Everyone in this world plays a role.

Mothers. Fathers. Brothers. Oil executives. Politicians.

Though I wasn’t diagnosed until my early twenties, I can see tendrils of my Borderline Personality Disorder reaching into my late teens. With the interpersonal conflict I battled thanks to the disordered thinking, I had a hard time finding my role in many settings. I had no social group to speak of. I was bullied regularly.

By the time I was out of high-school I battled severe depression. The further away I got from high school, the greater my mood volatility became. I was a ship at sea facing a storm. I had no rudder and no captain. I was lost.

In high-school, the only time I felt at ease when I was on the water. I was learning skills to potentially save lives. Lifeguarding after high-school seemed a natural extension, and then once I moved to Alberta I got into EMS. I loved the job, but because of my lack of interpersonal skills, I never lasted very long. I found my role in life, but still remained challenged by the illness.

When Lynn and I met, I knew she was the one. Despite some hiccups when we first started dating, she became a major leveling influence on me. I flourished and gained nearly a decade of stability. I wasn’t without my challenges interpersonally, but I found my role as a husband, and as an EMT. I feel I was a good one, albeit arrogant and opinionated.

Then things started to slip. I was forced out of EMS due to my mental health issues. I was devastated. My issues had become too much, and even Lynn’s stabilizing influence couldn’t level me out.

Over the last five years, I have struggled. I’ve had many bouts of self-harm. I’ve been at the edge of the abyss. I’ve been there, but I didn’t stay there. I was pushed when I was down, and then pushed myself when I was feeling a little better.

I still struggle, but generally things have been less volatile. I’ve had amazing supports behind me, and I have created a new role for myself, as a chronicler, a story teller, a history keeper.

Life is still far from perfect, and way different than the life I envisioned for myself and for Lynn. However, life moves on, and as people we can step back from the abyss, and adapt, or we can allow ourselves to be swept over the edge.


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