How B.C.’s Mauro Ranallo rose to the top of sports broadcasting while living with bipolar disorder

Mauro Ranallo’s journey in the world of sports started at Global BC’s studio back in 1986.

Then 16 years old, the Abbotsford native landed on All-Star Wrestling — which was filmed at the studio that was then home to BCTV — first as a wrestling manager and then as a play-by-play announcer.

Decades later, Ranallo has become one of the most recognizable voices in the world of boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling.

“I’m obsessed with broadcasting,” Ranallo told Global News back in 2015. “I’ve always been a TV junkie. One of my first heroes was Jim Robson, the hall-of-fame broadcaster with the Canucks and Hockey Night in Canada, and Jim Ross with the WWE and Howard Cosell was a big influence on me. I’ve been very blessed.”

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There is another part of Ranallo’s journey that is the subject of a new documentary airing on Showtime.

“I was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder at 19, which I thought would derail my career,” Ranallo said. “Thankfully I was able to get help and continue the path and I think for me the buzzword is perseverance.”

That perseverance is on display in Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller, a new documentary about his battle with mental health. The film takes a frank look at what he calls the “biggest battle of his life” as he rose to the top of his industry.

“I’m always my worst critic,” Ranallo told Global News back in 2015. “As much as people say, ‘Oh, you have a great voice; oh, you sound amazing,’ I don’t think so. I think that’s what propels me. The fear of failure and the fact that I’m never satisfied.”

In one scene, Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller shows Ranallo in a hotel room after calling the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, berating himself for his performance and his inability to be in the moment.

“I’m a f—ing prisoner of my own f—ing  mind,” he says.

Ranallo has received plenty of positive feedback for the new documentary, earning plaudits for opening up about his life in the hopes of raising awareness.

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“If I can help save one life from stigma, it was more than worth it,” Ranallo said on Twitter following the documentary’s debut on Friday.

Bipolar disorder can occur at any age, but it’s typically diagnosed in the teenage years or early 20s. Symptoms may vary from person to person and over time, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Mania and hypomania are two types of episodes that occur when diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but they have the same symptoms.

Mania is more severe than hypomania and may also trigger a break from reality (psychosis) and may require hospitalization.

Symptoms of both manic and hypomanic episodes include abnormally upbeat, increased activity, energy or agitation, exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence, decreased need for sleep, unusual talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, and poor decision-making.

Other signs of bipolar disorder include major depressive episodes that are severe enough to cause noticeable difficulty in day-to-day activities, anxious distress, melancholy or psychosis.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionDepression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868  all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

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— With files from Squire Barnes and Katie Scott

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