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22nd of June 2018

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Mental Illness Does Not Have To Be a Death Sentence! - The Good Men Project

When Floyd Mayweather fought Conor McGregor last summer, he was ringside.

When Manny Pacquiao fought Floyd Mayweather in May of 2015, he was ringside.

When Pride Fighting Championships was the biggest thing in the world of Mixed Martial Arts, he was their main English TV announcer.

Mauro Ranallo is a huge deal in the world of combat sports and pro wrestling. His hyper-energetic style, his verbose vocabulary, and his big, booming voice makes him a favorite of boxing, MMA, and pro wrestling fans.

Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller – a documentary about Mauro Ranallo. It is an unflinching look at Ranallo’s biggest career triumphs and lowest of lows as he deals with a pretty heavy mental illness.

Consider this particular gem that he dropped when fellow Tuscaloosa, Alabama native, heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder, dropped his opponent:

“And down he goes like a plate of Alabama barbecue!”

Ranallo may be the most accessible announcer in all of professional sports. You should see his twitter feed – he retweets everybody! He’s gotten me several times. (Twitter.com/ryanhallwrites – y’know, if you’re so inclined.)

I bring up all this about him, because I watched a documentary on him that opened my eyes to a brilliant and complicated man with a tortured mind.

Showtime recently aired Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller – a documentary about Mauro Ranallo. It is an unflinching look at Ranallo’s biggest career triumphs and lowest of lows as he deals with a pretty heavy mental illness.

The son of Italian immigrants, Mauro grew up with his two brothers on a farm in rural British Columbia, Canada. At an early age, Ranallo discovered that he had a prodigious gift of gab. At 16, he was seen regularly on TV on a nationally televised professional wrestling program. Sporting a killer mullet and skinny tie, one gets a vibe of a young Paul Heyman watching Mauro cut some scathing heel promos.

You name an event, Mauro Ranallo announced it.

When Mauro was 19, his life was thrown into a tailspin when his best friend died of a heart attack. This led to Mauro being hospitalized for his erratic and unpredictable behavior following the tragedy.

This was also the time when Ranallo was first diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder.

Also known as manic depression, people who suffer from bipolar disorder are known for periods of incredibly high energy, followed by some dangerously deep lows. Suicide rates of the bipolar are also high – 6% within 20 years.

Keep this in mind, I’m no psychiatrist. I’m no expert at this. But I know human nature incredibly well. I know what it’s like to have a severe hatred for the man in the mirror.

Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller is raw, unflinching, and quite difficult to watch at points. But I cannot recommend it enough.

One particularly poignant section was following that Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. He just had the biggest night of his career and got rave reviews for his work.

One would think someone would be flying high after a night like that.

Mauro fell into a pretty deep depression and expressed some suicidal thoughts to the camera that night. He was incredibly self-critical about his performance and that pulled him into a dark and deep hole.

I often write in this space about how I believe that men need to step up and be kings in the world. Show the world your truth, and you’ll be accepted, respected, and loved all the more for it.

That documentary showed me a truth about someone that was really difficult to watch and be with. And while I have always been a fan of Mauro the announcer, I’m an even bigger fan of Mauro the man now.

There’s a king, for ya!

Here are a few coaching-related lessons I learned from watching Rock ‘N’ Roller that I want to pass along to you. This is simply what I got from this, so your kilometers may vary.

1.Know your truth, accept your truth, and the world will know and accept you.

I find that many men are terrified to talk about their feelings. I mean, I see it every day with the men I coach. I can tell within 5 minutes of talking to someone if they’ve accepted their truth. Mauro knows that he’s a guy who has bipolar disorder. That’s what he is. Who he is a man who is the best in the world at what he does for a living with a fanbase who adores him.

2.Once you know your truth and accept your truth, understand that your truth may not always be pretty.

To me, this was the biggest takeaway from the documentary. Here was a guy who is at the highest of the highs of his chosen profession, and he still struggles with his mind holding him hostage. And we saw that in some unpretty ways.

3.Find your passion and sink your claws, teeth, and your soul into making it happen.

Ranallo knew from an early age that he had the gift of gab. His storytelling prowess is a gift. His voice is a weapon. He knows it. And he admitted in the program that his work is his therapy!

4.Take care of yourself!

If you need medication, take your medication! If alternative medical remedies could support you, find those (he has.) But if your wellbeing isn’t rock solid – mind, body, and spirit – than any chemical imbalance your brain may have will just get put on loudspeaker. Eat well, exercise, love your body and your brain will love you back!

I used to believe that falling into depression or anxiety proved that I was defective. And nobody likes to spend time around anyone who is deemed as defective.

Judging by how he showed up in this documentary, I assert that Ranallo has similar feelings.

“Mental illness may be a life sentence for some of us. But it does not have to be a death sentence.”

Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller paints a picture of a brilliant man. It paints the picture of a masterful storyteller. It paints a picture of a man who fell in love with his passion and he’s made it his life.

Most importantly, I believe it shows that those of us who have mental health issues – no matter the level – we are not broken. We’re whole and complete, but we just may need a little extra love.

Before we wrap up, one disclaimer. As a life coach, I have no problem working with someone who has extra needs like this. The only thing I ask is – follow your treatment plan, however that looks. Just because you may have mental health needs doesn’t mean you also don’t have goals, hopes, dreams, and relationships you want to power up.

I’ve got three spots open right now in Royal Hearts Coaching. Grab yours today and power up your life!

[email protected] is my email. Email me to schedule a sample coaching session so we can superpower your life together.

“Mental illness may be a life sentence for some of us. But it does not have to be a death sentence.”

Mauro Ranallo has proven that help is out there. He’s living a full, rich, life doing what he loves for a living.

While he’s been hospitalized several times for his bipolar disorder, he’s not letting it stop him from living a great life.

He’s committed to ending the stigma of mental illness, one step at a time.

Mauro, if you’re reading this, there’s an open invitation waiting for you to join me on the Be a King podcast to tell your story. I admire your story and how you’ve overcome this adversity to become the Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller!

Mama Mia! Go watch this documentary!

Photo by Joe Hernandez on Unsplash

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