Kaylee Muthart gouged her own eyes out outside of a church while in a meth-induced hallucination last month and is on a journey to recovery.
On February 6th, Muthart, 20, was found ripping out her eyes in front of a South Carolina church. She was rushed to the hospital but her eyes could not be saved — she is completely blind.
“That was a struggle. I can’t even explain that feeling when I found out, it was horrifying. Complete terror,” Muthart’s mother, Katy Tompkins, told PEOPLE. “I was thankful she was alive, but I knew something was wrong with her.”
Muthart claims she was told to “sacrifice her eyes” in order to go to heaven. During her hallucination, she became very involved with religion.
“I thought everyone who had died was stuck in their graves, that God was up in heaven alone, and that I had to sacrifice something important to be able to release everyone in the world to God,” she told PEOPLE. “It made the world darker, and took everything I believed in and distorted them to make me go down the path to pulling out my eyes.”
The concept of life after death was extremely consuming to Muthart in her delirious state.
“It was scary, I didn’t understand what God wanted of me, but it made me feel a sense of righteousness that I had to be the one to do it,” she recalls. “And I was glad to do it because I’ve always had a big heart and nobody’s ever giving me that love back.”
She then went on to explain the incident brought on by meth that was most likely laced with other chemicals.
“I proceeded to pull out my eyes with my bare hands and twisted them, and pulled them, and popped them,” she told PEOPLE. “I told the pastor who showed up, ‘Pray for me, I want to see the light, pray for me.’”
Muthart’s mother, Katy Tompkins, warned of the dangers of using illegal substances.
"Be very, very careful of any (illegal) drug you get because you never know what you’re going to get in it," Tompkins said.
Tompkins went on to say that neither she nor Muthart want anyone else to have to experience what they have. Tompkins “can’t even explain how it feels.”
“We’re just thankful she’s still here,” Tompkins told WTOC. “It could always be much worse.”
Ever since Muthart’s episode that caused her to blind herself, she has been grounding herself in her faith and adapting to blindness with echolocation.
“I’ll forget I’m blind sometimes because I know what’s around me,” she says. “Not down to a tee, but I know what my mom’s house looks like. You still see, but you don’t see with your eyes, it’s hard to explain because I don’t even understand it myself.”
Muthart returned home March 1 but is still receiving all sorts of treatment and adjusting to her new, drug-free life. She will have to get prosthetic eyes to “maintain her facial structure,” the New York Post reports.
“It’s the same life, but I’m just learning everything in a new way,” Muthart told PEOPLE. “Life’s more beautiful now, life’s more beautiful than it was being on drugs. It is a horrible world to live in.”
She is very positive about her current situation and hopes she can help at least one person with her story.
“I’m able to be Kaylee again. I’d rather be blind and be myself than be Kaylee on drugs, and I truly mean that with my heart,” she says. “I’m Kaylee Jean Muthart, just like I was 10 years ago. Just better.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family pay for a service dog for Muthart.