happy with his decision i guess thats all matters.

  63. moddedbynature- thanks for sharing. that’s pretty cool.

    and good interview, shannon. great topic

  64. I find it every interesting that no one has thought to bring up the point I am about to make…

    A lot of the language I hear coming from “Jason” is very, very similar to the language I hear coming from friends who are transgendered and considering transitioning to become their “correct” sex. Especially the part where he says, “As long as I can remember, having two hands was a defect in my body — something that was not meant to be. I don’t think I had any choice. My right hand just didn’t belong to my body…It was way clear that I had to get rid of my hand so that I could live.” Wow! Replace “hand” with “penis” or “vagina” and you pretty much have the sentiment of every trans person out there. Why can we, as a community, accept a trans person (I’m speaking in general here…as the significant other of a trans person, I am more than aware of the prejudices and difficulties that the transgendered community faces), but feel that a voluntary amputee is “sick” and “needs counseling”? I’ve read so many comments here from people that are disgusted with the “choice” this person made and it really, really mystifies me.

  65. This makes me wonder how many people with amputated limbs actually did it for this reason.
    Now Im going to wonder when I see people with missing fingers >.>

    But I really like the fact he took his life into his own hands&&did what he needed to do to be normal.
    Way to be = ]

  66. #77 gracefire – I linked in #52 to someone’s blog where she mentions that. Basically the idea is, both man and woman are “normal” standard ways of being, but the disabled person (or person missing a standard part, etc) is still considered “lesser,” subconciously, and so it becomes about voluntarily joining a “lesser” group that “normal” people would never want to join. Completely apart from anything to do with physical modification, you can see some similar talk around social groups.

    I do think GID is probably the closest analogous situation I’ve heard of, FWIW.

    Anyway, googling around the topic truly does bring up some fascinating reading.

  67. I found this interview really fascinating. The first time I ever became aware of BIID was when I read an interview in the Guardian g2 section with a woman who had such a strong desire to be a double amputee (both legs) that she sat with her legs in dry ice for literally hours waiting for them to become so frostbitten they would need to be amputated. She expressed similar sentiments to ‘Jason’, although if I remember correctly her partner knew about her BIID and was prepared to help her achieve her goal.

    I find the comparison with gender reassignment surgery interesting. It seems to me that there is little difference in philosophical terms between having major surgery to have the body you feel you ought to in order to reassign your gender, and in order to remove a limb, etc. People who seek to transition need to go through rigorous processes to ensure they’re making the right choice, but the prevailing attitude is that, if transitioning will really make them happy, it’s what they should do. It seems like it could be a good model for peole with BIID.

  68. I definitely thought that the comparison to transgenderism was very interesting and appropriate. I also think that it would be interesting to see what would happen if doctors began allowing for a similar ‘transitioning’ for BIID folks. I wonder how many people would go down that road if it was available as opposed to the falsifying an accident road? Hmmm food for thought.
    These voluntary amp interviews are always really interesting :)

  69. I think it’s sad that he had to fool his own friends and family…I couldn’t read the whole thing because for some reason amputations really put me off.

  70. the only thing that remotely raised my eyebrows was that he allowed friends, family and others to raise money for his benefit. if the decision to modify his body and make it “right” was his and he made this choice on his own, who should other people be made responsible to help him pay for it? That’s beyond unethical. And while the ‘disorder’ may have parallels with GID those people who can and do choose to change their sex are made to go through enormous hoops(therapy, counseling, doctors, hormones) in order to achieve that goal. They cannot “lie” in order to get over on everybody. One is about embracing living an authentic life-the other seems to have been about NOT being authentic either before the ‘accident’ or after. I’m sorry but I’m not cheering here-its a huge ethical difference. I’m all for people owning and living comfortably in their bodies. but you gave up being able to play sax, let people worry about you immensely, needlessly….its not about the amputation its the dishonesty.

  71. Before reading the article I was a little shaken that somebody would choose to remove a body part that i consider essential to everyday life. After reading it and thinking about it for a few hours, I understand where he is coming from and am definitely over my spook. I agree that the comparison between gender reassignment and BIID are interesting. Thank you for posting this article, it’s definitely going to change my view just a bit on amputees.

