Brandon Marshall, Borderline Personality Disorder and how you can be more aware

Brandon Marshall, Borderline Personality Disorder and how you can be more aware
Brandon Marshall

The Chicago Bears newly acquired Pro-Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall is many things in life. A husband, an athlete, an NFL record holder, and a bearer of Borderline Personality Disorder. BPD is describes as,

“Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a disorder where individuals have extreme difficulties regulating their emotions. Problems include intense anger, chaotic relationships, impulsivity, unstable sense of self, suicide attempts, self-harm, shame, fears of abandonment, and chronic feelings of emptiness.”

Although the disorder seems to be full of dejection, there is hope. With a appropriate treatment and time, over 80% of BPD sufferers reduce their symptoms. According to some of the symptons are,

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

2. Pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).

5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood.

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.

8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.

9. Transient, stress, related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

To meet criteria for the disorder, one needs to have five of the nine criteria listed above.   Having several symptoms however, can also create problems in living and a sense of suffering.

According to Marshall’s website, some of the statistics associated with this disorder include,


  • Almost 6% of the population suffers from BPD.
  • In the US, at least 14 million adults may have this disorder.
  • Up to 10% of people with BPD will commit suicide and as many as 70% of borderline patients will attempt suicide.
  • BPD patients account for 20% of inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations.
  • At the conclusion of a 10-year study of a population of BPD patients, 85% of participants saw a remission of symptoms such that they no longer fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for the disorder.

On July 30, Brandon Marshall revealed his diagnosis of BPD. Marshall announced his intentions to share his story and raise awareness for others who are still suffering. Marshall has been treated for over 4 years with therapy, psychological and neurological exams, many of which came from Boston’s McLean Hospital. McLean, a psychiatric hospital, is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best hospitals for mental health care and research, has been a proprietary relief for the 27yr old.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Marshall underwent three types of treatment. He met on a daily basis with clinicians and fellow BPD patients for at least four hours a day learning how to properly process his emotions. He’s discovering things like mindfulness, radical acceptance, distress tolerance, which comes naturally to most, but doesn’t to someone suffering from BPD.

Now Brandon is a Chicago Bear. He has the full support of the organization and it’s players. Especially Jay Cutler, who he saw his greatest successes with while playing for the Denver Broncos. And it appears that he has a new lease on life.

“Before this ordeal I kept asking God to show me my purpose. He gave me this,” Marshall said. “I’ll be the face of BPD. I’ll make myself vulnerable if it saves someone’s life because I know what I went through this summer helped save mine.”

To learn more about Borderline Personality Disorder during Mental Health Awareness Week, go to

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  • Up to now, this was mostly classified as a disease afflicting women, the most famous one being Princess Di.

    At least Marshall, at the news conference, acknowledged that he was getting treatment and he was "softer" in public. Let's hope, for his sake, that he means it. I know someone whom a counselor told me has BPD; while she goes to a social worker, apparently it is only to "blow off steam" and not profit from any therapy. In any event, the suicide threats went down after she determined that they no longer worked.

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    Can someone please tell me what medication Marshall takes for it?

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