Ex-NFL player Titus Young writes from jail about hearing voices to commit crimes

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Titus Young still hopes to play in the NFL again.  USATSI

Since a promising start to his career with the Detroit Lions, former NFL wide receiver Titus Young has hit nothing but roadblocks. Young, who played just two NFL seasons, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013 and was incarcerated in 2017. His off-field history has been well-documented, and in a new Los Angeles Times story, Young shares excerpts from his diary in which he writes about his crimes:  "A lot of the stuff I have done was out of my control during the time. ... I was hearing voices."

Young was sent to jail in 2017 for a 2016 assault in Los Angeles. The charges were felony battery and assault with a deadly weapon, and they violated the terms of his probation. He was sentenced to four years behind bars in April, 2017. Since then, Young picked up journaling, and when The Los Angeles Times asked him for an interview, he obliged by sending excerpts of his diary through a relative. 

"I have made so many mistakes I have become a little ashamed of being Titus Young," writes Young, who the Times reports spent most of his days in lockdown at the beginning of his stretch at Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown L.A.. "Hearing voices is no joke, it's actually very scary. I feel like someone is trying to come kill me."

There has been controversy surrounding Young's condition, with some saying that it is CTE rather than bipolar disorder. Young seems to think it's a bit of both, based on this entry from the article: 

My fight or flight in my brain was off and that could be due to head trauma suffered while playing football. 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.

This was a year after his incarceration. As Deadspin notes, a psychologist at the Crosby Center said that calling Young bipolar is an outright misdiagnosis, and it's CTE alone that has altered his brain. However, that debate is unresolved.

Young, 27, also talked about a return to football, as unlikely as it may be.

"I want to be free," Young wrote, via The Times. "I believe God has a plan for me and deep down I believe it's to dominate the NFL."

He also said: "When I make this comeback to the league, God and the rest will understand that athletes are not exempt in mental illness."

Young will have a parole hearing in March, where he will see if he'll have to wait another year to try to pursue that dream.

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