A few weeks ago, a terrifyingly tragic news story circulated online: a young woman had gouged her eyes out in South Carolina while high on meth. The graphic story, which ended with the woman going blind, served as a devastating reminder of what drug addiction can do to people. Today, that woman, named Kaylee Muthart, is speaking out about what happened to her. In Cosmopolitan, Muthart opened up about her story, like how old she was when she gouged her eyes out on meth and how she’s been feeling since then.
Muthart says she was 18 years old when she started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana pretty heavily. A year before, she had dropped out of high school to make more money. At 19 years old, she smoked pot that she believes was laced with either cocaine or meth, and the feeling of that high stuck with her.
After going through a breakup and losing a lot of close friends, Muthart found herself struggling to get through life. She said in Cosmo that she was drinking and smoking pot a lot, and that she started taking Xanax recreationally. Although she had wanted to avoid what she calls “more serious drugs” because addiction ran in her family, Muthart eventually moved on to taking ecstasy on a daily basis, and then smoking meth.
Muthart describes herself as a deeply religious person, and said in Cosmo, “While on ecstasy, I studied the Bible. I misinterpreted a lot of it. I convinced myself that meth would bring me even closer to God.”
After only a few months of smoking meth, she began snorting it, then shooting it up. She surrounded herself with other drug users, and convinced herself that she had control over the situation.
Muthart had moved out of her home at 17, but she still kept in touch with her mother, who could see her daughter was struggling with mental health issues and drug addiction. Muthart said in Cosmo that her mom wanted her to go to rehab, but she refused, and so her mom spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to get Muthart committed.
On February 4th, at 20 years old, Muthart finally agreed to go to rehab for her drug addiction. The next day, though, she bought meth and “took a larger dose” than she ever had before, she says. She woke up on the morning of Tuesday, February 6th still high. Then, she walked to church, and on the way, she hallucinated a world that looked “dark and gloomy,” as well as a white bird on a light post. She says,
From there, the story gets quite graphic. Muthart got down on the ground and physically gouged out her eyes, the effects of the meth numbing her pain. Still, she was screaming and crying when a pastor spotted her. The pastor says she was screaming, “I want to see the light!”
By Muthart’s account, it took seven or eight men to restrain her while police and paramedics arrived to take her to the hospital. Doctors performed an emergency surgery on her to preserve her optic nerves and prevent infection, but Muthart was rendered blind by her actions.
She stayed in the hospital for a week, where she tried to take only Tylenol for the pain. Although Muthart will never be able to see again, she says, “When my sockets are fully healed, hopefully next month, I’ll get eye prosthetics to fill out my face, although they won’t help me see.”
After being in the hospital, Muthart was transferred to a psychiatric in-treatment facility. It was there she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In her piece for Cosmo, Muthart sounds optimistic about her future despite the tragedy she went through. She says she is interested in pursuing marine biology, talks about attending 90 Narcotics Anonymous meetings in 90 days, and says she joined a new church to avoid the drug users she knew at her old church.
She’s currently in physical therapy and is learning how to walk with a cane. She also has a GoFundMe page so that she can get a seeing-eye dog. She also talks about how she wants her story to be a warning for others.
Muthart’s story is a painful reminder of the ways mental illness and addiction can destroy lives. If you ever feel like you need to talk to someone, you can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
We hope that Muthart continues to stay sober, and that she is able to pursue her dreams and create an amazing future for herself. We’ll be rooting for her.