Borderline Personality Disorder: NFL Wide Receiver Talks Diagnosis and Recovery

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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall may be best known for a domestic altercation in April in which his wife allegedly stabbed him in self-defense. Over the weekend, the sixth-year player revealed why his life has been so tumultuous: he has borderline personality disorder.

During the off-season, Marshall says he was diagnosed with the mental disorder, and has now made it his mission to raise awareness about it. “The longer that BPD, borderline personality disorder, goes untreated, the worse it gets, as you all have seen my life publicly. I would have thrown away my career, and there was a good possibility my life. I’m still suffering from the consequences of this,” Marshall told Fox Sports Florida. “I may lose my wife still, and that hurts me.”

BPD is a serious mental illness that is defined primarily by emotional instability and tempestuous relationships. Sufferers of BPD may have short episodes of anxiety, rage and poor self-image, along with chronic feelings of worthlessness and boredom — a toxic combination when it comes to relationships with others.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health’s description of BPD, Marshall exhibits the classic symptoms of people with borderline personality disorder:

While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all.

This can obviously have long-term consequences for career, relationships and happiness. Marshall says that BPD has prevented him from enjoying any part of his life — his wild success, professional achievements and marriage.

Marshall has committed himself to treatment and has participated in the forthcoming documentary Brandon Marshall: Borderline Beast. An excerpt below:

Meredith Melnick is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeredithCM. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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