  72. Im glad he is a more stable person, but it is really sad that he had to lie to achieve it. How can you hide something like that from your family? If you have BIID, shouldn’t your family know?

    When I was 13 I wrecked a 4wheeler(ATV), which almost took my leg off mid calf and left me with a disfiguring scar. I lied to my parents about the accident because I didn’t want them to know it was my fault. People gave money to help with the medical bills, they prayed, sent flowers…all that. Because I felt so bad I had lied to everyone I ended up in a deep depression that lasted until I finally came clean and told everyone what happened. Yes people were mad and for a very long time my parents didn’t trust me, but I was no longer tormented by my lie.

    Everything is fine now and my parents still love me.

    I know that I don’t have BIID so my experience isn’t the same, but what I did learn is that if you love your parents you don’t lie to them about anything.

  73. Seany Bwoy / starspring / Sade / etc.(and others) – A lot of people have to lie to their parents about their sexual orientation, and a lot of people who don’t lose their families and friends because of telling the truth. Being gay is significantly more “normal” than BIID, so I really don’t think we should fault Jason for hiding this.

    I don’t see why he has an obligation to tell people around him, and since I highly doubt he asked anyone to raise money for him, I don’t think he needs to feel guilty about it. Also, I think it’s important to remember that this procedure was about HEALING, not some whim a la a tattoo, which is how it feels like it’s being treated in the comments on deception.

  74. #83: I think the major difference between transgenderism and BIID is that trangenderism is considered an “acceptable” disorder by most psychological professionals. There are legitimate avenues for trans people to go through (no matter how rigorous the processes might be) to legitimately achieve what they feel they need to do. For people with BIID, there are no avenues other than “suck it up and deal with it” or “get counseling to ‘cure’ the disorder”. Maybe, as Megan (#81) said, if there had been legitimate avenues for him to pursue, then he would not have had to stage an “accident.” I’m usually not a “the ends justify the means” sort of person, but in this case, I believe did.

  75. Why someone been an amputee concerns us so much? Is it because we simpatyze with the difficulties the amputee have to deal in his life? Or is it just because it is “not normal”?
    I can’t stop thinking that this repulsion people feel for volunteer amputation has the same root of pity that they feel for accidental ones. And pity is not a good feeling.
    Amputation brings a lot of hardness, but if someone decides that facing then is better then having the unwanted limb, how may we say that decision is wrong?

  76. Shannon…I understand your points completely. I suppose I put more stock in lying to family than others. Thats just what my life has taught me.

    I wasn’t saying he should feel guilty for people giving money and so on. He wanted to cut his hand off and he did, he didn’t want to be talked out of it and he wasn’t, he got what he wanted(which so many of us don’t)and thats good. He feels “right” with his new body and thats good. So many of us never live a fulfilled life, I hope he does.

    I wanted to share a situation in which I almost became an amputee. In that situation, in a similar fashion to his, I lied to friends and family and it almost destroyed my life and the relationships with those people.

    Now he is in a situation in which if he comes clean it will quite possibly destroy his relationship with his parents, friends and his new/old lover. This is obvious by the secrecy in the interview. If keeping that secret from those people doesn’t faze him than so be it and I hope he has a happy, healthy, fruitful life…he deserves that(as do the rest of us).

    If I was gay, had BIID, wanted to become female, wanted to tattoo my face or anything I would tell my parents..I just wanted to express that.

    Please don’t think I was faulting him for his body changing decision. I meant no disrespect to anyone, you included, in my comment.

    Thank you, Shannon

  77. wow, there sure are a lot of BIG words being thrown around in the comments for this one! this was a great interview though, ‘jason’ did a great job explaining his rationale behind his amputation.

