The day I messaged Troy Knecht, to ask if we could share his photos and recap of his 24 hour run for hope and mental health, Facebook surfaced a memory… the last photo I have of a wonderful mate, who took her life. Troy’s initiative honours someone he lost, too. Maybe that’s why his post landed so deeply for me. Previously, I’d thought, oh look, there’s a good thing happening. But after he shared his recap, it dropped into me on a different level.
He did not run one minute alone. Over 24 hours straight.
He put something out there, that he admitted was kinda scary, and the response was “I can be with you through that.”
He talked to the Pique in the lead-up to his run and explained the why behind a 24 hour run called Move Through Your Darkness:
He wasn’t looking for donations to support it, he just wanted to create an opportunity for people to connect with one another, and start a conversation around mental health.
And here’s what happened (as he recounted, in the Facebook post that had me messaging him…)
It’s not just me, is it? Can anyone else actually read that, and keep dry-eyed?
Troy shared that “the real aim of the challenge was to get people together to support one another, to share stories and experiences and to create conversation around mental health and suicide prevention. And in that regard I would say that the challenge was a huge success given the incredible community involvement and participation of people worldwide.”
For me, personally, I feel super moved thinking about the connection between mental health and asking for help and having the courage to ask for a witness for your pain (instead of going dark, going it alone), and then how many people actually did that, literally, in Troy’s run. They showed up to witness, so he didn’t have to go it alone. He didn’t have to complete this challenge alone.
I think about this a lot, because I shrink into my pain. I retreat. I go dark. I think I can only show up around friends when I’m up, because I don’t want to be a downer.
But, when a friend has asked me to witness them, in a tough place, it’s such an honour. It’s such an honour to be trusted with that. It’s hard, because it’s hard to not be able to fix things for people you care for. But to take this image with me, of just running alongside someone, just keeping them company, as they slog through something they have to get through, is powerful. You can’t run anyone else’s journey for them… but what a thing, to keep them company for a bit of it. Just so they know, they’re not alone.
And if you happen to have a fire truck in your arsenal, to power up the sparkly lights and throw a little illumination… well… I was needing the tissues at that point.