Thursday, August 07, 2008

When I started hearing about the foot-filled athletic shoes warshing up on the shores of the Canadian coastline, I thought of body integrity identity disorder.

If you've never heard of BIID, you may want to stop reading now and go forward with your life of happy innocence.

Sometime in the past 10 years or so, I started hearing rumblings that there are actually folks who feel they would be more complete if they had a limb or hand or foot amputated. Yeah. Wannabe amputees. And they don't just want to be-- they find a way to make it so.

Anyway, when I heard that tenny-shod feet were washing ashore, at first I thought it must be a med-school student prank. Once about 10 years ago or so, some students at a local med school left a couple severed limbs in one of those coin-catcher baskets at the toll plaza of the Dallas North Tollway.


The problem with a prank like that is that although it's sensational and and will get a bit of attention, very few people will see the handiwork on display, so what's the real point?

So, yeah, I thought of medschool students for the foot-shoe thingie. But then it dawned on me that if there is a whole cult of amputee wannabe fetishists out there, then wouldn't the shoe prank thingie be a jolly way to dispose of the unneeded parts? Yeah, sick and weird, but to my way of thinking, that would be in keeping with the wit of someone who feels they'll never be whole until their body is diminished by an appendage.

I figure that if you live long enough, life will present you physical challenges aplenty without you inviting extra impediments. Anyway, maybe it's all just wishful thinking. Maybe it's just that it's more fun to think about some imbecile wilfully hacking off their own foot than to consider some reprobate who is ready willing and able to cut off the feet of another human being.

In any case, I don't get it.


Home on the Range said...

The feet had detached naturally, an amputed limb would have certain markers that did not exist. Likely an accident of some sort where the bodies have been freed up. Could it be murder, and someone dumps the bodies in the same spot? Yes. But the bodies likely went in the water intact.

Perhaps a crime afoot?


Attila the Mom said...

ewwwwwww! That's just toe gross for words! ;-)

phlegmfatale said...

OOh, I suppose I could have read the whole text on one of the several articles I've seen on this story recently. *blush*
No doubt they've got more than one gumshoe pounding the pavement to track down an explanation.

attila the mom - toe gross indeed - I suppose now the shoe is only on the other foot. ew.

breda said...

do not get me started on wannabe amputees.

phlegmfatale said...

breda - I'd love to hear a proper rant from you on the subject.

The Captain said...

Wasn't there another incident like this that was determined to have been faked a couple of weeks ago? Whoever did that was just being a heel...

NotClauswitz said...

There's always the railroad to help 'em out...

Sean said...

Before anyone goes and rants against "wannabes", keep in mind that it's a mental illness over which we have no more control than someone who has depression or bi-polar disorder. We did not ask to feel this way, we do not want to feel this way. It just so happens that psychiatry, psychotherapy and other assorted therapies don't help with BIID symptoms. It further happens that no medication has been found to work on BIID either. The *only* thing that helps is to become an amputee, or paralysed, or deaf, or blind, etc.

BIID is as disabling, if not more, than a physical impairment. I've lost more work days due to BIID than I ever would have if I were paraplegic.

If you have *any* interest in genuinely learning about BIID rather than just blindly ranting against something you don't understand, you may wish to read up: - Site with most of the published resarch about BIID.
and - A multi-author blog about the experience of living with BIID.

phlegmfatale said...

Sean, SWEETIE - I pretty much mentioned BIID (NOT to make light of what must be a dreadful condition)as a preferrable prospect to the thought of someone forcibly relieving people of a foot against their will. I would never intentionally set out to offend or hurt someone, but I reserve the right to say whatever I think here. You certainly do protest much, darling, and thus far, you are the only one I've seen ranting here. I wish you well, and understand why you'll never come to my blog again.
Cheers, m'dear!

Sean said...

phlegmfatale, my post wasn't aimed at you :) it was aimed at Breda :)

The GilmerMetcalves said...

Speaking of "gumshoes", our organ player, Clyde, was what you might call a "gumboot" for awhile, among other things he's done and undone.

