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Brandon Marshall shares his story at mental illness conference

Chicago Bears Minicamp

LAKE FOREST, IL - JUNE 12: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears enjoys a laugh with a teammate during a minicamp practice at Halas Hall on June 12, 2012 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Brandon Marshall’s offseasons have been different than other players’, for other reasons in the past.

This offseason, he took time to reflect on his own troubled past, as the keynote speaker at the National Alliance on Mental Illness convention in Seattle.

After being introduced, Marshall turned to focus to a projector, which played a clip from the 911 call his wife made during an incident at their home. Marshall’s diagnosis of and treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder makes his a fascinating read for clinicians and football fans alike.

“Sometimes,” Marshall told the convention, “you have to hit rock bottom before things change in your life.”

In an excellent read by Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times, Marshall’s again willing to tell his life story in detail, in hopes of helping those who suffer push through the stigmas attached to mental illness.

“If it’s me suffering to help thousands, and maybe millions in the world, I wouldn’t change it for nothing,” Marshall said. “It started with me falling on my face.

“If you want to change, it starts with yourself.”

The subject matter’s well-known to him, but standing in front of the conference was still new for a man used to playing in front of thousands. But that didn’t make it any easier for him.

“I still consider myself a rookie, and I get more nervous before a speech then I do before a football game,” Marshall said. “For some reason, I always get butterflies. It’s nerve-wracking for me, before the speech, because I want to articulate my powerful story and hopefully have an impact on someone.”

Marshall’s going to have a chance to spread his message this year, as the Bears figure to be in the national spotlight all year. And he should be congratulated for his willingness to share his pain, in hopes of helping others.