“I was melting through the floor as I gasped for what felt like my last breath,” reads an excerpt from Zoey Bullock’s journal that she shared in an email. Over the phone, she agreed to share some of her journal entries with me. She says she usually doesn’t talk about what happened and up until now, her only outlets have been music, journaling, and sharing pieces of her story with her Instagram followers.
When speaking to the 26-year-old cannabis strategist, there was a resounding terror and heartfelt healing present in her voice as she began to tell her story.
In 2005 when Bullock was only 12-years-old, she was raped by two strangers. “Advanced” for her age, she says at the time of her assault she was hanging around the wrong crowd, which consisted of 18 to 21-year-olds.
“I was drugged. I could feel everything that was happening to me, but I couldn’t get them to get off of me,” shared Bullock.
After the assault, she was in the hospital being treated by a psychiatrist when the doctors decided to put her on the medications Abilify, Zoloft, and Prozac to help her deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that she was experiencing.
“[The] medications didn’t work. I just wanted to bawl my eyes out,” said Bullock. “I told my parents that I just wanted to die.”
Hopeless and afraid, her flashbacks were frequent and intense. “I felt like there was nothing that could help me. They would keep switching the medications and I would get worse,” Bullock told High Times. Within a year, after trying so many medications, Bullock attempted suicide
Once she was out of the hospital, some of her neighborhood friends introduced her to cannabis. Her parents were against it given her age and the heavy negative stigma that the plant carried.
“I was pretty defiant as a young child after going through that. My parents didn’t like me using cannabis, but I still did it because it was the only thing that gave me hope and got me through tough days at school,” shared Bullock. “At the time, I was very depressed and going through a lot after being raped. It helped me out a lot and helped me connect with new friends, as well.”
Bullock says that cannabis has helped her manage PTSD symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, and flashbacks.
“I get extremely panicky sometimes over minor things. It helps me to relax. [It] calms me down so I can really enjoy the moment and be present,” Bullock shared with High Times. “When I’m medicated, I can pretty much avoid panic attacks. I still get a bit jumpy at times, but it’s much much less anxiety with cannabis.”
50% of PTSD in the U.S. is a result of sexual and physical abuse. Research has found that cannabis can be used to treat PTSD. In states like Florida, where Bullock lives, PTSD is a qualifying condition to receive medical marijuana treatment. THC and CBD can help people living with PTSD manage their anxiety and emotions better. According to an article by the Echo Connection Organization, “The cannabinoids block the continuous retrieval of the traumatic event, thus enhancing its extension and reducing its associated anxiety.”
Now, as Bullock continues to learn and grow, she is using cannabis to create music, run a thriving business, and encourage other sexual assault victims to find joy again. On her Instagram, where she is known as Betty Chronix, the green-haired entrepreneur makes it known that she is a survivor, and her goal is to help change cannabis culture through “authentic connection”.
In one of her journal entries she writes:
My 5-year-old self was fearless. As I get older and more connected with my purpose, I am becoming more of my 5-year-old goddess-self who wanted world peace and happiness. Cannabis was the missing link that connected me to my destiny.
After her assault, Bullock had to relearn the power of vulnerability. She had been forced to grow up at a young age, which caused her to become closed off. As she got older and explored her relationship with cannabis more, she acknowledges that in order to heal she had to share her story.
Another one of Bullock’s journal entries reads:
I was 12 and never really told anyone how I really felt or what happened to me. In high school […] and all the way through my masters, I never told a soul how much pain I was still holding onto. To this day, I still jump when doors open or wake up crying from flashbacks. But what makes it worth it is finally sharing my story to help others heal. Everyone knew I was successful but what they didn’t know was how I healed after being drugged and raped, as I held onto the pain in silence for so many years.
“When I started opening up, I realized that there were so many people that had been raped and faced trauma,” Bullock shared. “Sharing my story inspired them to feel comfortable with theirs, [make it apart] of their personal brand, and [use it as fuel for] what they want to accomplish in life.”
Her story is a tough one to share, but Bullock is finding peace through cannabis. She hopes to become an icon in the industry by encouraging others to explore creative outlets. She teaches us that learning to cope is important and that cannabis can be used as a tool for self-love and discovery. By first being honest with herself, she is rewriting the song of her life and encouraging others to do the same.