The Dolphins' wide receiver says he was diagnosed earlier this year with borderline personality disorder, which has been known to stem from things such as unstable personal relationships, a negative self-image and a fear of failure. He made the decision to go public with the issue to raise awareness, and says he plans to eventually lobby Congress for funding to assist research efforts.
"For so long, I've been just trying to get help. I've been seeking help," Marshall said after practice Sunday during an interview session where he spoke for more than 30 minutes, the first 20 or so without taking a single question. "I've been talking with doctors since I've been in the NFL. No one has ever helped me. So I was praying there was a treatment out there for what I suffered from and there was."
Marshall told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for a story published Sunday that he has spent $60,000 on treatment for the disorder, which according to the National Institute on Mental Health is "a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior."
"BPD is a well understood psychological disorder. It's not a form of misbehavior," Mary Zanarini, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School who treated Marshall this summer, told the newspaper.
The NIMH says the disorder affects about 1 in 50 adults, making it more common than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
"There comes a time in a guy like myself's life, with everything that I've been through, that you become bulletproof to the critics and to what the world thinks of you," Marshall said. "Right now, today, I am vulnerable. I am making myself vulnerable. And I want it to be clear that this is the opposite of damage control. The only reason why I'm standing here today is to use my story to help others who may suffer from what I suffer from."