  78. by not talking about it openly and honestly he may have ruled out some alternate forms of dealing with it, even if that was only to lessen the strain of dealing with the issue in his life and relationships. And just constantly comparing differing social stigmas to one another in an attempt to justify them rightly or wrong is lazyitis. the issue is truth, not whether hiding things from those we profess to care about is occasionally/maginal/ever good in the long run. I came out and was honest with people about who I was-not because I had a problem with it-it was everyone else who seemed so bothered-and yes there was a price to pay. Living an authentic life isn’t “free”. its a plate you either step up to or you don’t. Saying you did something in a dishonest manner-and are guilty enough about getting away with but not enough to be honest-doesn’t win many points with me. I never said he asked them to raise money on his behalf-but it would be gross to accept the money under those circumstances regardless whether he asked them or not. how about donating the money to a charity which handles people who become disabled involuntarily? Now THAT would seem to balance out the equation some what!

  79. You know, it really doesn’t matter if I think someone “should” or “shouldn’t” do this. It’s not my life to live, in the end.

    I did wonder if he was right-handed before the amp, and if so, how he dealt with retraining (I’m ambi, so I always wonder)

    very interesting interview.

  80. Interesting interview about elective amputation, I have a different take on it. What about “accepted” amputation?, this is a risk I considered and accepted when implanting my magnet. Although I felt the risk to be very very low I still gave it much thought. It’s definately not something I wanted to happen and I am very glad it didn’t but none the less I chose to deal with should it have happened. I’m sure everyone that has gotten some sort of implant has considered this risk due to infection or other complications. Even surface piercings can lead to infection which may in turn lead to amputation, the risk is low though.

  81. From the interview: “I’m a healthy, active dude, engaged in my community, who happens to be an amputee. Is that so bad?”

    ‘Nuff said! :)

  82. I’ve read most of the previous comments and still my usual viewing of what somebody want to do with their body stays strong. If it that important to you then by all means I shall not judge what you do to yourself, with a catch though. You should be able to support and take care of yourself without having to ask for outside assitance or have somone commited to assist you already before you do something that will permanently alter your ability to perfom neccesary life functions. Might be an unpopular sentiment or not but I really have no qualms with someone wanting to be a quadruple amputee or any variation thereof or inbetween if they can set up having themselves taken care of but if they can’t get bent other people should not have to foot the bill for a voluntary actions consequences thats a load of bull. That said one hand jasons wanting to keep what happened from friends and whomever else is between them and him and from the sound of it he is quite able to live perfectly fine by his own means and more power to him in that respect.

  83. “who happens to be an amputee. Is that so bad?”

    He doesn’t “happen” to be an amputee, he had an obsessive desire to become one and did the procedure himself. He is insulting those who genuinely “happen” to be amputees.

  84. I’ve come back to comment a bunch of times now without actually saying anything, because I’m still trying to wrap my head around why I found this interview upsetting. I don’t profess to know a huge amount about body dysmorphism or gender dysmorphism, but I consider myself an advocate for those who identify with these issues. I guess what bugged me the most was how flippant “Jason” seemed to be about the feelings leading up to his self-amputation and the repercussions. I suppose it’s silly to get het up about just the tone of the interview, but yeah, it felt like he was being a bit self-congratulatory about it all in a way that really didn’t examine the intense issues that intersect here.

  85. A question came: If he had told his family and close friends about his feelings about it, wouldn´t him have had some “help”?
    As I said before, this can be a consequence of a past life.
    Once he understands himself as a “body-integrity-disorder dude”, didn´t he ever wanted some help? or some support from those close to him? those from who he has to keep a secret? The same ones that paid for that and suffered for him.
    Or he had always believed that people would never comprehend him?

  86. Uraniumhobo – thanx for explaining. i cannot imagine what he goes through with keeping a secret. sometimes even much smaller lies can annoy you mentaly really hard but this … i guess he doesn’t really have a choise right now. just think about the reaction from people especially ehose who are close to him

  87. Hi Everybody. Jason here. Whew, what a lot of cool and thoughtful comments! I learned a lot and had such a flow of feelings reading those. Yeah, some folks kinda dissed me, and others kinda dissed people who wrote positive stuff. That’s so cool…people’s minds stirred up. People putting themselves in places they wouldn’t go usually. People hearing about BIID for the first time, then feeling strongly enough to write a comment. Sweet! Just what I hoped for! Way huge thanks to Shannon for making all this possible!

