Neuroscience

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Please amputate this leg: it’s not mine
This wasn’t the first time that David had tried to amputate his leg. When he was just out of college, he’d tried to do it using a tourniquet fashioned out of an old sock and strong baling twine. David (not his real name) locked himself in his bedroom at his parents’ house, his bound leg propped up against the wall to prevent blood from flowing into it. After two hours the pain was unbearable, and fear sapped his will.
Undoing a tourniquet that has starved a limb of blood can be fatal: injured muscles downstream of the blockage flood the body with toxins, causing the kidneys to fail. Even so, David released the tourniquet himself; it was just as well that he hadn’t mastered the art of tying one.
Failure did not lessen David’s desire to be rid of the leg. It began to consume him, to dominate his awareness. The leg was always there as a foreign body, an impostor, an intrusion.
He spent every waking moment imagining freedom from the leg. He’d stand on his “good” leg, trying not to put any weight on the bad one. At home, he’d hop around. While sitting, he’d often push the leg to one side. The leg just wasn’t his. He began to blame it for keeping him single; but living alone in a small suburban townhouse, afraid to socialise and struggling to form relationships, David was unwilling to let anyone know of his singular fixation.

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Please amputate this leg: it’s not mine

This wasn’t the first time that David had tried to amputate his leg. When he was just out of college, he’d tried to do it using a tourniquet fashioned out of an old sock and strong baling twine. David (not his real name) locked himself in his bedroom at his parents’ house, his bound leg propped up against the wall to prevent blood from flowing into it. After two hours the pain was unbearable, and fear sapped his will.

Undoing a tourniquet that has starved a limb of blood can be fatal: injured muscles downstream of the blockage flood the body with toxins, causing the kidneys to fail. Even so, David released the tourniquet himself; it was just as well that he hadn’t mastered the art of tying one.

Failure did not lessen David’s desire to be rid of the leg. It began to consume him, to dominate his awareness. The leg was always there as a foreign body, an impostor, an intrusion.

He spent every waking moment imagining freedom from the leg. He’d stand on his “good” leg, trying not to put any weight on the bad one. At home, he’d hop around. While sitting, he’d often push the leg to one side. The leg just wasn’t his. He began to blame it for keeping him single; but living alone in a small suburban townhouse, afraid to socialise and struggling to form relationships, David was unwilling to let anyone know of his singular fixation.

Read more

Filed under body integrity identity disorder amputation phantom limbs neuroscience psychology science

  1. togetherinsickness reblogged this from neurosciencestuff and added:
    Learned about this in psychopathology today, and it’s just incredible. Our professor said that the majority of doctors...
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    Whoa… something to think about.
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    Body integrity disorder
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