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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Wannabe

A few days ago I watched an episode of Taboo which profiled a woman who lived her life in a wheelchair despite the fact that she is able-bodied. Before my amputation I was completely oblivious to the subculture surrounding disabilities. The fact that people yearn to live with a disability, in a wheelchair, or with an amputation perplexes and disturbs me.

Wannabes and fakers (the term commonly used to describe those who feign disabilities) dredge a variety of uncomfortable emotions for me. I become angry when I think about somebody dreaming of living with an amputation. My life was thrown an enormous road block when I lost my foot. I went through physical pain and an emotional turmoil that few would be able to comprehend. Although I have learned to adapt and I am happy, I would never say that the journey or my amputation is worthy of envy!

Since watching the episode, I have become quasi-obsessed with understanding the wannabe mentality. Barring unrelenting pain and disease, why would make somebody want to become an amputee? Perplexed and curious, I've been doing some research into this subset of individuals.

The psychological term for wannabes is "body image integrity disorder (BIID)." Individuals with BIID wholeheartedly believe that they are living disingenuous lives trapped inside their able body. I have read it described as feeling like an amputee with all four limbs. They are incomplete because their body doesn't match the image in their mind.

Despite my reading I still don't fully comprehend BIID. Although it is denied, it seems that these individuals glamorize amputees. They don't factor the pain, inconveniences, and frustrations that I contend with on a daily basis. They see only the loss of the limb as a physical completion of themselves and fail to consider the ramifications of living life as an amputee.

I endured more than 20 painful surgeries in my attempt to salvage my foot. The decision to amputate was wrought with fear and was not taken lightly. If I had been offered a feasible option to amputation that would have allowed me to live a functional life, I would have jumped on it. The fact that some people resort to self-amputation of a healthy limb in order to achieve their dream of being an amputee repulses me.

I looked up BIID and discovered several groups and pages devoted to the issue. The majority offered support for those who were seeking to mutilate. I was disgusted to read threads where the self-amputation of toes to "start small and work towards the bigger prize" were detailed. Similar to the directions found in cookbooks about how to de-bone a chicken, the instructions were laid out in a matter of fact, hum drum manner.

After investing too much mental energy on the issue, I have concluded that I will never understand the Wannabe. I can't relate to the overwhelming desire that would force somebody to take the drastic step of self-amputation. The Wannabe yearns to live their life with a disability. It is ironic because, in my opinion, they are already disabled by their psychological issues. Amputation is not the remedy for this disorder!!

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