For most people, going blind would be devastating – but for Jewel Shuping it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
Shockingly, Jewel’s blindness is self-inflicted – when she was 21, she ruined her sight by pouring drain cleaner in her eyes.
Jewel, who suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) – a rare condition where people want to be disabled – believes she should have been born blind.
Before she took her own sight she’d pretend to be blind, wearing dark glasses, using a white cane and becoming fluent in Braille by the age of 20.
Now 30, she insists being blind has made her complete.
Jewel – who lives in North Carolina, America and is studying for a degree in education – says: “Being blind fulfills a deep need within me.
“When I had my sight I didn’t feel right. I feel bad for people who’re blind and aren’t happy, but this is what I want.”
Jewel says she can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be blind.
“Even as a toddler, my mum would find me walking around in the dark.
“And when I was six I remember her telling me not to stare at the sun because it would damage my eyes. After that I’d do it constantly, hoping I’d lose my vision.”