Thursday, 1 October 2015
Photo:Meet the woman who intentionally went blind because she loves being disabled
Her need to lose her sight was so strong that in 2006 she decided to blind herself - by having a sympathetic psychologist pour DRAIN CLEANER into her eyes.
According to Jewel, her fascination with blindness began early in childhood.
"When I was young my mother would find me walking in the halls at night, when I was three or four years old.By the time I was six I remember that thinking about being blind made me feel comfortable."
"I was 'blind-simming', which is pretending to be blind, but the idea kept coming up in my head and by the time I was 21 it was a non-stop alarm that was going off."
Determined to make her dream a reality, Jewel found a psychologist willing to help her become blind - an act which she compares to a deaf person wanting to get a cochlear implant.
The psychologist put in numbing eyedrops - acquired by Jewel during a special visit to Canada - and then a couple of drops of drain cleaner in each eye.
"It hurt, let me tell you. My eyes were screaming and I had some drain cleaner going down my cheek burning my skin.
"But all I could think was 'I am going blind, it is going to be okay."
Jewel, 30, from North Carolina, said:
"When I woke up the following day I was joyful, until I turned on to my back and opened my eyes - I was so enraged when I saw the TV screen."
But over around six months the sight in both her eyes slowly went away. Her left eye suffered a 'corneal meltdown' - collapsing in on itself and requiring the eye to be removed - while her right eye had glaucoma and cataracts, as well as a webbing of scars.
Jewel originally told her family it had been an accident, but they eventually found out the truth - causing both her mother and sister to cut contact.
However, she has been supported by her former fiancé Mike, 50, who is registered legally blind - although in his case due to naturally occurring early-onset macular degeneration.
The only thing I would want to see again is my dad's face, although sadly that's not possible as he's no longer with us.
"I really feel this is the way I was supposed to be born, that I should have been blind from birth.
"When there's nobody around you who feels the same way, you start to think that you're crazy. But I don't think I'm crazy, I just have a disorder."