    I’ve got some little comments on some of the questions people asked a lot… My parents are both dead, but no way did I have enough nerve to tell them when they were alive, and no way would I have put them through that worry. I feel like our relationship has to be stronger before I tell my lover. I only know of like three BIID amputees who’ve gone public. No way am I going to be the forth.

    With the money people gave, I took it with the understanding that I would earn it with community activism after I got healed, which I did, and they were cool with that. Someone suggested helping other amputees, especially accidental ones. I’ve been writing to a lot on the internet and by phone, and I hope this interview can help people with understanding too. People say my attitude and adaption to one-handed life is very inspiring…Does the fact that I wanted my amputation taint that? I totally take every precaution to avoid making amputees who are having a hard time feel bad. From their reactions, they seem to like the interactions.


  88. “People say my attitude and adaption to one-handed life is very inspiring…Does the fact that I wanted my amputation taint that? “

    Some would say that yes, absolutely it does. Such posts aren’t too hard to find, googling around the BIID stuff, there are people out there in the “disabled” community who are quite angry about the idea that people are going for voluntary handicapping modifications. Whether or not that’s “reasonable” is another discussion, but certainly the feeling is out there.

    It’s part of the interesting reading, anyway.

    Speaking of the similarities with GID/trans, if you google around “womyn-born-womyn” you can find similar attitudes about transwomen (people may recall years ago this came up in context of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival). There too the context seems to be “are you overcoming” (in that case, being raised as a girl in the patriarchy) or not. (Surely Giles can chime in :))

    I definitely appreciated this interview, thanks for having it.

  89. I’d suggest that someone with an involuntary amputation that is angry at someone with a voluntary amputation is more so dealing with their own personal issues.

  90. If a dude wants to cut off his hand, how does that affect you?

    It doesn’t, now untie your panties, geez.

    Fascinating article.

  91. what a fascinating and beautiful person! i’m amazed, and in awe of his own devotion to his beliefs about his body–i’d never be able to put aside my fear of massive pain to do something like that. i find him brave in so many ways.

  92. Sarah: when someone takes a particular action it can set precedent for how the same situation is dealt with in the future, or for others. This is a radical step taken by someone in order to achieve their set goal, someone who, given the right set of circumstances might help legislation shift irrivocably in one particular direction-a positive or negative one depending on your viewpoint. We don’t live in vacuums-we affect each other. People are allowed their reactions whether you agree with them or not-they’re human. I’d rather see the occasional/torrent of angry/negative comment than I ever would nothing but bland passivism. That doesn’t mean everyone who ‘s comments fall into the former catagory need to take their panties out of a bunch. Even people that may have what is perceived as a negative standpoint can contribute to something positive by adding their voice.

  93. Shannon I agree with your last point. Speaking as an involuntary amputee, you either deal with what life gives you or you don’t. I personally learned along time ago that I have no room to complain because there are always people worse off than me.

  94. best article iv’e read on BME to date. it was great.
    Although I can’t relate to feeling like something doesn’t belong to my body or a similar feeling, I do feel happy for this guy for getting such a huge improvement in life.

    I mean, who are we to judge really?
    maybe medical care should include as well as other surgeries (sex change, plastic surgery etc) amputation procedures for people who can prove they qualify. look at this guy, he’s been miserable for a lifetime and this has literaly saved him. why let someone use a saw or some other gruesome and dangerous method to gain this?

  95. I read the interview with interest, and the comments with both interest and an intense feeling of exhaustion. I am an individual who has BIID (to answer one question, it is Body Integrity Identity Disorder, yes, 2 “I”). I need to be paraplegic, and have been living 100% of my life as a wheelchair user. I am the owner of which has been quoted here a few times. I also have put together a community wiki that has collected all the known academic and medical publishing about BIID on .

    A few things.

    @ Jamie and others. There is a significant difference between BIID and anorexia. Anorexia is a form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Please forgive me if I simplify the condition :) In my understanding (based on a lot of medical paper reading), people who have BDD tend to think that their body is not “normal”, and seek to make it normal. People with BIID know their body is “normal”, but don’t fit in their body. BIID is much closer to GID than to BIID.