He lost his detective license when he shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. Or that's the story he tells, the court found him not guilty by reason of inanity. He couldn't hit the broad side of Hoover dam anyway.

Plays a mean organ lick, though.

Chloe "Now Where Did I Leave Those Jimmy Choos" Kleimenhagen,
with The GilmerMetcavles, on tour in the Texas Hill Country, 2008

phlegmfatale said...

well, Hell's bells, sean - I would have preferred you were talking about me than Breda. I would hate to stoke the ire of any Irish lass I know, but if anyone would have a bone to pick with would-be amputees, I think it would be she, and with good cause. A wise person wouldn't pick that fight.

gilmermetcalves - I'm lurving me some Clyde already for being a gumboot, especially since "clodhopper" comes to mind so readily for this Arkie gal. I'm just hoping TGMs are playing the neck of the Hill Country I'll be in next week. Yee haw!

Anonymous said...

per your own blog, Sean... "Heck, mental illness is a myth, we’re just suffering the consequences of sin in our lives. Of course, we are responsible for the way we feel, entirely our own fault, because we are sinners. And the list goes on. It’s not enough for us to be suffering, we have to be made to feel guilty because it’s all our fault." your right Sean, you should keep communicating with that womans child after she asked you to stop, then you should rant about prayer and Christians, be sure not to take responsibility for your actions. Of course prayer can't help you. You are so right, we don't choose how we feel, and God has forsaken you. please go discover yoga or something. A
ps i'll pray for you anyway

Anonymous said...


I've been in a wheelchair for 34 years now and I really feel pity for you. I've had over 400 broken bones and countless surgery's. BTW...I have OI, which if you're that serious about this I'm sure you would have researched this disease. I feel pity for you b/c you have the gift of walking, I am unable to snow ski, water ski, hike, run and countless of other activities. But what I do have is sanity. Instead of choosing to "drop of of life" and using my handicap, I choose to embrace life and enjoy every day as if it was my last. You must search deeper within yourself to find the core of your problems, because I fear that if you were to realize your dreams of becoming wheelchair bound eventually you would still seek other means to fill the void you have in life. I wish you could truly spend a day in the life of someone who is in a wheelchair and experience the obstacles they encounter. You do have my sympathies, however I wish you could find other means to gratify your desperate need for attention in ways that will not be self destructive, mystify others and hurt those who love you.
Michele Reed
Sulphur, LA

HollyB said...

actually people with Depression and Manic-Depressive Disorder DO have the means to control their disorders. WE KNOW when our moods are going through cycles and when we need a medication adjustment.
Those of us with a scintilla of insight have come to terms with the reality of the need for medication for the rest of our lives.
So do NOT presume to lump people with YOUR disorder together with ME. I take responsibility for the state of my mental health. Try taking some PERSONAL Responsibility for your life instead of WHINING, "I can't help it."

Sean said...

Michelle, yes, i am familliar with OI. And no, BIID is not about attention.

Holly, you misread me. You have no control over the fact you have depression/bipolar. You do have control over managing those conditions, through medication.

The problem is, there is no medication that helps with BIID. There is no therapy that helps with BIID. This is not just me saying so, but numerous researchers, including Dr. Michael First, the lead editor of the DSM.

As for personal responsibility, I don't need to justify myself to you, but after 20+ years of working on psychotherapy and attempting *numerous* courses of prescribed medication to manage BIID, I feel confident that I've done everything I could, short of becoming a para.

You don't have to agree. I don't expect you to. But don't you go judging me and those of us with BIID without taking the time to at least try and understand BIID with an open mind.

now, y'all flame me all you wish, I'm done here. be happy.

Mauser*Girl said...

Discussion about BIID aside, I have a guess as to the identity of the foot-removing psychopath: it is, of course, Stacey London, from TV's "What not to Wear".

We all know that Stacey despises (!!!) athletic shoes, and as all the shoes shown are obviously athletic shoes, this is Stacey's "wear a high heel or loose a foot" approach to ridding the world of comfortable footwear!

