Why Do Some People Remove Their Own Eyes?

Why Do Some People Remove Their Own Eyes?

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In February of 2018 piercing screams could
be heard outside a church in South Carolina. A 20-year old woman had just ripped out her
own eyes. Shocked bystanders, some noticing an eyeball
in one of the girl’s hands, called 911. Later the local sheriff would say, “Most
of our deputies have never seen anything like that.” It goes without saying that this is something
you don’t see every day, but as you’ll see in this show, gouging out one’s own
eyes does happen and there’s even a term for it. As for the woman, in this case she was mentally
unhinged after illegal substance abuse. At the time of her grievous self-harm she
believed she had to make a sacrifice. Sometime later the now-blind woman told Cosmopolitan,
“I thought everything would end abruptly, and everyone would die, if I didn’t tear out
my eyes immediately.” That woman eventually was treated at a psychiatric
in-patient treatment facility. She was put on mood stabilizers, antipsychotic
medication, and was told she had severe bipolar disorder. She had to learn to live again, this time
by navigating the world without her sense of sight. She said in an interview, “Activities I
used to enjoy, like playing guitar and learning piano, are going to be harder now that I’m
blind, but I’m still optimistic. When I stub my toe or my knee, I think, Well,
it probably saved me from walking into a wall and hitting my face.” Statistics differ, but it’s thought that
in the USA around one in four teenage girls self-harm in some way. It’s said fewer males engage in self-mutilation,
but around one in seven have done it. This kind of behavior usually starts in the
early teens for both sexes, and sometimes carries on into the person’s 20s. The cases are not usually as extreme as the
girl we just talked about, but a lot of people will hurt themselves in some way when they
are young, with the reason for doing such a thing often being an underlying mental disorder,
or perhaps a coping mechanism for trauma. That trauma is often related to physical abuse. You’ll often hear people sometimes called
“cutters” saying that the act of self-mutilation brings some kind of peace to them. What’s also interesting is that animals
in cages have been known to self-harm, and within the prison population it’s also quite
common – especially during stints of solitary confinement. So we know that self-harming is hardly unusual,
and we would hope that if you feel like doing it, don’t do it, and talk to someone first. Some kids in school just scratch themselves. Others slice themselves with knives, but not
so deep the cuts require a hospital visit. Some others may even pull out their own hair,
something known as trichotillomania. But pulling out your own eyes, blinding yourself
to the world you know; to intentionally disable yourself like that, preventing you from ever
seeing faces again or a rainbow slowly emerging after a rain shower, this is perhaps the worst
form of self-mutilation there is. Yes, people have been known to amputate their
own healthy limbs, known as body integrity identity disorder. People also take their own lives, but to disable
one’s vision is so extreme it’s something most people just cannot fathom. We went to the U.S. National Institutes of
Health to better understand such a condition. It presented us with a case of attempted Bilateral
Self-Enucleation. That’s the term used for gouging out your
own eyes, what NIH called “a rare but devastating form of self-mutilation behavior.” In this case a 52-year old man had tried to
rip out his eyes in his bedroom, and then called his son into the room at some point. We can only imagine what trauma this caused
to the son. The man later said he had been instructed
by God to remove his eyes, and that it was what he had to do to cleanse himself of his
sins. NIH wrote, “The patient was transferred
to the ER by ambulance and appeared calm. The son reports that the patient had been
acting strange and displayed decreased appetite and increased wakefulness.” It’s said he was calm on the way to the
hospital, and appeared well-groomed and well-dressed. It’s also said he had been diagnosed with
bi-polar disorder a number of years before this event and had at least one time attempted
to take his own life. While still calm in hospital he declared,
“I do not feel any pain or remorse, I feel I have done the right thing. It was what I was supposed to do and I am
cleansed now.” We have seen the picture of the damage he
caused himself, and it’s not a pleasant sight. The man underwent many surgeries, but he had
caused irreparable damage. It took weeks before he finally admitted he
felt some regret for what he had done. NIH tells us that there have been cases of
people who have attempted self-enucleation, had their hacked-at eyes surgically fixed,
and then later tried again. While rare, it happens more than we would
think. Mental issues are of course to blame, because
what entirely sane person would attempt to remove their own eyes. That’s how the experts see it. While self-harming in less extreme ways might
not be related to a profound mental illness, self-enucleation is. As we said, some of these patients relate
their need to eye-gouge to God. NIH tells us that some patients who have done
this have been known to quote the New Testament in the Book of Matthew 5:29. “If thy right eye causeth thee to stumble,
pluck it out, and cast it from thee.” We are quite sure this is where Bill the Butcher’s
line came from in the Martin Scorsese movie “Gangs of New York.” That didn’t happen in real life, though,
and the real Bill the Butcher was just beaten so badly he lost an eye. We digress somewhat, but just want to show
you that most rational thinking people would not remove their own eye or eyes. Medical statistics tell us that 50 percent
of people that engage in self-enucleation do so because they believe they were acting
on the orders of God. Medical experts, however, believe this form
of piety or religious fervor is an extreme delusion caused by an underlying mental illness. NIH writes, “In a recent review of 60 cases
of complete and 9 cases of attempted self-enucleation, 43% of the cases were associated with schizophrenia,
25% were drug induced, and only 4% were associated with bipolar disorder.” Religion was the excuse in many cases, but
the reality in crude terms was a messed-up mind. Other disorders associated with self-eye-gouging,
