Featured on ESPN. Author: Michael Rothstein.
Young has been incarcerated at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, California, since his April 2017 sentencing after a 2016 fight -- the last in a string of legal incidents that led him to prison. Before that sentencing, he began to write in a diary, one the Times said he hopes to turn into a book. Young could be paroled in March, the Times reported.
“I have made so many mistakes I have become a little ashamed of being Titus Young,” Young wrote, according to the Times. “A lot of the stuff I have done was out of my control during the time. ... I was hearing voices.
“Hearing voices is no joke, it’s actually very scary. I feel like someone is trying to kill me.”
According to the Times, Young wrote in his diary about football, mental illness and trying to become a better father for his son. He has been in and out of trouble with the law since 2013, months after he was released by the Detroit Lions after two seasons with the franchise.
While with the Lions, Young got into a fight with then-teammate Louis Delmas and was suspended more than once for behavioral issues on the field.
In 2013, Young’s father, Richard, told the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press that his son changed after a possible concussion in 2011, his first year with the Lions, and that he was on the medication Seroquel. The drug is sometimes used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
In his diary, Young wrote about the diagnosis.
“Having bipolar has pretty much torn down my life,” Young wrote. “It’s been four years of fighting so many different behaviors. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t want to believe it because I felt my life was too perfect to have bipolar. Football players don’t take medicine. I’m macho. Put me back on the field. But, no, that’s really not what I needed.”
According to the Times, when Young was ordered to undergo inpatient treatment at the Crosby Center outside San Diego after another incident, both a psychologist at the center and the center’s director said Young was misdiagnosed and was actually suffering from symptoms of CTE.
Young also wrote that he’s not sure what caused his mental illness.
“My fight or flight in my brain was off and that could be due to head trauma suffered while playing football,” Young wrote. “All I know now is I’m back to normal and I take good medication and I’m not ashamed of it either.
“It’s kind of hard for me to think wisely in sticky situations where I feel threatened. Taking the medicine allows my mood to be stabilized and helps with hearing voices. Yeah, I have heard voices, as well. The voices came, and came from the bipolar. It’s usually when I let my brain relax and focus on others. I can kind of hear them.”
In one entry in the diary, according to the Times, Young wrote that he believes he has his mental health in order and wants to, should he be released, try to make a return to the NFL.
“Thank God I have it all under control now,” Young wrote. “So when I make this comeback to the league, God and the rest will understand that athletes are not exempt in mental illness. We have to live with these differences for the rest of our life.”