(tongue firmly planted in cheek)

B said...

wow, great post.
If you haven't already I urge you to read "geek love".

phlegmfatale said...

sean - It's ironic that you'd use google to seek out a forum to comment on BIID and then accuse others of ranting who haven't. I understand it must be intensely frustrating to feel "cursed" with a full compliment of tragically "properly" functioning body parts.

Lots of people feel alone and disenfranchised in life, and they suck it up and fight through every day. Each person must determine what their own purpose in life will be. Many of us don't want to get out of bed and go to jobs we hate every day, but we do, because we enjoy not being homeless, for example and for many, a job well done is its own reward despite its unpleasant aspects.

I FEEL like I'm a millionaire, and I FEEL like I am six feet tall with five feet of that being leg. The reality, though, is that I earn modest wages and am barely over 5'. Do I just sit home and whine? There's no medicine to fix the way my self-perception skews with reality. Do I file for gubmint assistance because I just can't cope? Do I rage against machines?

I choose to suck it up and make my way through life the best I can. In my way and as I know you have done, I have my own familial and social network which helps to keep me sane.

I suggest you will be happier if you refrain from running around the internet seeking out people with whom to argue regarding the nature of your condition. You no doubt feel persecuted enough on a daily basis in meatspace, and your initial comment was not designed to win people over to your cause.

You may have more success if you begin the discussion by saying "I know it seems odd to you, but here is my perspective, blah blah blah" rather than making "oh no you didn't! type comments.

In conclusion, I will mention the young woman who commented earlier-- Michele Reed. She is my sister's best friend since childhood, so I've known her for many years. She happens to be one of the most gorgeous, brilliant and dynamic people you'll ever meet. She's ambitious and well-regarded in her field-- one of the most successful people I can think of. And she has accomplished all this in spite of OI, rather than because of it. I would suggest that if you feel mentally "crippled" by your urge to be an amputee, you might take instructive lessons from people in the world who persevere in spite of their discernably disabling diseases/disorders and make something of your life anyway. People like Michele are a beacon to us all, differently-abled or not.

Again, I do genuinely wish you well and I hope you one day will resolve your problems in a safe and healthy way which helps you to be an inspiration to others.

phlegmfatale said...

You know, on second thought, Sean, I'm sure you're frustrated because there IS no sympathetic approach to explaining your condition to non-transabled people, and I apologize for suggesting that any approach would make people open to listening to you.

breda said...

I really really dislike people who do searches for blog topics, visit stranger's blogs, comment, cause drama and then run away. Cowards.

And hoo boy, am I ever working on a blog post. You betcha.

Kelly said...

You know, I thought Dieter was weird, but this takes the cake.

Seriously, I don't even know what to say. I've just spent eight weeks with broken bones and I'm speechless that someone would feel the "need" be be hurt/paralyzed/lose a limb.

I'll be completely honest here and say that both sides have blown everything out of proportion and overreacted. I think I'll leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

It's strange alright.

Great post!

Unknown said...

Really the problem of Sean is that he is alone with his massage. So every morning he must cry it out. This poor chap should work much more harder...

Anonymous said...

I suspect that there is something in the brain that causes people to feel that body parts or limbs aren't really a part of them.

I would hope that someday there will be a treatment other than cutting off limbs, or severing spinal cords that would work. But so far that hasn't happened.

Sometimes it happens that people limbs or bodies start to feel very alien to them after a stroke. It's possible that people with BIID might have been born with a similar form of brain damage.

Either way it seems that they aren't doing it for attention, or because they lack other issues in life. And it doesn't seem like something people can just chooe to get over by therapy or by being better people, or by looking at the difficulties of living in a wheelchair.

Even as a person who is being treated for auditory processing issues, there is a part of me that could sort of understand why some hearing people might wish they were deaf. I never wanted to be deaf personally, but I could understand how it could take that direction in some folks with APD.