Kaylee Muthart, a 21-year-old from Anderson, South Carolina, gained worldwide attention when she gouged out her own eyes during a methamphetamine-induced psychotic episode. The shocking incident occurred on February 6, with Muthart hallucinating wildly as she ripped out her own eyeballs and squished them in her hands while onlookers were left in disbelief.
At the time, Muthart had been awake for nearly 48 hours, consuming a dangerous combination of tainted methamphetamine through snorting and injecting. Reflecting on that fateful day, she explains, “The drugs take your fears and beliefs and amplify them. I thought I had to take my eyes out to survive and save the world.”
Despite the harrowing experience, Muthart has managed to survive and embark on a challenging journey of self-discovery. It has been a year of overcoming critics, grappling with self-blame, navigating a world of darkness, redirecting her goals, and discerning who she can trust in her new life.
Her mother, Katy Tompkins, expresses gratitude for the second chance her daughter has been given, noting the remarkable progress Muthart has made both mentally and physically. Taking each day as it comes, they find solace in the fact that Muthart’s thoughts are now focused on goals, and she has gained a deep understanding of her purpose, including using her story to help others.
After the incident, Muthart spent weeks in a psychiatric facility, underwent surgery to prepare her eye sockets for future prostheses, and completed a month-long inpatient drug treatment program. She now identifies as a recovering addict, finding sobriety less challenging because “the drugs took something from me, and when you get burned by the fire, you learn not to go back.”
Currently residing at home with her family, Muthart is in the process of relearning everyday tasks. She takes pride in her independence, even if it means learning through trial and error. Her daily routine primarily consists of home-based activities, using assistive features like VoiceOver on her phone and audio descriptions for videos. With the aid of a red-tipped cane, she attends church and engages in household tasks such as making her own coffee and cooking eggs.
Muthart has also developed new skills during her recovery. She has learned to play the piano, practicing songs by Coldplay, and had the opportunity to play guitar and sing for her rehab group. She maintains her adventurous spirit and determination, refusing to give up. Notably, she has successfully sunk three basketball goals and recently rode a bicycle with a friend providing guidance.
Her toddler daughter, whom she gave birth to at the age of 18, remains a source of joy. Although the child lives with a family friend, Muthart maintains regular contact and visits whenever possible. She cherishes her daughter, referring to her as her sunshine.
Tompkins describes her daughter as compassionate, responsible, and resolute. When Muthart sets her mind to something, she follows through with determination. Despite the challenges, Tompkins focuses on her daughter’s potential independence. In early 2019, Muthart plans to attend a school for the blind for an extended period, where she aims to acquire skills to navigate life without sight. A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Muthart in her recovery.
While the bitter reality is difficult for Tompkins to accept as a mother, she remains steadfast in supporting her daughter. She mourns the loss of her daughter’s beautiful eyes, which were said to reflect her emotions like the ocean. Together, they navigate the aftermath of a tragic event, finding strength, resilience, and hope for a brighter future.