but not so common, are obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, mental retardation,
neurosyphilis, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, and structural brain lesions. But there is another reason why people might
do this, and it’s simply guilt. Guilt with an underlying mental disorder. The experts say this might not always be religious
guilt, though, and it might just be to relieve themselves of a perceived burden in the worst
possible way. Medical experts have invoked the mythical
Greek king Oedipus. It’s written that when he came to terms
with the fact that he had killed his own father and married his mother, in a moment of extreme
anguish he decided to expiate his wrong-doing by ripping out his own eyes. Researchers writing in the British Journal
of Ophthalmology found that around a quarter of people around the world that self-enucleated
were not Christian and had not likely heard of the Greek myth we just mentioned. They were, however, trying to atone for something
they had done. They felt guilty. They were also extremely delusional, sometime
hearing voices, telling them that their eyes were dangerous, that they needed to go. The researchers wrote, “Each case is disturbing
and it is perhaps not surprising that doctors have sought to explain the patients’ behavior
in the secure frameworks of their religious and cultural beliefs.” They said it’s not always the case, and
guilt with mental illness can be the cause. It could happen anywhere, in any culture,
and as we said might just be someone feeling guilty and being mentally unwell in the extreme. In terms of recent cases we might look to
an Iranian man whose psychosis was triggered by marijuana use. When he was taken to hospital he told doctors
that he’d just had a bad headache after taking a lot of the plant, so had rubbed his
eye. The eye he said accidentally came out. But more was revealed when speaking to this
man, because he then revealed to doctors that he believed his father was not actually his
father, that his family were out to get him, and that he had been poisoned. He also believed that a foreign country was
building a bomb to destroy him and his nation. The devil he said was behind this. He was psychotic. This was published in a journal in 2014, and
while its sometimes said there have been 50 cases worldwide, that journal cites a study
in which 50 people had attempted to damage their eyes. So while few people might not have actually
taken out their eyes and gone blind, in light of this study we can assume more people purposefully
damage their eyes but not actually remove them. Indeed, we found another journal in which
a person wrote that self-inflicted eye injuries in psychotic patients are not as uncommon
as first thought. He said this often goes undiagnosed or unreported
in various parts of the world. In this journal a 42-year old man was discussed. He had not managed to take out his eyes, but
he had caused considerable damage to the eye area. He required quite a bit of care to fix what
he had done. Aa for why he did it, well, he had heard voices
like the others we have mentioned in this show. The journal tells us, “The patient stated
hearing commands about his eyes being not worthy and should be punished by injuring
them, so the idea of his wife being unfaithful to him is one of the reasons for self-enucleation
which can be attributed to a schizophrenic condition.” That same journal again says people damaging
their eyes rather than completely eviscerating the eyes is more common than we think. If you go the Wikipedia page for Self-enucleation
it is a very short one to read. The 50 cases are mentioned, yet there is reference
to two journals telling us that cases often go unreported. We tried to find a case in the UK and came
up with the story of a woman known as Saint Triduan of Scotland. As this story goes, she was very pious. It’s said a King of the Picts called Nectan
had a thing for her because of her beautiful eyes. She then tore them out and presented them
to him in a dish. But historians are not even sure when she
lived, and state it could have been anywhere from the 4th to the 8th century. Perhaps this tale is untrue. What is true, though, is what one doctor working
for the Department of Ophthalmology in Bradford, northern England, wrote in 2004. This was the case of a 48-year old man who
had completely removed both of his eyes. In a journal there’s a horrific photo of
each complete eye sitting in two dishes. In that journal it’s written “He was calm
and apparently in no pain. The history was patchy and his relatives said
that he indeed had a very troubled family life.” He seemed to have no history of severe mental
illness but had suffered from epileptic fits. He refused medication and wouldn’t let doctors
look at the now eye-less sockets in his head. His diagnosis was that he was suffering from
something called “postictal psychosis.” This is a type of psychosis that can happen
after seizures, and the man had had an epileptic fit before he had done the deed. The man is now blind of course and is in psychiatric
care. We found another case in 2011 when a British-Italian
man ripped out his own eyes at a church service in Italy. Three years later, and a man in Ireland just
in his twenties while on remand in Maghaberry prison took out his own eyes as well as removed
his reproductive gland. We found another report in the U.S. about
a man who had killed his former wife and two children because he said God told him to do
it. While in jail he removed one of his eyes and
later when on Death Row he removed the other and proceeded to eat it. It seems despite his mental illness he will
still be executed. In 2015 there’s another report of a man
in Arizona who took the life of his wife and then severed his left arm removed his right
eye. It was reported the man and the woman had
a history of mental illness and had even met at a mental-health facility. So, this is the grim story of taking one’s
own eyes. A story that goes back to ancient times, but
something it seems is still happening around the world today, perhaps with more frequency
than has been stated in the past. Can you imagine being so far gone you’d
do such a thing? Tell us what you think in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
Crazy Unexpected Things That Were Found Inside of People. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe See you next time.

