A New Zealand man struggling with depression cut off his own finger, cooked it with vegetables and ate it, doctors reported in the latest issue of medical journal Australasian Psychiatry.
It’s only the eighth identified case of self-cannibalization, and is particularly rare because of the patient’s lack of severe psychosis, the article abstract says.
The patient, a 28-year-old man, amputated and ate the finger without any evidence of impaired reality testing or substance abuse.
“Mr. X,” as he was referred to in the report by forensic psychiatrist Erik Monasterio and clinical psychologist Craig Prince, suffered from bouts of low mood, and sometimes thought of suicide, the New Zealand Herald reported, citing the report.
Once while depressed, he was attacked by two men, and fantasized about killing his assailants and eating them, the report said.
“He believed that by doing so, he would ‘rob them of everything.'”
In late 2008 after “another personal crisis,” Mr. X went into a state of depression.
“He experienced significant insomnia and suicidal ideation, and ruminated for days about cutting off his fingers,” the report says. “In an effort to seek reprieve from these thoughts, he tied a shoelace around his [little] finger to act as a tourniquet and cut the finger off with a jig saw.
“He then cooked it in a pan with some vegetables and ate its flesh. His plan was to amputate another two fingers the following day.”
Although the patient told doctors he was initially excited, in a non-sexual way, and experienced relief from his ruminations, he decided not to cut off any more fingers because of “the instantaneous benefit.”
The man later regretted the act — his first act of self-harm — “because of its debilitating effect.” I find it hard to believe that depression is this guys only problem. I have felt down many times but never ate any of my body parts.