I Whistle

Timing is a funny thing.

Recently I reconnected with a friend on Facebook. We were friends when we were younger, but my mom, sister and I moved out of the city and, being a typical 90s child – and just young in general – with no social media (gasp!) or mobile phone, we lost touch. When I found her again on Facebook, I also discovered Whistling & Company, a brilliant blog and Etsy shop reminding us to seek joy and hope in the midst of darkness.

Less than two years ago, Emily lost her mom to depression. Out of the blue, life trajectories changed. A gaping hole was left. Since then, she’s been kicking darkness, depression and mental illness to the curb by being an absolute light and reminding us that we’re all united in acknowledging that darkness and heartache exist, but we have to choose to seek joy in the midst of it. Her words are eloquent, powerful and comforting.

Also not too long ago, my sister went through a serious bout of depression. What began as a relationship gone bad quickly magnified anxiety she was already feeling and spiraled into sadness and then numb. It’s something I’ve never experienced and hope never to feel, which made it even more scary to navigate in hopes of helping her out of it.

It’s gut-wrenching to know someone is so consumed by darkness and have no idea how to help. I’m a logical problem solver, but logic doesn’t help here.

Whether it was good timing or just meant to be, Emily’s words hit close to home.

Coming out on the other side of the situation (still from an outside perspective), I’ve learned a lot about how real this state of mind is.

People suffering from depression aren’t seeking attention. They’re not being lazy. Their brains are literally functioning differently. I can’t say for sure but I’d bet so many of these people want help. They want to feel well and normal and happy and motivated to do for themselves. But they actually can’t.

The very most important thing I’ve learned is that a depressed person needs help. It takes medicine or therapy or a friend or family member to get things going. It can get better but it takes opening up to someone to admit something is wrong and you need help making it right. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

My family was lucky that we were aware of what was going on. Haley didn’t necessarily know what exactly was going on inside or why, but she could communicate in a way that we knew something was very wrong. Not all families are that lucky.

So, first, I hope you take a minute to appreciate how good your life is. No matter what negative situations you’re in, there’s always a way to move forward. Next, I hope you seek help when you’re feeling any level of out of control. If someone does come to you for help, I hope you listen and give grace because that act alone is so much harder than is understandable.

And I hope you give Emily and her blog a visit. Read the story of how depression and suicide has affected her family first-hand and how she’s working to get past the grief to honor and celebrate an important piece of who she is. Support her whistling community by buying and wearing your own handmade whistle necklace or keychain. Gift one to someone who could use a light in their journey – a whistle in the darkness. I promise it will make a difference.

By shopping, you’re also helping to support To Write Love On Her Arms. 10% from each sale is donated to help encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

And from Emily and me to you: Use code ‘FONDERLOVE’ at checkout for 10% off your order through the end of March!

The mission statement says it best:

Whistling is committing to bravely seek glimpses of joy and hope in the midst of darkness. We do this most effectively when we are in good Company with fellow Whistlers who walk arm in arm together to support and encourage one another.

Grab a whistle, take an arm, and walk with us.