Yesterday, I was supposed to die

Yesterday, I was supposed to die.

Yes, you read that right. No, I’m not sick … actually, maybe I am, or was … I don’t know. But yesterday, May 17th, was going to be the day I ended my life.

Following the final breakdown of my marriage, I moved out Dec 26th and on Jan 1st I decided to make a suicide plan. May 17th would be our 14 year wedding anniversary, and also the day our divorce would be finalized. It just seemed fitting that it would be the day I ended too.

Before I get too carried away, I should probably back up and tell you the whole story. The entire, I’m an awful human being, not worthy of living, story.

I was a terrible husband. I admit it … it’s true. Yes, we had a lot of great times. We even had some amazing, life is the best it will ever be, times. But I also put my ex-wife through A LOT! I never meant to and I didn’t want to, but I did. I was also a terrible father. I put our 4 boys through a lot, and looking back at the way I treated them, in all honesty, I’m both horrified and ashamed. They deserve so much more than what I gave them. She (my ex-wife) deserved so much more than what I gave her too. I knew that, and I repeatedly recommitted myself to doing better.

But I always failed.

It wasn’t because they weren’t worth it to me. Countless counselling appointments, meetings with religious leaders, conversations and prayers with (and for) each other, but nothing seemed to WORK.

I don’t know that I ever really realized why until recently, having been on my own now for several months. Like I said, it was never because THEY weren’t worth it. I see it so clearly now – it was because I wasn’t worth it. I was so unhappy, miserable actually. I wanted to be a great husband and a great father, a great and contributing member to my church, a reliable employee, a valuable son, etc. and I really did try, but I was drowning and super overwhelmed. It was so much pressure, and somehow I lost myself. I know many of us do, so my story isn’t likely that different from yours. I just had a really difficult time actually managing it all.

I was angry. I was hurting. I was so lost and confused … and everywhere I turned, I was a disappointment. To my wife, my boys, my church, my work, and my parents. I loved all of these things but I was so unhappy with me that I couldn’t get my footing. I disappointed myself over and over again. I struggled with anger management, depression, addictions, anxiety, and of course, suicidal thoughts.

In fact, in the past 6 years, I should have died two other times. The first time about 6 years ago when, in a moment of incredible intuition, my wife made a choice that saved my life. I had taken half a bottle of her pills with plans for the second half a little bit later, but when I went to go for round two, they were GONE. I didn’t know it at the time but she felt prompted to flush her meds, so she did. I also didn’t know it at the time, but I was meant to be here.

Instead of knowing that, I cried myself to sleep.

The second time was last summer. My wife and I just had yet another argument so I decided to pack some clothes and my meds and sleep at my office. That night I was de-stressing by playing games and listening to one of my favorite bands, The Anchor. As the night went on, my mind kept reflecting on the argument and how I was failing at life … yet again. I decided I had enough. I grabbed my bottle of meds so I could take the entire bottle, hoping for a fatal heart attack. As I took the lid off, lyrics from The Anchor’s song “Greenbow County” flooded my mind. I have to do the best with what I’m made of, what’s normal anyway. Put the past behind, let go and move forward. I’ve got to give it my all. I can’t lose my hope. Push forward.”

With tears streaming down my face, I closed the bottle of pills, put them in my pocket, and drove to the E.R. to admit myself for treatment and help.

I understand that life is worth living and there are people who love us and we can always find a way out. But I promise you that in the depths of that dark and selfish kind of despair, none of that seems reasonable or important. And nobody wants to live in that kind of despair. I know I didn’t.

And yet somehow, I found my way through. Until shortly before Christmas when divorce became my reality.

I wanted to be angry at her, and I was, for giving up on me. The truth is, I think I had given up on myself, and she couldn’t be responsible for that and for me, anymore. She had managed all she could and gave me many chances. It got to the point where she had nothing left for me, and she was ready to move forward for herself and our boys. I couldn’t blame her, though I often tried because my grief and shame were overwhelming … and so, I made a plan.

