Rare condition sends 4-year-old girl into frequent self-harming tantrums


A 4-year-old girl suffers from a rare condition that causes her to harm herself daily, causing an abundance of bruises, scrapes and more seriously health issues.

Chloe Woo suffers from Smith-Magenis syndrome which causes her to feel no pain. The syndrome also prohibits her from sleeping well and prompts her to erupt into violent outbursts regularly. One minute the sweet little girl will be singing her favorite song, and the next she'll be aggressively attacking herself in a violent manner.

The little girl bites her hand and picks at her skin for comfort. As she doesn't feel any pain, she's often unaware that she has hurt herself until her wounds bleed. Her mother, 29-year-old Claire, and father, 32-year-old Jake, plan to spend $7,000 on a room with cushioned walls to keep Chloe safe from hurting herself. Claire told the Daily Record:

"She's like a Jekyll and Hyde character. One minute she is singing and saying 'I love you' and giving us huge hugs and the next she is thrashing about, self-injuring and being aggressive. If she didn't have this condition she would be able to share a room with her little brother. But even me – the closest person to her – walking into her bedroom is enough to trigger a meltdown."

SMS, a chromosomal disorder that prevents the release of a hormone that induces sleep, is an incredibly rare condition. In fact, Chloe is believed to be one of only 600 people in the world who suffer from it. One time, Chloe even knocked herself out by hitting her head against a wall when her mother put a hat on her little brother, Jamie. Claire said:

"She just got up and threw herself so hard into the wall, smashed her head and fell to the floor. I just panicked. She was only out of it for a few seconds but it felt like a lifetime. When she has an age-related tantrum it's different, because she is looking for a reaction. But when she's having a meltdown, she doesn't look at you at all. She almost looks scared herself, because she doesn't know why it's happening. Sometimes it lasts for just a few minutes but sometimes it lasts all day."

Even the smallest of random events such as the sound of a pen dropping or the change in pavement color on a street can trigger Chloe's self-harming meltdowns. Claire said:

"Afterwards, she always comes to me and says, 'I'm sorry, mummy', and gives me a big hug. It nearly always brings a tear to my eyes when she apologizes, because she has no control over her actions. She's probably the most affectionate, loving little girl I've ever met. She loves her little brother to pieces and she's trying to teach him sign language."

Watch this video to learn about a little girl with a similar self-harming condition:

The Little Girl Who Doesn't Feel Pain
The Little Girl Who Doesn't Feel Pain

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Originally published