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Ryan’s Anchor Day ~ R.A.D.

They say the triangle is the strongest shape because high amounts of forces can be sustained without deformation.

I have recently seen in my life, the strength that comes from three. I know if we were talking metaphorically, I would be one of the three points of the triangle but the truth is, I think I’m actually surrounded by it instead. There are three people who have each played a major role in my journey so far. I am indebted to Hailey, Nicole and Jessie. It was no accident that I felt prompted to reach out to Hailey and Nicole. I didn’t know it at the time, but the triangle was starting to take shape.

Hailey – I’ve known Hailey since we were teenagers, so about 21 years. We hit it off right away, dated for a short time but otherwise have just been great friends since. Though because of our distance (she lives in Canada) and the multiple times going off social media, we never really spent too much time confiding in each other. Until December of last year, when I felt like I should reach out to her for support with my divorce. Hailey listened to me and supported me without judgement, but she also didn’t let me get away with my unfair projection of feelings. She kept me accountable, never just saying what I wanted to hear, and without shame. She made a huge impact on my initial ability to acknowledge my shortcomings and then FORGIVE myself for them.

Nicole – I have known Nicole for many years and I was best friends with her oldest brother ever since Elementary School. She has played a major part in my journey because she helped me realize it doesn’t matter what other people think, and I should just be myself and do what makes me happy. She always recommends helpful things to read, watch and listen to. She is always telling me things will get better and that I need to keep working hard. Most importantly, she recommended I see the best Therapist I have ever worked with, Jessie owner of Blue Clover Therapy.

Jessie – I have seen a handful of different therapists over the years but I never found one that I trusted and felt good about. I wish I could say it was me who was just ready to make the changes to finally stick with one therapist, but the truth is, Jessie is really just that good. Each week she gave me assignments that stretched me little by little. It wasn’t overwhelming and didn’t overload me. I felt that Jessie genuinely cared about my progress and about me as a person. She has been an amazing source of strength and guidance in my journey. The first thing I remember her telling me is to look at this as My Journey from now on. My Journey of success, finding myself again, being a better father, a better employee, a better friend, a better person, etc..

April 5th – Something happened that night … I had carried this secret of my suicide plan for a while, and had planned May 17th as the day. However, the burden of everything I was dealing with became so heavy, I didn’t want to wait until May 17th. I was ready to end it all that night, but for the first time since I made my plan, suicide started to scare me. I laid in bed crying and praying that I would be able to die in my sleep, or that I would have the courage to kill myself that night. I felt someone speak to me and they said, “Fine, but you have to say goodbye to Hailey, Nicole and Jessie first”.

I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye…not yet. But what I did do was text Hailey, saying I was scared and wanted help. Because it was around 230am, she was already asleep so didn’t respond, and all I could do was cry myself to sleep.

April 6th – The day everything changed. Hailey noticed first thing in the morning that she had missed a text from me, a worrisome text no less, and apologized profusely for missing it. We messaged back and forth throughout the day but still, I was unable to shake the darkness. My mind continued to be fixated on my May 17th plan and as usual, I was on the internet looking at guns and checking to see how much money I had saved. During that time, a video text came in. It was Hailey, staring me in the face with true and genuine love and concern. She said, “You’re okay, you are going to be okay. If anything ever happens again like last night, you text and you call me and you facetime me and you facebook call me until I answer because that’s not okay that you were feeling that way all by yourself. So that’s the rule, and you are obligated! I’m here for you and you’re okay.”

All of a sudden, it all came together. The darkness couldn’t break the strength of that triangle and I knew I had to make a choice. Actually, I knew I wanted to make a choice … a different choice than I had previously made. I CHOSE LIFE! I wanted to live! That was the turning point for me. The following weeks felt different. I was feeling happier, I felt loved, I felt like there was hope and that I was actually going to be okay! I then chose to tell Hailey, Nicole and Jessie about my suicide plan. As expected, they each met me with pure compassion and love, and the threat to take me out themselves if I ever planned it again 😉

It wasn’t an overnight easy path, to be honest. Like I mentioned in my last post, it was easier when I knew it would be over soon. But now I had to actually DEAL with my thoughts and feelings. I decided If I was here to stay (and I am), I had to figure it out. I was not living defeated any longer. So I needed to make a new plan to replace my original suicide plan!

One night I was talking to my friend Krista, and she brought up a good point. She said I needed to look at May 17th differently now. With my divorce, I didn’t want to think of May 17th as my wedding anniversary anymore. Also, I decided it was no longer going to be my last day on this earth. I credit music from The Anchor to really saving me the second time, and I loved the idea of committing to being anchored here, for good.

I decided from now on that May 17th is going to be RAD (Ryan’s Anchor Day)! It’s the day that I drop my anchor on this earth and promise myself, my kids, parents, siblings, friends and God that suicide is no longer an option for me. It’s the day I dedicate myself to My Journey.

I decided to take it one step further and found a way to give myself a daily reminder of this commitment. I commemorated the first Ryan’s Anchor Day by using the money I saved for a gun to get a tattoo! Something I can see every single day to remind myself to push forward and to enjoy My Journey.

This tattoo  (on my left forearm) consists of personal meaningful symbols that I want to see every single day.

  • Compass = My Journey
  • Blue Clover = Jessie and her guidance in my journey (Blue Clover Therapy)
  • North / Mountains = “N” for Nicole & her love of the mountains (also the peace I feel in the mountains)
  • South / Palm Trees = “S” for Hailey (aka “SkitalZ”, a nickname I gave her when we first met) & her love for palm trees (also the happiness I feel in Hawaii, my favorite vacations growing up)
  • Symbol at the bottom = The Anchor’s band logo. Since the tattoo commemorates Ryan’s Anchor Day, I felt it necessary to have an anchor in my tattoo, so I used The Anchor’s band logo. Their music continues to give me strength and inspiration to push forward.
  • 4 Letters on top = Initials of my four kids
  • 4 Letters on the bottom = Initials of my dad, mom, brother and sister.

With this tattoo and my new plan, I feel like I am starting a new chapter in my life! A new exciting chapter filled with hope, happiness, love and commitment. It was a painful hour and a half but I am very glad I did it. I am super stoked to have something I can see every day to remind myself that this is my journey and I am capable of taking care of myself and my kids.

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 declare May 17th as RAD – Ryan’s Anchor Day! This is his story.

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

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