    @ Giles. I must admit, your comments are the ones that exhaust me the most. I am amazed that you claim there are “many cases” of BIID cured through psychiatry. Please direct me to relevant evidence of so. I *am* interested, and I have done enough research and speaking to enough individuals with BIID for the last 15 years that I would have thought I’d have encountered them, or heard of them. As for my comments that the medical profession should be consulted if you have BIID, yes, but I think you misrepresented (or misunderstood) the context in wich I made that comment. I do think that if someone thinks they have BIID, they ought to seek assistance from the medical profession, to sort out if what they have is indeed BIID. Problem being of course that the medical profession has NO F**** clue, and wouldn’t know BIID from BDD if it hit them in the face. This is not helped by the fact that BIID has not been included in the DSM (although that might change with the DSM V due for publication in 2010). And even if the shrink the individual goes to for help has heard of BIID, there really isn’t much that can be done. If there was a psychological or psychiatric cure available, or even a medication based one, I think I’d have been “cured” a long time ago.

    FWIW, the main editor of the DSM, Dr. Michael First, is continuing study on BIID and appears to agree that there is no real, consistant, non-surgical solution. There may be people out there who “beat” BIID without getting the needed impairment, but they are the exception more than the norm.

    @ moddoctor. Yes, I agree with you, it would be best if we had treatment protocols similar to what is in place for GID. It would be MUCH better. People would not tend to resort to self-injury, or to black market surgeons, risking their lives. In fact, I wrote about that and you can see it here:

    @ Mike. There is debate about what the “origin” of BIID is. Some say it is neurological, some say it is psychological. Some say it’s a neuropsychological condition. VS Ramachandran, a noted neurologist is currently studying BIID to see if it is indeed neurological. But then, they also say that in the near future, we’ll find out that everything psychological is in fact (also) neurological. Regardless of *what* it is, the fact is, surgery/injury works. Perhaps there’s a less invasive solution ’round the corner. But that doesn’t help me, now, nor the dozen of people I’m in contact with at the moment.

    @ Possessed. The woman from the Guardian is a friend, and nearly two years post amputation is very happy. Her only regret is to not have lost the leg sooner.

    FWIW, I have a problem with the concept of BIID related self-injury as an extreme body modification. I think that a major difference is one of “choice”. Arguably, most people into Bodmod have a choice, they do this because they want to, or have a statement to make. Those of us with BIID don’t have a choice. Just like transsexuals don’t have a choice. You can repress it, you can ignore it, you can “dislodge” the need for short periods of time, but it keeps coming back. until you have the impairment you need. Then, you’re finally free to get on with life.

    The only thing stopping me from becoming paralysed is that I am unable to do the procedure on myself. If I had access to someone with the skills and knowledge to do an intrathecal injection, I would go ahead, without looking back. But self injection in the spinal cord is not practicable.

  96. I “did” my hand some 30 years ago on a table saw because I wanted to be a “one hander,” Just as Jason did.

    I have several friends around the US who also “did” their hands. It’s not as common as one might think, because such a deed can’t be openly admitted.

    I told my story in a book, “Loosing a hand” (out of print) and gave copies to close friends. All were generally accepting of me except for one woman who lost her leg in an accident. She couldn’t understand how one could ever want to do this on purpose. It took about a year for her to become friends again.

    I can understand her reaction. I think I’d react the same way myself, except that I feel I also had BIID which is difficult to explain but it sure does exist.

    I have not had any regrets whatsoever about doing my hand. Another close friend who did it in another part of this country is also very happy about his doing it. Before he did his, he asked me many questions. I was always very careful to make statements which wouldn’t persuade him in any way to do it. It had to be his own decision.

    I’ve since talked to several who wanted to do it, but couldn’t because of fear of hurting others, not themselves. It’s a difficult decision because of the negative stigma surrounding such an act.

