May 2, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; General view of an impromptu memorial celebrating the life of San Diego Charger former linebacker Junior Seau in front of Seau

Junior Seau's Suicide Touched a Nerve with Brandon Marshall

The tragic death of Junior Seau has brought mental illness and the NFL to the forefront.  Say hello to one of the faces of mental illness in the NFL.  You have to give Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall a lot of credit.  He doesn’t just admit to his own mental illness; he owns it and now he’s speaking out about it.

The Bears big offseason acquisition hasn’t shied away from his issues.  On Sunday, he put himself front and center with an article in the Sun Times.  Here are a few choice excerpts.

There are many people out there who are suffering and have nowhere to turn for help or are afraid because of the stigmas placed on mental health.

In therapy, I learned how to express my emotions and talk about my problems, then apply it to my real life. I had to work through my entire belief system, train myself how to think, not what to think, and let go of the things that had me in bondage.

This is where Marshall goes a little off the deep end.

Focusing more on this issue, we see more and more professionals doing research on the brain and head trauma in retired athletes. I respect their science and their research on CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and how they think it might be associated with depression and dementia, but we can’t recognize CTE until the autopsy.

We can, however, start today by treating the living. Treatments that helped me — but that I think we all can benefit from — are dialectical behavior therapy and metallization therapy.

Huh?  I don’t know what either of those therapies are, but they sound like something I don’t want to take part in.  Here’s the capper from Jay Cutler’s favorite target:

As athletes, we go through life getting praised and worshipped and making a lot of money. Our worlds and everything in them — spouses, kids, family, religion and friends — revolve around us. We create a world where our sport is our life and makes us who we are.

When the game is taken away from us or when we stop playing, the shock of not hearing the praise or receiving the big bucks often turns out to be devastating. The blueprint I am creating for myself will help not only other athletes, it will help suffering people all over.

We must break the cycle, and that starts with prayer and by seeking help. By understanding the pain,
we can replace the hurt
with love.

Like I said at the start, I give Marshall a lot of credit; he’s really putting himself out there.   It’s through the courage of guys like Marshall that this cycle of violence will come to an end.  It could be the only thing that saves the NFL.

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  • jrstaples1

    Boomer, you give Marshall credit at the beginning and end of your article, but you’re undercutting his efforts when you say he “goes off the deep end” and you don’t know what those therapies are but you don’t want any part of them. Actually, DBT and metallization are perfectly appropriate for those with borderline personality disorder. 
    You’re perpetuating the stigmas by criticizing what you don’t understand. I generally enjoy the blog, but this just sounds uninformed and aimless.

  • TomSchwarz

     @jrstaples1 Well, in all fairness, Boomer is a sports blog writer, not a doctor or a therapist.  I wouldn’t expect him to be all to informed about the different therapies out there.  I don’t even know what those therapies are, but I’m assuming DBT has something to do with talking out your problems.  Since the word “dialect” is in it.  Or maybe not.Either way, it’s good to see Marshall showing Chicago that he’s not the problem child the rest of the league thinks he is.

  • Obnxs1

    @TomSchwarz @jrstaples1 It took me all of about 60 seconds to do some cursory research on DBT and MBT and find out that they were:

    1 – Generally accepted treatments for BPD.
    2 – It’s mentalization not metallization as quoted in the article.

    Kudos to Marshall for not hiding in shame simply because he has a mental illness and for trying to enlighten the public to these conditions.

    But shame on you, Boomer for deriding his “deep end”. Any talk that helps to remove the stigma of mental illness is valid and should be embraced not ridiculed. Personally, I don’t believe in the power of prayer, but if that helps Marshall or someone else; more power to them.

  • BearGogglesOn

     @jrstaples1 Poor choice of words on my part and an uninformed statement.  I think it would have been more appropriate to say, ” This is where Marshall lost me…” rather than saying “goes off the deep end…” 
    Marshall turned me off a bit when he talked about CTE and said “he respects their science” when it comes to CTE, but it came off like he doesn’t really believe what they’re saying.  In re-reading it, I may have jumped the gun and started tuning him out before he finished his thought. 
    You’re right, I am uninformed about those types of therapies and didn’t do my homework.  I’ll hit the books and bring a more complete analysis next time I stray outside my area of expertise.  I hope you stick with us.

  • jrstaples1

     @BearGogglesOn Oh yeah, I’m not going anywhere. Love the blog.