An emotional Brandon Marshall described his battle with borderline personality disorder in harrowing terms Sunday, saying his life's passion is now to fight for care and raise awareness for others afflicted.
"I can't explain to you, or paint a vivid enough picture, of where I've been in my life," the Miami Dolphins' star wide receiver said at a post-practice press conference, calling his admission "the opposite of damage control."
Marshall revealed the diagnosis Saturday night, just months after making headlines when he suffered a stab wound in a domestic incident for which his wife was arrested.
The state declined to press charges against Michi Nogomi-Marshall late last week, and Marshall opened media availabilty Sunday by saying he "wouldn't be a man" if he didn't stop the "villainization" of his wife.
"She's handled this with grace and dignity," he said, shortly admitti his marriage may not survive recent turbulence.
"The longer BPD goes untreated, the worse it gets, as you all have seen in my life publicly," Marshall said. "I'm still suffering consequences...I still may lose my wife, and that hurts me."
The 27-year-old said that his decision to speak publicly was prompted in large part because many cases of BPD end in suicide.
"My goal is to walk the halls of Congress to fight for the right help, because you guys see my life and how it played out...[Without treatment] I would have thrown away my career, and there was a good possibility, my life."
Marshall has a long history of off-field trouble, including multiple arrests for domestic disputes. A psychological disorder characterized by impulsive actions and unstable moods, BPD is often marked by unstable relationships.
Though Marshall described his childhood as "chaotic," he spoke mainly of his struggle in recent years to control the way he felt.
"I have a dream home, two nice cars, three beautiful dogs, but I haven't enjoyed one part of it. And it was hard to understand why...
"The depression that I suffered...I would go in my room and go to sleep, and that was my life for so long."
The two-time Pro Bowler admitted to having handled conflict with Dolphins coaches "inappropriately" last season, and thanked the franchise for keeping his behavior in-house.
Though head coach Tony Sparano declined to elaborate on friction with Marshall last season in light of the diagnosis, he applauded Marshall for coming forward and described the player's mindset as "100 percent clear" heading into training camp.
Marshall made a point to clarify that he does not consider himself cured, but that he is "a lot better than I was" -- and believes he can live a healthy life by continuing with the right treatment.
His honesty clearly enthralled a watching media unaccustomed to raw talk from a high-paid sports star. For the man who wants to the "the face of BPD", it was all part of the plan.
"Today, I'm making myself vulnerable to use my story to help others who may suffer from what I suffer from," Marshall said.