Brandon Marshall, wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, suffers from borderline personality disorder, reports CBS News
“I haven’t enjoyed not one part of it, and it’s hard for me to understand why,” Marshall told the Orlando Sentinel of his struggle to find happiness.
After four years of psychiatric counseling, the 27-year-old football star became a patient at McLean Hospital in Boston, on the recommendation of teammate Ricky Williams. It was here that he was diagnosed with the mental disorder.
“This is the most stigmatized disorder out there, but yet it’s very treatable and with the right help, the right treatment program, the right treaters, one diagnosed with BPD, can live a healthy, effective, peaceful life,” Marshall said.
Marshall told the Florida Sun Sentinel that treatment gave him the tools to “defuse the bomb inside of his head.”
“By no means am I all healed or fixed,” Marshall told the Sun Sentinel. “But it’s like a light bulbs been turned on in my dark room.”
Borderline personality disorder is characterized by impulsive behavior and chaotic relationships. Risk factors for developing the disorder include poor familial communication, feelings of childhood abandonment, and abuse.
Those who suffer from the disorder are often uncertain about their identity and see things only in extremes. This black and white view can lead to turbulent relationships and sudden changes in emotion. Symptoms of the disorder include impulsivity, situationally inappropriate anger, fear of abandonment, and feelings of emptiness. If left untreated, the disorder can lead to depression, drug abuse, and even suicide.
“BPD is a well understood psychological disorder,” Mary Zanarini, Harvard Medical School professor of psychology, who treated Marshall, told the Sun Sentinel. “It’s not a form of misbehavior.”
Although borderline personality disorder is actually more common than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, it often goes undiagnosed due to misperceptions in the mental health community, Zanarini notes.
“I’ll be the face of BPD,” Marshall told the Sun Sentinel. “I’ll make myself vulnerable if it saves someone’s life because I know what I went through this summer helped save mine.”
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