May 17th.

I had it all planned out and was already saving for a gun. My problems became less difficult to manage because I knew it was only for a short period more. I was almost excited thinking about this plan … I was finally in control and going to relieve everyone, including myself, of the damage I had done. The world, my family, my boys, they were all better off without me, and I wouldn’t have to deal with anything anymore.

And why May 17th? First of all because I figured five months would give me plenty of time to save up for and execute my plan, and I also needed time to mend relationships with my kids and family so they would have happy memories of me. But honestly, May 17th had become a day marking my repeated failures and quite frankly, I didn’t want to live through another one.

However, for the third time, my life was saved again. The amazing thing is, this time around, somehow I found the strength to save myself. If I had to guess, that will make ALL the difference!

Wryun (Ryan) Henricksen is an ex-husband and father of four amazing and rambunctious boys. After years of struggle, he recently found the strength to choose life and declared May 17th to be RAD – Ryan’s Anchor Day! This is his story.

Questions or (kind) comments can be left below or sent directly to Ryan at wryunbeard@gmail.com

7 thoughts on “Yesterday, I was supposed to die

  1. Ryan Stipanovich

    Ryan, you are a strong strong man for fighting through everything. I love that you are sharing your story and know that you have a different calling in life and it is going to be helping others find the strength you have found!!!

    Reply
  2. Alice

    Awesome! Ryan, when my family and I were struggling and having a hard time getting our daughter to school due to being unable to afford a reliable car you were there! I don’t know if I ever told you how much of a blessing you were at that time to our family! You always had such a positive attitude and I am grateful for you. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Reply
  3. Rob Yuen

    Ryan,

    I seriously always loved to see you around the office and I always have thought you were so cool. I really enjoyed our bro outing to the Warcraft premiere and I thought it was so rad of you and kind to bring a semi stranger like me along for an awesome event. I’m happy you are finding happiness and I want you to know that my life is brighter and better because of you. Really look forward to following your journey, The rest of your life will be long and beautiful

    Rob

    Reply
  4. Heidi wixom

    Ryan,
    Your honesty is partially why you are here today. If you had blamed the world or specific individuals, you would not have made your RAD promises nor looked at yourself squarely. I appreciate you and all you have owned up to. It’s going to make all the difference.

    Reply
  5. Carol Wilson

    I so enjoyed seeing you when we came to visit George last month and thought what a nice young man you had grown into. So glad you chose to life for yourself and all your family. It doesn’t mean it will always be easy, but you have shown that you can be strong.
    Please be aware it is rarely just one person causes a break up in a marriage. When I was getting a divorce I thought it was all my ex-husband’s fault, but soon realized I was at fault as well. As my father used to say a marriage is rarely 50-50, but never 100-0. Keep the strength and faith and it will guide you.

    Reply
  6. Richard Simpson

    I had no idea you were fighting so many internal demons and struggles. Glad to hear that you were able to come out the other side of the day with a new resolve for life and your boys. It takes a lot of courage to be this open about your struggles and emotions. Most people try to paint a rose picture and are fighting issues with few knowing the real story. Need some time away or just want to get out for a bit, let me know. I am always down with doing something. Send me a message on facebook if you like. I can get you my phone and email through PM. Take care man.

    – Richard Simpson

    Reply
  7. Kim

    Ryan, my little brother Shane succeeded at suicide 32 years ago. Although It has been along time ago, the ripples of his suicide still continue today. Sucicide hurts deeply the ones that are left behind. I commend you for your honesty in writing this article. It gives me and others a glimpse into what a person is thinking in the contemplation of suicide. Even though you are a stranger to me, my thoughts and prays have been with you since reading this. I pray that you will heal completely and never consider suicide again. Sucicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Your boys need their dad and your family, friends and strangers needs you here. You have a gift in expression and can be a tremendous help to other suffering depression. Please channel your gifts and talents to help other and I can assure you that your life will be richly blessed.
    God bless you.
    Kim

    Reply

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