    (picture of “deed” submitted)

  97. I’m slightly surprised that no-one who’s commented thus far has openly said they suffered from GID. Well, I did. I can see the strong case for BIID people to go through a period of ‘practicing’, because being granted the surgery to have one’s private parts remodelled isn’t reversible either. It wasn’t all that long ago that someone wanting surgery to sex change could be considered insane; not, I admit, that it’s accepted universally even now.

    While GID people will out of survival present themselves to the world as best they can in the gender role they believe themselves to be, it’s still pretending, and for a proportion of those people the surgery is the only way forwards because the belief is so deeply rooted. I imagine BIID people will also try to gain real life experience of the end result before committing themselves, but as far as they’re concerned it can be as simple a decision as to live or die trying; one simply cannot function day to day.

    I suffered from GID for 15 years, of which five were spent ‘practicing’ my future. It took another five years to jump through all the hoops before my surgery. My life in some respects is unchanged, because I have the same interests and even some of the same friends, and while I will never be able to have children, something that saddened me greatly but which I accepted, my life ever since then has been immeasurably better than that which I left behind.

    When BIID can be discussed amongst the individual’s family and friends, it will still never be easy. I recognise the casual tone Jason used in his interview, and it’s not flippancy: it’s a direct post-op effect of one having attained a correction so well-matched to one’s psyche that it’s very difficult to remember the previous form.

  98. Some more food for thoughts…

    Dr. Nikki Sullivan writes in the abstract of her paper Integrity, Mayhem, and the Question of Self Demand Amputation:
    “…at present, in the United States alone, over 1,000,000 circumcisions, 200,000 breast modifications procedures, and 800-1,000 male to female sex reassignment surgeries are performed annyually. Up to 117,000 peopel undergo abdominoplasty; 384,00 undergo liposuction; and approximately one or two in every 1,000 babies born receives surgery to ‘normalize’ genital appearance In short, the modification of bodies is prolific in contemporary Western culture and a significant number of modificatory procedures involves the removal of ‘healthy’ tissue or body parts. The obvious question this raises is why self-demand amputation is pathologized when qualitatively similar procedures are condoned….”

    Dr. John Jordan in the abstract of his paper “The rethorical limits of the plastic body”:
    “…The contemporary industry has constructed a popular image of plastic surgery as a readily available and personally empowering means to resolve body image issues, on the presumption that any body can become a “better” body. The ideology underlying the industry emerges out of analysis of the rhetoric of surgeons and patients. The rhetorical efforts of amputee “wannabes,”who seek elective amputation and who use arguments similar to those of mainstream plastic surgery applicants, reveal the paradoxes and contradictions in decision-making about who has access to these procedures. The essay concludes that the concept of the plastic body is based less on medical technology and skill than on rhetorical power…”

    So why is it that those of us that desire an amputation or paralysed legs are told “go seek help from the shrink”? but those of you that want more “mundane” things done, like penis piercing are given the address of a practitioner doing these things?

  99. Pingback: Plastic bodies, extreme modifications, BIID, etc » » Blogging about BIID

  100. Good article and discussions. I only have a few points to offer. First, I believe there are a significant number of voluntary amputees out there. I say this based upon the number that I am aware of. What is a significant number? I’d venture to guess perhaps several thousand or more in the U.S. Secondly, there is (as alluded to earlier I believe) a crossover between voluntary amputees and devotees (admirers of amputees). Finally, notwithstanding the comments here to the contrary, there are many who take ‘secrets’ to the grave in order to protect others and perhaps themselves as well. It is perhaps more common in mature or older individuals, and is not so much a child to parent issue although it could be a parent to child issue. Think of those who have never shared their experiences in war for whatever the reason. It might be nice to be able to share, but sometimes it’s not the best for all concerned.

    Just my thoughts. Thanks Shannon.

  101. Well after a friend gave me the link to this interview I expected to read a lot of negative comments but I’m suprised!! As a voluntary amputee it’s nice to know there are people, who don’t have BIID, say good things. But I don’t agree that someone can “overcome” this desire simply by going to a phsyc. I’m a perfectly normal person and I didn’t put anyone at harm when I did what I did. J

  102. I recently asked my psychologist about BIID. He actually has worked with quite a few people suffering from it; he was surprised that I asked. He thought I knew another client of his. Either way, he says that all of his patients ended up deciding against amputating, and 5/6 are still seeing him.

