LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– “Why should anybody need me in their lives when look what I’ve done. I’ve ruined my family.”
Those are the thoughts that used to fill the mind of Matt “Mojo” Lersch. He’s a former radio DJ, who spent years on the airwaves in Lansing, and was also known for raising awareness, and advocating for funding and research for Multiple Sclerosis. Now, he also is a fierce advocate for those fighting mental illness, something he knows about all too well.
When Lersch was a child, he watched his own mother suffer a medical emergency, and drown in their bathtub while she was washing her hair. He was there, brushing his teeth, and there was nothing he could do to save her. He was just 5-years-old.
Her death would leave a lasting impact, one that would continue to affect “Mojo’s” life. As he got older, he’d turn to alcohol to numb the pain of a bad break-up. That led to a habit, an addiction, that would later end his first marriage. At rock bottom, “Mojo” found himself face-to-face with the real demon behind it all, depression.
“Sunday evening February 25th, 2018 would be my last night on the planet”
He set a date and made a plan to end his time on earth. Mojo spent one final day with his son, before attempting to take his own life.
“We had an awesome time, man. A lot of fun. And I took him back to his mom’s the next day. It was Sunday, the 25th. It’s around Noon. And I looked at him and I knew that would be the last time I’d see him. And I told him, I said, hey, buddy, I love you. And I’ll see you soon, buddy. Be good, okay?”
Mojo left his son, filled up the gas tank in his car, and went home and shut the garage.
“Why should anybody need me in their lives when look what I’ve done. I’ve ruined my family. I made it so my son can’t see me every single day.”
“I took all my Ativan, I think I had a prescription for 80 or 90 pills, took all my blood pressure medication too. Close to, I don’t know, 100, 150 to 200 Benadryl. So I’m not trying to O.D. here, what I’m trying to do is fall asleep so the carbon monoxide can take my life. Yeah, so. That was around six, seven, I think is around the last time I talked to my son, I don’t remember anything after that.”
The next couple of days were a blur. Lersch says from what he was told, first responders were sent to the house to check on him after neighbors heard the car running for a while. Emergency crews kicked open the door and found him unconscious. There’s a boot mark on the door left by his rescuers, which he says reminds him of where he came from, and who he is today. The rescue was successful.
Road to Recovery
“They pulled me out of it and I was pissed that I was still alive. I was furious.” Said Mojo. “The second time they pulled me out of my coma, my son’s laying on top of me watching Paw Patrol. And I got to tell you, man, can’t stand that cartoon. Favorite cartoon at that moment in my life. Because I was alive. And then it hit me. Holy cow, my son was the same age that I was when my mom died. That poor little dude. I think about that a lot. And I’m so grateful that I’m here.”
From there, Mojo began the uphill battle toward recovery. He took a trip to a facility in Grand Rapids, where got help coping with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. His first stop, however, was to get in touch with his faith.
“The first person I wanted to meet when I got there was the Chaplin. I said I just want to know one thing. Why am I here right now? Because of what I did and how many times I turned my back on God. Why am I here? She looks at me and says; because he forgave you. Don’t you think you should forgive yourself? What?! Forgive myself? And I was like, mind blown. That was a key part of my recovery.”
Sharing the Story
For Mojo, more than 365 days after trying to take his own life, his battle wasn’t one known by the public. In fact, very few people knew about the attempted suicide. That is until he went on stage during a “Disturbed” concert.
“It’s really loud. And I hear David Draiman say maybe Mojo will share his story tonight. Eleven, twelve thousand people in a room is really loud. And I kid you not when I tell you this, that room went absolutely silent. I heard a whisper. It’s time. So I knew who was talking to me. Okay, that wasn’t my conscience, man, I was my conscience with him and he said to me, it’s time.”
Mojo got on stage, and in front of thousands of people, shared his message, that those fighting mental illness are not alone, and it’s okay to ask for help.
“I spent 43 years of my life not working on my mental health and that’s what became of it. That was the result. I never asked for help because I thought it was weak. No. If you ask for help, you’re one of the strongest people on the face of this planet. If you’re in need of help, I beg you. Ask. it’s okay, it’s okay to do that.”
Matt “Mojo” Lersch is three and a half years sober, and last month, celebrated three years of surviving his attempted suicide.
He believes he’s here on Earth today, to share his story, and remind everyone they aren’t alone.
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.
You can also find help by clicking here.