Last month, a South Carolina woman shocked the world when she gouged out both of her eyes while hallucinating on drug episode. Now, Kaylee Muthart has explained what drove her to blind herself, and scientists say there is a long history of people who've done the same thing while on drugs.
As a 19-year-old, Muthart felt extremely lonely after a breakup, which led her to experiment with drugs. First Muthart was just drinking and using marijuana; however, she eventually delved into the world of methamphetamine.
While on a meth bender in February, Muthart began experiencing drug induced hallucinations which made her feel that she needed to make a sacrifice to become closer to God.
“It was then I remember thinking that someone had to sacrifice something important to right the world, and that person was me. I thought everything would end abruptly, and everyone would die, if I didn't tear out my eyes immediately. I don't know how I came to that conclusion, but I felt it was, without doubt, the right, rational thing to do immediately,” the 20-year-old wrote in Cosmopolitan.
Outside of a church in Anderson, Muthart ripped both of her eyes of their sockets.
“So I pushed my thumb, pointer, and middle finger into each eye. I gripped each eyeball, twisted, and pulled until each eye popped out of the socket — it felt like a massive struggle, the hardest thing I ever had to do,” she wrote.
“I'm pretty sure I would have tried to claw right into my brain if a pastor hadn't heard me screaming, 'I want to see the light!' — which I don't recall saying — and restrained me. He later said, when he found me, that I was holding my eyeballs in my hands. I had squished them, although they were somehow still attached to my head,” she added.
Muthart was airlifted to a hospital where her eye sockets were cauterized, according to The State.
After the orderal, Muthart entered drug rehab and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She said the diagnosis was a relief.
“It made sense, since when I felt happy, I felt super happy, and when I felt down, I felt deeply depressed. The turbulence left me especially susceptible to drug abuse, my doctors later told me,” she wrote in Cosmopolitan.
Although Muthart’s story came as a surprise to many, scientists have said this is not the first time methamphetamine-fueled hallucinations have driven someone to self-harm.
Over the past 50 years, there have been over 50 documented cases of complete or partial self-enucleation, an extreme form of self-mutilation, according to a 2012 study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
"All of these patients have had a psychotic episode and developed delusions about their eyes," Matthew Large, coauthor of the study and conjoint professor of psychiatry at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, told BuzzFeed News.
Muthart may have been permanently blinded by her episode, but she is still ambitious to turn her life around.
“I still want to go to school to become a marine biologist — although I’m blind, I can still go underwater to feel the pressure and deepness,” she said.
“I'd rather be blind than dependent on drugs.”
(Photo: Douglas Sacha/Getty Images)