On January 9, 2018, life came crashing into me out of nowhere and rocked me to my core. Literally. I was hit from behind in a motor vehicle accident on my way to work that morning and sustained a concussion and a traumatic brain injury. And I haven't been the same since... it's been super hard to accept and to share with the world. But, it's honest and transparent. It’s my TRUTH.
For years, I struggled with chronic pain and headaches, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, 4-5 day stretches of chronic insomnia, and unshakeable anxiety. In the midst of all of the physical, mental, and emotional challenges I faced on a daily basis, I lost my job as a school counselor which caused an unimaginable financial strain on our little family. We were trying desperately to make ends meet from week to week, and we almost lost our home. The amount of stress we were under felt unfair and oftentimes, unbearable. I struggled to maintain a sense of normalcy for my family: to be the wife and mother I’d always been while also prioritizing my own recovery. My entire world had shifted in a split second and I felt like I couldn’t regain a sense of control, no matter how hard I tried.
Nothing could have prepared us for the way our lives were turned upside down or how all the unexpected medical costs and expenses would weigh on us, but I knew I had to find a way to prioritize my mental health in the midst of tragedy. I had to figure something out. FAST. My life was falling apart at warp speed and I had no clue how to even begin to pull myself back together. So I set out to do one thing for myself every day: to honor and nourish myself by writing a self- care note. A positive affirmation. A note of care to encourage myself no matter what that day would bring. Just one little note- and I'd post it on Instagram for accountability. My intention was to write them for 15 days, and here I am, four years later, still writing those notes, not just for me, but also for so many of you.
Because the more notes I shared, the more comments, DMs, and emails I received from people I'd never met. Sharing their whole life stories, their hurts, their struggles with mental health, their personal traumas, and the paralyzing guilt that came with attempting to prioritize themselves and practicing self- care. There was a common thread woven throughout each story: we are all human, we all struggle, and we could all use some extra help and compassion. We all want to know that someone cares. And that is how Fleur de Lis Speaks was born.
In telling my story, in sharing transparently with the world, I’ve discovered that my personal healing has led to the collective healing of so many. I turned my pain into purpose and I wanted more than anything to help others see that they have everything they need inside of them to do the same. I wanted to reach as many people as possible with the idea that caring and compassion can help bring light to even the darkest spaces and seasons of our lives. Having the courage to pursue my personal healing created a platform for mental health and wellness that I never dreamed possible and working with a company like Aflac for their “Close the Gap” Initiative has created the perfect opportunity to help others turn their pain into purpose and share the importance of intentionally caring for our mental health. As a company, Aflac offers supplemental insurance policies or an “additional layer of financial protection” that work to help fill in the gaps and can help cover those unexpected expenses that may not be covered by traditional insurance policies. Aflac policies can help to lighten the financial load so that you can focus more on your physical and mental health during challenging times. So that you can prioritize what is most important: your personal healing journey.
Having an Aflac policy during my recovery could have helped to alleviate the financial strain and helped give me the support I needed to move through my healing process without having to worry about how to provide the basic necessities for my family. During that very difficult time, I would have happily welcomed the relief that additional benefits could provide. The relief that comes when you know that you are cared for and better protected. Throughout the year, I’ll be working with Aflac on several projects to highlight the importance of care. And especially during the month of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. Because caring for our mental health is essential to our overall health and wellness.
I am a paid spokesperson for Aflac. Exact benefits payable to Aflac policyholders are determined by the terms of their policy following the submission of a covered claim. For costs and coverage details contact your Aflac agent or visit us at Aflac.com/Care. Coverage is underwritten by Aflac. In New York, coverage is underwritten by Aflac New York.
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