“It’s not worth it.”: Suicide survivor shares story of resilience

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 10:18 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - One year after attempting to take his own life, a suicide survivor is sharing his story in hopes of inspiring others and to let you know that you’re not alone.

“You aren’t going to think of it, but the damage it does to your family; I think that’s the most hurtful thing I’ve ever done to anybody,” Monte Ekern said.

Ekern’s story starts on Oct. 20, 2021 with a bad day at work which ended at the bar for what was supposed to be ‘just one drink.’

“Lost track of time, lost track of how many ‘ones’ I had. That was after 10 years of sobriety,” Ekern said.

Born in Kathryn, ND, Ekern says he struggled with heavy drinking for nearly three decades, so, he says his relapse had him feeling like a failure.

“When I got home, I picked up a gun and shot myself.” Ekern said.

Ekern’s son-in-law later found him on the floor prompting Ekern to be rushed from hospital after hospital for life-saving care and surgeries, before going on to spend five months in intense therapy and rehab.

“It’s not worth it,” Ekern said.

“You don’t realize until something happens how much you need somebody. Neither one of us will ask for help which is what got him into this in the first place,” Ekern’s wife, Marion said. The Ekerns now live in Nebraska and have been together for just over seven years.

“Thankfully we have more years to come,” Marion smiled.

If anything, the Ekerns say they hope others take away just one thing from sharing their story: There’s help out there.

“We all fall off that wagon occasionally and you just have to get right back on it,” Marion said.

They say they want others to know tomorrow is a better day, and urge those struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts or addiction issues to reach for a friend instead of a bottle.

“If you’re going through hell, keep on going. Don’t look back,” Ekern said.

Ekern has at least three more surgeries to undergo to help reconstruct his nose and lips. The first of those procedures is set to happen in February.

If you are dealing with mental illness or suicidal thoughts, you are urged to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK or text “TALK” to 741741.