    I know this in no way changes anything about how some people deal with it, but I thought it was a little odd for you to assume that something like anorexia nervosa is never born into you when you assume that BIID is.

    Complex psychological disorders involving body images aren’t always implications from the media, which is something I know you understand, Shannon.

  103. In general, I think it’s real cool that the interview got some ideas flowing. I’m real thankful for all the sweet wishes. You don’t know how it feels to read those. Makes me feel like this is a real loving community. But……

    I just saw the post from Bettie [119] and it bugged me. Not just her’s but several other’s have been putting out facts and figures without complete context and opinions that just raise more questions. For example, she states that her psychologist told her that he has seen “many” patients with BIID and claims a 100% success rate with regard to avoiding amputation (at least in 5/6 of the patients who are still under his/her care…We aren’t told if there’s been follow up on the other 1/6 to see if they had an “accident”.) How many of this “many” number even desire amputation, since BIID also includes people who feel like they should be blind, paraplegic, and other non-amputee conditions? Isn’t it a bit unethical to be talking about this to another patient anyway? Is this psychologist just a regular general practitioner, or some sort of specialist concentrating on cases like BIID? Cuz, if they’re a regular GP, and there’s many general psychologists out there, and if they all have “many” BIID patients, and only a fraction of people with BIID would seek out a shrink, that would sorta imply that there are millions of BIID sufferers in the U.S. alone.

    Sean O’Connor [110] has written a real clear explanation of treatment options for transability/BIID at In it, he says the BIID can’t be cured, but he describes four possible treatments…medication, psychotherapy, pretending, and amputation. OK, during my experiment time, I tried pretending, using a homemade hook which worked like a real one, and also binding up my hand. I got comfortable with those, figured out how to do things, was reassured about going ahead with my amp. I’d recommend that, though, yeah, it is kinda deceitful.

    And what about psychotherapy?…He says that psychiatry can reduce (not cure) a person’s drive to need amputation. I suppose it depends on a person’s willingness to be talked out of it then, i.e., doubt about whether they need it. Are they even really suffering from BIID then, or maybe just “me-too-ism”? If I had known that counseling could let a BIID sufferer try to make peace with it, with an option for surgery if that failed, I might have tried it, but that’s certainly not common knowledge, especially for isolated BIID sufferers. After all, isolation is a huge aspect of the condition, most people thinking they’re the only one on earth for a good part of their life.

    I guess medication would require being counseled by a psychotherapist. Mr. O’Connor reported not having success with meds in his own case, but said it might be useful in helping to understand the condition or with depression leading to transability. (I hope I’ve got that right.)

    Surgery being an option? Bettie, Giles and others seem to be totally against this. Except to clean up after an “accident”, is it an option anyway? As far as I know, the common knowledge is that surgery’s not available for BIID, except in Southeast Asia, maybe. There are stories on the web about people who paid a surgeon in a foreign country piles of money, only to die of infection soon after. Are those rare exceptions, or common? If it is available in your friendly, safe, local hospital, why is that fact being hidden? Cuz, if people think it’s not an option, like I did, then isn’t that a major deterrant to keep folks, who feel like they need this at all costs, from going to a counselor?

    Are either counseling or amputation options covered by insurance or other means, or will it cost an arm and a leg to save an arm or a leg? This is not just a condition of the wealthy.

    Right now, I’ve got emails from people who way want an amputation. Like I said in the interview, no way will I advise them to do it, but it would be real cool if there were options I could give them to ease their torment. I feel like all I can do now is just to tell how it’s going for me, and lay out the conflicting claims I’m hearing. Just for the record, three years out, I’m still loving life as an amputee.


