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Family Guidance Blog

NFL Bear’s Brandon Marshall Sports Green Shoes in Support of Mental Health Awareness

Mental illness can affect anyone regardless of income, sex, or ethnicity. No one knows this better than Brandon MarshallBrandon Marshall who plays wide receiver for the Chicago Bears. Marshall was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in June 2011. Marshall says that mental illness is something that impacts all of us as human beings, regardless whether it’s something that is experienced personally, with family or friends, or within the greater community.

That’s why the football star made a risky move and wore green shoes originally banned by the NFL at the October 10 game where the Bears battled the New York Giants. Marshall said the shoes were to bring awareness and support to Mental Health Awareness Week. Prior to the game, the NFL sent Marshall a letter backing off the original ban but advised that it would issue a hefty fine for breaking the rules. And indeed, it did – Marshall was later fined $10,500, which he said he planned to match with a donation to his charity, the Brandon Marshall Foundation and Project Borderline.

It is estimated that as many as 20 percent of the population has some type of mental health problem. Yet, the topic continues to remain something that is difficult for some people to talk about. Marshall hopes to change all that by publicly sharing his own personal journey with BPD and doing his part to raise awareness for those silently living with mental illness for fear of confronting stigma.

For a long time, Marshall didn’t know what was causing his volatile mood swings, lack of joy despite his career success, feelings of loneliness and boredom, and intense fear of abandonment. He described his diagnosis as a light in his “dark room,” allowing him to better understand his thoughts and emotions. For some, BPD leads to self-harm behaviors and suicidal tendencies.

Marshall has said that football is not his purpose in life, but rather his platform to raise awareness and help for others also living with mental illness. If you or someone you know just feels that something isn’t quite right, don’t ignore it. Contact Family Guidance Center to learn more about issues affecting mental health.


What Do You Know about Borderline Personality Disorder?

10047180_sFor those affected by mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) it can seem as if the world has rejected them and that people just don’t understand – and that’s probably because many don’t. This lack of knowledge is what keeps apprehension and negative stigma alive when it comes to confronting BPD. But May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month, and each of us has the opportunity to help tear down barriers that make it more difficult for those living with the disorder to seek help.

According to a recent Psychology Today article, about six percent of people across the globe have BPD. Tragically, nearly 10 percent of those affected will die by suicide. BPD is a serious psychiatric disorder and is responsible for about 20 percent of inpatient psychiatric visits. Those affected may exhibit the following:

  • Severe mood swings and fits of rage. Unlike bipolar disorder, BPD is characterized by mood disruptions that come on quite suddenly and occur with regularity. Someone with the disorder may cycle through the full gamete of emotions within just a few hours, being happy one minute and depressed the next. Though those with BPD crave affection, their outbursts of anger can be detrimental to the very relationships they are so desperate for.

  • Compulsivity. A person with BPD may develop a shopping or gambling addiction, engage in risky sexual behaviors, steal on a whim, or abuse drugs or alcohol.

  • Feelings of emptiness and fear of abandonment. Because many have trouble ascertaining their own identity, those with BPD are often insecure and have a strong fear of being rejected by those they care about, even if those fears are irrational or based on false perceptions.

  • Self-harm and suicidal tendencies. One source reports that about three-quarters of individuals with BPD who pursue treatment have inflicted self-harm of some type. These individuals are also more susceptible to suicidal thoughts and behaviors than others.

  • Split thinking. To a BPD person, the world is black and white – people and situations are either 100 percent bad or 100 percent good, and there is rarely an in between.

This month the Family Guidance Center would like to join in raising awareness for BPD because awareness provides hope. Those with BPD have to work through their own issues and emotions without having the added stress of societal stigma and being misunderstood. Learn the facts about borderline personality disorder. And if someone you know exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned, encourage them to contact the Family Guidance Center.