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Elle's Story

by Elle

Like all the other kids I grew up with, it was normal to play doctor and pretend like one of us had a broken leg, an ear infection, etc. I began growing out of it until a guy traumatized me when I was seven. When I would go to bed, I would imagine myself paralyzed, so I wouldn't feel anything when I had my nightmares. It was a self-meditation technique I had discovered. That was never a big deal, but the stress from my trauma made a big impact on my life. I began suffering from seizures, depression, and the classics post-traumatic stress symptoms. All I knew how to do was put myself in a deep state of denial and try to convince myself that I was a happy healthy person. In the fifth grade, my class read a book about a boy who was paralyzed in an accident and went through rehabilitation with other boys who were paralyzed or had amputated limbs. I made a connection with the characters going through an overwhelming amount of stress. The difference between their stress and mine was that it was visibly obvious to people that they were in pain and nobody had any idea what I was going through because I was just a cute little girl who blended in with everyone else. Once I graduated from high school, my parents had noticed me being self-injurious, so I began therapy and was treated for the depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Even with the PTSD and depression being cured for over a year, I continued seeking therapy because I was convinced that my thoughts were barbaric and insane. I finally told my therapist my deepest darkest secret: I dreamed of either having both of my legs amputated above the knee or being paralyzed. Knowi! ng that I was not suffering from psychosis, depression, or anything other than self-destructive thoughts, my therapist couldn't figure any traditional treatment. So it's a pretty much cureless disorder unless the thoughts are acted out.

I have scars on my back from attempts at caring through with my thoughts. My first year in college I couldn't stand waiting for an accident, so I started sticking pins in my back to try to get them to reach my spinal chord. One day I stuck a 3in blade in my back in hopes of it going right through the middle of my spine. At the time, I had a few extra pounds on me and it just left a deep scar. I tried it again a few days later and went to a doctor to get stitches. After seeing the scars on my back and the ones on my arms from "crying for help," the doctor decided to lock me up for a week until some anti-depressants kicked in.

I don't ever wake up not wanting to be handicapped. It's not for the attention because I wouldn't even let family visit me when I used to have to have brain surgeries for my seizures. It is not a sexual thing. Part of the paraplegic-wannabe was me not wanting to feel anything from the waist down because that's where I had been hurt and feared being hurt "there" again. My opinion of why I have such an unacceptable obsession is a bit complex. I feel that as a child I wanted to be handicapped to let people see my pain and to relieve my pain. As I got older, I became addicted to trauma. I couldn't stand being ordinary and living a boring life, so trauma was something that made me feel alive and challenged. I have always wanted people to see me for who I really am: a person who is missing a big part of her life (childhood & years of happiness) and a young woman with many barriers.

It seems that my whole I have been "pretending", dreaming, researching, finding causes, and trying to inflict things upon myself that will result in loosing my limbs or leading to paralysis. It is miserable trying to hide this desire from the world when it has taken up most of my thoughts for years. If there is no way to end this desire, then why suffer for years of being deprived of the one thing I want more than anything in the world? Gosh! I even blew out my birthday candles to this wish nearly every year of my childhood.

Now I am a happy healthy young adult. I am about to get my BAs in psychology and art, but I am not quite sure what I want to do for a career. I am very involved at school and work and I have a very healthy social life. With all the good in my life, the only thing that is missing (or is not missing) is that part that I walk around on two healthy legs everyday. I do not feel that my life will be fulfilled until a procedure is done or I am in an accident that leads to me being handicapped.

What I think would be the coolest thing ever would be for TV show (like on a health channel or something) to sponsor a group of wannabes to come together. First everyone would get group and individual therapy to make sure having the procedure (amputation/whatever) is the right choice. Then at the same time, everyone would have their amputations or whatever procedure leads to their desired disability. They would all go through rehabilitation together and learn how to live their new lives. All of this would be filmed and made into a semi-series. At the very end it could interview all the participants after they have begun their new lives. It would be a way to show others that the need/want to be an amputee is not insane and like becoming transsexual, it should not be outlawed, but made aware.


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