How a Liberal Therapist Helped Save the Life of Ret. Navy SEAL Shawn Ryan and Many Others

Ret. Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Shawn Ryan was deployed for multiple combat operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and more during his 14 years of service. Returning to civilian life proved challenging as it does for so many veterans, and he found himself in trouble.

After nearly losing his life while working in the dangerous drug rings of South America, Ryan returned to the United States in an attempt to clean up his act. That journey led him to a therapist who helped get him back on track.

For this special Memorial Day edition of The Megyn Kelly Show, Megyn was joined by Ryan, host of The Shawn Ryan Show, to discuss his experience with anxiety and addiction after leaving the service and how therapy saved his life.

Numbing the Pain

As Ryan explained, the way he coped with all he experienced during his time as a Navy SEAL and CIA contractor was to “numb it” with alcohol, cocaine, and “pills” like Valium, Xanax, Lorazepam, Ambien, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and Tramadol.

His journey to sobriety and healing began one Mother’s Day after he called his mom from where he was living in Colombia. “I was all jumped out,” he recalled. “And I remember after that conversation, it just hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew I needed to pull myself out of that.”

He returned to the U.S., which was a start, but he was still not fully ready to change his ways. “I didn’t take it seriously,” he said. “I didn’t think I needed any help.”

While Ryan “weaned” himself off cocaine, he continued drinking and abusing prescription medication – or, as he called it, “wherever you can just wash down to shut the brain down and get some rest.” At some point, he realized “things just weren’t getting better.”

Finding a ‘Real Life’ Angel

That is when he decided to try talk therapy. “I was extremely hesitant,” he admitted. “I thought I needed to go to somebody that experienced what I’ve experienced. I needed like a Vietnam vet or somebody that had seen action, and I couldn’t find anybody.”

He then turned to – wait for it – Google. “I just Googled ‘therapist’ and talked to two or three of them,” he shared. One of those was a woman named Amy, who, as it turned out, had absolutely no experience working with combat veterans. Through his own research, Ryan also realized she was left of center (he is to the right). 

And yet, she was exactly what he needed. “I gotta be honest, that woman is like an angel and I don’t care what her political beliefs are,” Ryan said. “That woman has saved more special ops guys from suicide than anybody saved in combat, than anybody I know, and she still does it to this day.”

Ryan started seeing Amy around 2015 or 2016. Not long after, he and one of his fellow veterans brought her a Navy SEAL plaque as a thank you. Needless to say, he has referred countless people to her since, and “now you go in there and her entire office is just plaque after plaque after plaque,” he said.

In Megyn’s view, there is no doubt Amy is a “real life” angel. “If you are just open-eyed, you can see these angels all around us who look like mere mortals but were sent here for a purpose,” she concluded. “[Amy] goes home at night and when she looks back at her day to say, ‘What did I do today that really mattered?’ Does anybody have a better roster?”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Ryan by tuning in to episode 802 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.