Are you ready for some football? The NFL lock-out is finally over: so dust off your jerseys because the beer and wings are going to be over-flowing along with the cheers from all of the football fans at the Davie Ale House. And with Reggie Bush and Mike Pouncey added to the Miami Dolphins’ roster, this season is definitely going to be interesting.
Another Miami Dolphin who has been in the headlines has been Brandon Marshall. The news about Brandon, however, wasn’t about his performance on the field but rather the legalities surrounding the domestic dispute between him and his wife. But on July 31, 2011, Brandon Marshall did something that not only made the national news, but something that only a handful of NFL players can claim. Something that took more guts than anything he could ever do on any football field: he disclosed that he had BorderlinePersonality Disorder and had been undergoing treatment for it during the off season.
Saying that Brandon Marshall should be applauded for being so courageous and divulging this personal struggle to the public would be a vast understatement. Brandon brought the mental health and football worlds together, as only Brandon Marshall could do—with a BAM! He has brought the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and their world into the public eye, allowing society to be educated on this multifaceted and misunderstood condition. Having relationships with someone with this disorder can be especially challenging, especially given the chaos that often accompanies BPD. Ask Brandon Marshall’s wife and she’d probably agree that being married to him hasn’t been uncomplicated or serene.
When you’re involved in a relationship with someone who has been diagnosed with a BPD, the relationship can feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes it’s so frustrating that you’ll want to pull all of the hair out of your head, or take them by the shoulders and shake them upside down and sideways. When it’s good it’s really good but when it’s bad it’s really bad. What makes the relationship with someone with this disorder so dramatic and chaotic?
Those living with BPD live in a world of extremes: it’s all or nothing, black or white; there is no middle ground or grey areas. They are often moody: one minute they’re happy and the next they’re really pissed off and you have no idea what happened. Because of their fear of abandonment, they have a tendency to “test” those they are involved with, to see how much they care, which often results in arguments. Impulsivity is common andaddictions are prevalent. As a result of issues in managing their anger, those with BPD may have a tendency to be verbally and/or physically abusive. There are also the symptoms associated with the depressive and/or anxiety disorder that typicallyaccompanies a BPD to contend with as well.
Although this may not sound like the ideal relationship, keep in mind that people with BPD aren’t sick, crazy or bipolar as they so often are labeled. They are people: people just like the rest of us who want to be loved. Randi Kreger, best known for her book on BPD entitled “Stop Walking on Eggshells”, has a blog about BPD on Psychology Today as well as a BPD website, which is one of the most dominant websites about BPD on the internet today (www.BPDCentral.com). She summarizes BPD this way: “the ultimate tragedy of this illness is that it makes those who have it crave close, safe relationships, and then robs them of the qualities they need to have such relationships”. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
If you or someone you know may have BPD, help is available. Contact the Broward Mental Health Association, Florida Mental Health Counselors Association, American Psychological Association, or click on the link to Randi Kreger’s website for referrals to therapists who specialize in treating those diagnosed with BPD.