  104. @Sean O’Connor # 110
    not to be an ass, but anorexia seems to not be thought a form of BDD at present. technically BDD can only be diagnosed (according to the DSM-IV definition) if first eating disorders are ruled out. but since BDD often sees co-morbidity with eating disorders, OCD, and Depression, who really knows?

    i agree though with your appraisal of BIID having more parallels with GID than BDD, in that GID and BIID generally appear to have better (or at least more finite, hopefully) resolution. (but i don’t really know, so take with salt)

    i am glad to see that the DSM-V will be including BIID; if anorexia and BDD can get in, i would certainly think BIID should be in there, post-haste. i wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the term BIID, as it is now used, is just a blanket term covering several related afflictions. for example, it wouldn’t take much imagination to see someone with Alien Hand Syndrome possibly wanting an amputation, but for very different reasons.

  105. I say more power to Jason for realizing what he wanted and finding a way to get it. As Ed said, he’s not the first to do this and he won’t be the last. Keith Alexander, the lead singer with Xander and the Smoke Pockets, a Liverpool group, who is a right below the elbow amputee like Jason once said that he thought having two hands would be a great handicap. It seems to me that Jason is the one who, like Keith, ought to know what the greater handicap is. Another thirty something voluntary amp who has written about it and appeared over and over again on TV and news and is a very active speaker now makes his living as a “professional” one armed guy. He has repeatedly said that if he could somehow get his arm back that there is no way he would do it. Yes, BIID is a condition that some people have, so, shouldn’t we be more accepting of it and less judgmental about those who are willing to get what they really want regardless of the pain and danger?

  106. At first I was shocked at the idea that people exist who acutally WANT to become disabled. So I started doing some research.

    I am still in dubio whether BIID is a psychological or neurological illness, I’m prone to saying ‘both’. I know a girl who’s been anorexic since as long as she can remember, so I’m guessing eating disorders, BDD and GID are partly caused by ‘wrong wiring’, but society and life events can trigger/strengthen these issues.

    And since it’s currently acceptable for someone with GID to have a sexchange (after counselling and ‘pretending’ for a period of time has proven their desire to be permanent) I started to wonder why it isn’t acceptable for someone with BIID to have surgery to remove a limb, have their spine severed, their eyes damaged, whatever they feel would make them ‘as they should be’…?

    And I think the most important objection here is how we view an impairment emotionally. Being disabled is seen as something you wouldn’t want to be, because we cannot understand why someone would willingly damage their otherwise healthy body… to never hear music again, see a painting, be able to feel their body, or walk…?
    Because we do not have this illness, we simply cannot understand. I can’t imagine how it feels to want my body to look extremely different than it does now, or to be of the opposite sex, or disabled. But just because I don’t feel the same doesn’t mean I should deny someone to change themselves according to what they want to be.

    So I think that if there is no way to cure someones obsessive desire to become impaired with medication or psychotherapy (and from what I’ve read; there isn’t untill now), BIID should be recognised as a real (neuro?)psychological disorder by the medical world and there should be a way for BIID-sufferers to go through the same procedure as GID-sufferers (counselling, ‘pretending’ to see if this is really what they want, and finally, having their dream impairment come true.)

    The only real objection to this would be: is it fair to change a fully able-bodied person into someone putting a significant financial strain on society? For instance: a BIID-sufferer who wants to become paralysed will need an adjusted house, a wheelchair, maybe a live-in help… I know that someone who is paralysed by an accident would cost the state just as much, but if it is your own fully thought-out choice to become disabled, I think you should be prepared to fully bear the (financial) consequences as well.

    English is not my native language so I apologise if I used non-politically correct wording etc, I tried my best :)

    p.s and to ‘Jason’, I hope you one day find the strength and courage to tell your loved ones about your BIID, and I hope they will be understanding. It seems that (even though you did it in a dangerous and deceiving way) you did what was best to heal yourself and I applaude that. Good luck to you.

  107. I am conducting research into the experience of transableism – the desire to become disabled – whether this be from BIID or otherwise. I am looking for people who would be willing to be interviewed (by phone/Skype) to talk about what it is like for them, their experiences before, during and/or after becoming disabled. It is not a medical research project, but an attempt to understand the experience of transableism.

    If you are interested in participating, please contact me at [email protected] and I can send you further information. Alternatively, you can go to: and follow the links to research and transableism.

    Clive Baldwin
    Canada Research Chair, St Thomas University.

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