Struggling is not failure. Struggling is a signal, to ask for help

What Troy Knecht offered us last week, during his instagram takeover, came from the pain of lived experience and loss of a loved one.

And he’s not alone.

As he shared in his post, below, about his 24 hour run, many people reached out to him to share that they, too, had lost a loved one to death by suicide.

I think we need to get better at talking about this. And at talking about how we’re doing, when we’re not doing great. And that means we also need to get better at listening, and holding space, and resourcing our communities with professional services that are accessible to all.

Troy is helping to start the conversation, in the hope that we might spark change, support, understanding.

Troy, I’m sorry for your loss. And thankful for your generosity in sharing.

Struggling is not failure. I think our culture doesn’t give people, but men, especially, the space to struggle (and still feel worthy, feel like men.) What if we reframed “struggle” as the cue, the signal to find more resources, to find tools to resource yourself with, to acknowledge that you’re in a tight spot or a potential growth moment… be that a running club, professional advice, a meditation practice, a regular post-game drink with a friend who is willing to listen…

What might a toolbox for men’s mental health have in it? We’d love to hear from people who have ideas. (I spent a lot of time during the pandemic’s past two years in this inquiry of what do i need to resource myself? And I feel as though I personally have a much more robust toolbox, but, as my husband is quick to advise, it skews a bit witchy – tinctures and tarot cards and tree-hugging and estrogen-powered sharing circles aren’t as accessible to him. So fellas, let’s talk. We need to build these toolboxes up for you, too. <3)

In May 2021 I heartbreakingly lost my younger brother to death by suicide.

To honour him, and bring into the spotlight the public health crisis that is mens mental health and suicide prevention, I created the project “move through your darkness.”

I would run through the day into the night, and back into the daylight.

The project and its title was deliberately designed to symbolize that the only way out of dark times is through them and that by continuing to move forward, putting one foot in front of the other, you will emerge back into the light.

I also wanted to offer people a welcoming and non judgemental space where they could get together and share their stories and openly talk about mental health.

The project was not created as a fundraiser.

Instead I asked people to donate their time and to join me for as little or long as they liked.

And I could not have in my wildest dreams predicted how incredible the experience would be, nor how valuable it would be for myself and others.

I received heartbreaking messages from people who fully supported my endeavour and it’s purpose as they to had lost loved ones to death by suicide.

I had someone next to me and with me for every minute of the 24 hours. People, many of them complete strangers prior, enthusiastically joined in and we spoke about the stigmas surrounding mental health and their personal experiences.

People messaged me and told me how inspiring they found what I was doing, and many relayed that attempting to create conversation around mental health is more important now and moving forward than ever before.

Ultimately the project highlighted that most of us will struggle at some point in our lives and that it is normal and ok to do so, that at our core humans care for one another and want to support each other, that together we are stronger and that it is important to offer people space to tell their story. 

You don’t even need to know the right thing to say, just sit and listen.

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