Much has been made of the trouble that has followed Brandon Mashall - particularly in the recent Tribune article.
Brandon Marshall has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and received treatment for it. But many people doubt mental health diagnoses, particularly when it comes to the rich and famous, believing they're mere excuses.
My wife of five years is herself in recovery from BPD. We'll look at the illness and then consider what it means for Marshall.BPD is one of the more severe mental health diagnoses; it is difficult to treat, drugs have little (if any) effect and it messes with every area of your life.
The name isn't very descriptive, and attempts are being made to change its name to 'Emotional Intensity Disorder' or 'Emotional Regulation Disorder'. You feel the same emotions as anyone else but with the volume constantly turned up to the max. This affects both positive emotions (joy can easily turn into mania) and negative ones (e.g. depression) - which often leads to misdiagnosis as a form of bipolar disorder.
All this leads to highly impulsive behaviour - think sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll taken to the extreme. This can have hugely damaging effects on relationships with partners, family and friends. There are internet forums devoted to partners of BPD sufferers which universally tell you to get out of the relationship before you're wrecked yourself.
There's no universally agreed cause for BPD but a problematic childhood is a common theme. When they're supposed to be learning how to manage their emotions as children, they are subject to some kind of abuse, overwhelming emotions, and don't know how to cope.
All of this doesn't excuse bad, violent or unreasonable behaviour - but it does go a long way towards causing it.
So what about Marshall? Does the diagnosis fit? Is his recovery genuine or just for publicity?
To me, Marshall fits his diagnosis well. The risky, often violent behaviour, the childhood trauma are certainly there. I don't have the kind of access to know for sure but nothing that I've read makes me think this is an excuse.
Treatments have only started being effective for the illness. 'Girl, interrupted' includes a character with BPD who gets nowhere with her old-fashioned treatment, but new courses are encouraging - for example STEPPS which certainly helped my wife hugely and has some similar features to what Marshall received.
The Tribune article linked above implies that Marshall's evasiveness on questions related to his Father and his own actions show that Marshall is merely covering over his past. But if I were Marshall, I wouldn't trust a journalist to represent these things fairly, nor would want to talk to a near-stranger about such personal problems from my life. I think it's better to put it down to a desire for privacy than a cover-up.
So what's Marshall's outlook? What can we expect in the future?
Recovery really can last - particularly if Marshall keeps going with the disciplines he's put in place through therapy. It may well be, with good relationships in place (e.g. Cutler), that Chicago could be a clean slate for him. But BPD is managed, more than cured. It will take continual effort on his part, and itl'l only take one incident to blow things up again. Let's hope (and pray) for continued recovery.
Leave a comment if you have a question/thought about BPD or Marshall.