Universe With Jaz
by Jasmine Harvey
Hiya Star Shines!
I am Jasmine Harvey. Thank you all for coming along the ride of my life. My story will consist of grief, anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder.
As a child I was relatively happy. I was always well taken care of, and my mother is to thank for that also my aunts. When I say relatively happy, meaning I’ve always had some form of anxiety since I could remember. I have been through quite a bit as a young child. I remember the nights when my mother and dad would have disagreements and me hiding from the noise. Which formed a sense of “on guard” mentality most of my life. I did not start seeing a therapist until I was 27 (which I am a huge advocate for.) My therapist states that a lot of my deep rooted self guard comes from my childhood which has now translated into my adulthood.
At the age of seven I lost my father to a house fire. Losing a parent at such a young age was my first experience with death and it was difficult to fully process. I did not truly know he was gone until he was not there any longer and I caught myself missing him and being jealous of those around me that still had their father. My thoughts were that of “why and how could this happen to me? Why does he have to be gone?”. Of course these questions are not answered as a child because no one ever had the right answer or one at all.
Which brings me to mental health within the black community. It has always been frowned upon to show weakness within the black community; you would be chastised for it even by your own peers. I so desperately needed therapy or counseling as a child. My mother just did not have the resources to provide that for me; it simply was never given or just the fear of losing your child because “the need for help” was expressed. Could you imagine not only losing your husband but also in fear of losing your child to a system that is unfair and unjust? That was my mother’s fear. So, no outside help has ever played a part in helping me sort out my feelings as a child. I just bucked up and carried on as did my mother.
Losing my father was merely the tip of my emotional iceberg. It has now been over 20 years since his loss. I’ve started to notice little things here and there. Hypersensitive to how people interact with me which made me very timid.
(Author pictured on left with head turned to Maternal Grandmother and pictured on the right with locs hanging in front of face)
During school years all through both elementary and middle school I was bullied. Bullied to the point I would cry everyday and didn’t see the point of living. Can you imagine a child being bullied and the thoughts they have are that of suicide? SUICIDE! At the age of 10. That’s when it started to become too much. Too much for me to handle. All the bullying and the constant trying to fit in. It became worse in middle school. Losing my grandmother who I was dearly close to brought more depression and anxiety. Not only dealing with grief but also dealing with those who thought it was cool to be cruel to another. That’s when my self harm started to manifest. If I could hurt myself then when others hurt me it wouldn’t be as bad. This also started my night terrors. Dreams that feel so real and all you want is relief. This is something that I still struggle with to this day.
High school was my relief from the cruelty but it still left deep scars. I over analyzed (still do) everything and felt everyone around me was somehow upset with me. Wanting constant reassurance and navigating my way through my teenage years. It was rough. Rough to the point, again, became too much for me to handle. This came to be more self harm. Sitting in my room staring at a knife wanting to slit my own wrist. Make it all go away. I have done half-assed attempts of suicide. By half-assed I mean not fully going through with it but hurting myself enough to where it warranted attention. This is most certainly not to say to others “do this for attention”. No. This is not the way to go about it, but for some it may feel it is their only way to call for help when no one is listening. There is always another way. There is always someone there to listen. Moving along through my teenage years, that’s when I started to drink. My suppressor. I always had fun when I could drink no matter where it came from or who. It was a slippery slope. I managed to keep sliding through it. When I reached 19 (by this time I was already hanging out with those who were much older than I). I met David.
David became my outlet. We clicked. We clicked so well we became more than just “hanging out”. He was battling with a lot from his previous marriage so, we both wanted a breath of fresh air. It was just that. We became each other’s rock. We were ride or die in every sense of the meaning. No relationship is perfect and there were times where I reverted back to self harm to fix the feelings I had or feelings that were had towards me in our relationship. That was very early on when I did not know how to properly express myself. I became better. Moving onward after being through everything with each other for six years we married. The most exceptional day I could ever ask for. At this time I still battled with depressive episodes, anxiety and night terrors but he loved me through and through as I did for him.
We were at our most high. Newlyweds, starting a family of our own, becoming financially stable. We were at such a good spot he was at his happiest and I was as well. That year of marriage was the closest we have ever been. We both love cannabis and all it’s benefits which brought us to our trip in April of 2018. We celebrated our one year wedding anniversary in Colorado. We were on cloud 9 with our love. Then came May 16th, 2018 a part of my life that is not completely known to the public.
On this day it played out as a little normal but I woke up with a huge sense of anxiety. An impending doom if you will. David was not home from an overnight job that he went straight to after working the normal 9-5 the same day. He kissed me goodbye the night before but was nowhere to be seen the morning after. I called and called, nothing till I got a call back from him stating how busy he was. I love you and goodbyes were said. Then came the afternoon I spoke to him once more at this point he worked non stop over 24 hours. I rushed home after work to surprise him with something that I bought.
I get home and he’s already there.
I pushed the door open and he was presumably asleep on the couch. I discovered that my husband died by gunshot that day. Events play out. A year of marriage and seven years together, was now gone. All that we built. Gone. I had to start completely new. I never want to explain in detail these events that have happened so please refrain from EVER asking me, just know it’s a huge source of trauma for me.
Losing David was the rest of the iceberg, hidden in plain sight and incredibly damaging. I have now lost 3 very important men in my life: my dad, my grandpa, and now my husband. After my husband’s death I sat and thought how easy it’d be to end it and be with him, from all the drugs I was prescribed.
From David’s death I developed ptsd. The sight of a gun in person makes me go into a panic attack. Shooting of the face or head on any form of media I have an instant panic attack. Music is a huge trigger for me as well. I’ve had panic attacks before throughout my life but now they are way more intense.
I have been put on Xanax, trazodone, hydroxyzine, klonopin, and antidepressants. None of those work as well as cannabis does for me. Cannabis has helped me get away from most of those drugs. I can no longer function without some type of aide. Every time I go to sleep it’s a night terror. Every time I wake it’s pure anxiety. Cannabis helps all of that with a combination of certain medications. I have pinpointed certain terpenes that work well for different times. For example, during the day I’d need something that has the terpene Limonene and Ocimene within it for anxiety and tiredness. For a relaxing evening and to sleep I need something with Linalool and Beta-Caryophyllene in it. A terpene I avoid is Terpenoline, it makes my heart race and puts me in panic mode. I am still learning all the benefits of cannabis for myself and others through my Cannacian level 3 certification as well as being a graduate from Oaksterdam University.
I am a work in progress and I dedicate how strong and resilient I am from reaching out to a therapist after my husband’s death, my huge support system and cannabis. I am so grateful to be here today. I know there were many times that I thought I would not be.
I am in a good place now forever working on my mental well being. I now have someone by my side who supports me wholeheartedly knowing all that I have been through and makes me feel deserving of love once again even though I felt like I was not.
(Author pictured on left in middle with Aunts. Author pictured on right with significant other Jared.)
This journey is challenging but so worth it. Keep pushing and your path will shine brightly as the day is long.
I am starting a nonprofit called What The Widow!? for young widows and widowers and for those who are grieving here in Oklahoma. It is a completely unbiased peer to peer support group currently. The non-profit status will open up more doors to better help those in need. If you’d like more info please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Thank you for taking this life journey with me.
FB & IG: @universewithjaz
For donations for What The Widow!?: Jharveyportrait.com