Kaylee Muthart is ready to explain why she gouged out her eyes last month outside a church in Anderson, South Carolina, which she says she did during methamphetamine-fueled hallucinations.
Muthart, 19, told the Anderson Independent Mail newspaper the last thing she remembers seeing on Feb. 7 was a light pole morphing into a white dove. The world was ending at that moment, she convinced herself, and gouging out her eyes would save the planet.
“I thought I was sacrificing myself for the world,” she said. “It wasn’t voices, but I thought it was real.”
Muthart goes into explicit detail describing what happened next in a first-person piece for Cosmopolitan. Warning: Her description of what she did to herself and her injuries is graphic and disturbing.
I got on my hands and knees, pounding the ground and praying, “Why me? Why do I have to do this?” I later realized this wasn’t a personal religious calling — it was something anyone on drugs could have experienced.
Next, a man I’d been staying with, who happened to have a Biblical name, drove by and called out the window, ‘I locked up the house. Do you have the other key?’ A sign, I thought, that my sacrifice is the key to saving the world.
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.
Because I could no longer see, I don’t know if there was blood. But I know the drugs numbed the pain. 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.
Muthart was airlifted to a hospital, where her eye sockets were cauterized to prevent infection, according to The State newspaper.
In the five weeks since, Muthart has started dealing with the repercussions of her self-inflicted disability. That included drug rehab and time at a psychiatric facility, where she was 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.
Muthart is already learning Braille, and can be seen playing the guitar and singing in the video above.
A GoFundMe campaign to help her recover has raised more than $40,000 of its $50,000 goal.
It won’t be easy, but Muthart believes she can eventually reach an ambition she’s had for a long time.
“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.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.