100 thoughts on “Why Do Some People Remove Their Own Eyes?”

  1. Didn't expect a self harm awareness video but thank you, although I (was forced to) stopped it about 6 months ago.

    Stay strong everyone 🙂

  2. As you once did for the vacuous Rom, grant us eyes, grant us eyes. Plant eyes on our brains, to cleanse our beastly idiocy.

  3. Sounds similar to this group of people that freaked me out before that are into destroying their own hearing by various means.

  4. My favorite story of someone removing their own eyes goes like this. A kid calls 911 and reports a zombie walking down the road with his arms extended bleeding and groaning. The cops show up and find a local methhead ripped out his own eyes and stumbling around blind while blood poured from the empty sockets.

  5. All jokes aside, eye believe this was really interesting! This video allows me to see from a whole new perspective. I would share this with some of my pupils, but I’m just too lazy.

  6. 🎵When he found what he had done,🎵
    🎵He tore his eyes out, one by one.🎵
    🎵A tragic end to a loyal son🎵
    🎵who loved his mother.🎵

  7. Btw what i think is its all supernatural things happening. Its just science which declares them psychotic or habe some weird names on weird disorders bleh bleh… Its all supernatural and i do believe in it. The devils ask you to do a sacrifice. Well u can say me superstitious but i have done my. Own research and i do believe it is someway related. To supernatural phenomenons.

  8. How would you even… do you like put your hands on the upper part and push or something? ugh disgusting! Change the topic!

  9. Was going to rip out my own eyes👀
    Saw infographic YouTube video🤪
    Now I'm NOT going to do it thanks infographics!!😎

  10. You mock it now

    But then they become admiral of your government and have the power to control gravity itself

  11. We perceive our world through our eyes and hands so it can make sense when someone is in psychosis they'll do this.

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