In this blog we will discuss Mauro Ranallo, depression, and his mental health journey.
Mauro ranallo: an advocate of mental health and depression
Mauro Ranallo has been a spokesperson and an advocate for mental health and manic depression or what is now known as Bipolar disorder.
Ranallo is a canadian sports announcer and commentator who has a prolific career as an announcer for Showtime, the boxing matches, Bellator for mixed martial arts, and is well known for his time on WWE.
Mauro Ranallo has been a mental health advocate and even allowed one of his close friends to document his life living with mental illness such as bipolar disorder or manic depression as a way to tackle and break down stigma on mental illness.
He has created a documentary titled ‘Bipolar Rock ‘N Roller’ where the camera capture his highs and his lows- from playing the piano during his manic episodes as well as moments of weeping and rage during his depressive episodes or his lows.
He has noted that the screening of his documentary has been a very stressful time for himself as well because he is anxious about how he would handle it since everyone will be watching it.
“I sometimes wonder what it is going to be like when everyone sees it, and if I can’t even handle that.” (Andy Mccullogh, LA Times)
Ranallo, for most of his life has struggled with his mental health often riding the highs and lows of his bipolar disorder almost everyday of his life that is wrecked with anxiety, the burst of mania and energy, and the slow descent into depression soon after.
He was famously quoted saying that his life is “a constant vacuum of negativity and fear of being exposed as a fraud, fear of failure,” (Andy Mccullogh, LA Times)
He described what most people also struggle with- that even if they are well-rounded people; “highly intelligent, highly articulate, very empathetic, down-to-earth” he still struggles with “thoughts are incredibly dark. Incredibly dark.” and often wonders where these thoughts come from.
Ranallo was expressive in his discussion with LA Times reporter Andy Mccullogh when he opened up about the fact that depression or mental disorders can happen to anyone- irrespective of how smart, intelligent, kind, and successful they are.
It has to be mentioned that Ranallo’s exprercines with mental illness started very young- when he was a teenager and since then he has been hospitalised many times for his disorder.
In his documentary he detailed his first episode and his diagnosis that came soon after his sister Jensen died of a heart attack when Ranallo was a teenager which overwhelmed him with grief and was soon committed to the hospital.
While he has been widely successful in his career, he plans to use his success as a platform for mental health advocacy and has since devoted his life to removing stigma from mental health disorders stating that.
“stigma is literally killing people,” (Andy Mccullogh, LA Times)
Along with Bipolar disorder and manic depression, he has also struggled with addiction- alcohol and drug addiction and his life has been a cycle of manic episodes marked with reckless behaviours and productivity followed by depression.
Today, as an advocate of depression Mauro Ranallo is well supported and surrounded by loved ones.
He proudly tells reporters for the LA times that,
“When I’m at my lowest, when I’m crying uncontrollably, and I can reach out to one of my many people in my support network, it helps,” (Andy Mccullogh, LA Times)
He believes that his documentary will help many people, especially men who have shunned away from getting help because of stigma.
What is depression?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a leading publication used for diagnosis of mental disorders by mental health professionals, Major depressive disorder or depression is a serious mood disorder.
Depression is marked by the following symptoms:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day- either by their own observation or observation made by others.
- Diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
- Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia.
- A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
Depression symptoms also include extremely low mood and fatigue and is often accompanied by thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness which can lead to suicidal ideation and even attempts.
Depression related symptoms such as inability to focus, lack of energy, and hopelessness can impact a person’s ability to work and meet the demands of their daily lives.
People with depression often struggle with low self esteem and self worth which can cause them to negatively assess themselves. They may fear rejection and abandonment from other people which may cause them to isolate themselves in a bid to protect themselves.
This social withdrawal can make it difficult for them to maintain social commitments and relationships as they might choose to push people away especially when they do not have the skills to communicate and manage their emotions and thoughts.
While these are some of the ways depression impacts a person, the disorder itself can cause the quality of life of people who have it to drastically decrease and in extreme cases, if the disorder is left untreated, it can lead to suicide attempts and death.
How to cope and manage if you have depression?
Here are a few things you can do to cope with depression:
Seek professional help
If you have not been diagnosed, do not stick to self diagnosis based on your symptoms. Seek out professional consultations starting with your GP who can refer you to specialists in the field.
There may be different medications- some which might work for you while others that might not help you.
Taking time to find a doctor who can help you with estimating the right dosage of medication and the right medical treatment can make the quality of your journey to recovery drastically different.
If it’s a job that is causing you immense stress, maybe it is time to consider taking a leave of absence. Or it could be your own family environment that is causing your symptoms to flare up- consider moving out if your financial situation persists.
The intent here is to reduce or remove the things in your life that add stress. If it is a certain relationship, taking the time to set boundaries or communicate that you are taking time out can be one way.
By reducing stressors, the thought of waking up and facing your day may seem a little less daunting, you might even look forward to it.
Learn and apply coping skills
If you are depressed, you can learn coping skills and techniques and apply them at least once a day when experiencing depression.
This can be learning how to tackle your anxieties and negative moods by regulating your breathing and engaging in deep breathing techniques.
You can also try grounding techniques to help you cope with spiralling down a negative rumination. Make goals for each day and let your goals be small, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound,
Make plans for your day that suit your pace- if today is especially difficult, make a step by step plan from your bed to the bathroom in the mornings. Reward yourself when you succeed and be kind when you slip up. Remind yourself that you are learning.
Engaging in exercise, even if it is only a 15 minute stretch can be a wonderful step towards loving yourself and caring for yourself.
You can opt for joining the gym however, if this is too much you can consider yoga or pilates that you can start gradually; you can also go for walks or runs alone or with your loved ones.
Getting out of your house and doing something that allows you to get your blood pumping in itself can be a great way of self care.
Eat a healthy diet
Diet is an important aspect of overall health and is an important component of maintaining a positive state of mental health.
There has been plenty of research studies that have been linked to what we eat and higher risks of depression. Research finds that well balanced meals with adequate intake of vegetables, fruits, grain, and healthy fats are related to lower risks of depression.
Take time to improve your sleep hygiene. Research has found that sleep disorders are also a core symptom of depression. Irregular sleep and not enough sleep can make your healing process difficult and can even heighten the risk of relapse.
Some of the things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene are
- Avoid substances that impact your sleep, this includes caffeine.
- Exercise daily
- Avoid heavy dinners
- Change your sleeping environment to be more soothing and sleep inducing.
- Make changes in your pre-sleep routine such as taking relaxing baths before sleep, avoiding gadgets two hours before sleeping time.
Connect with loved ones
Reaching out to people who love you and letting them know that you are having a hard time now, can bring you closer to people who truly love and care for you.
These are positive relationships we want and need around you as you begin your journey to recovery. Positive relationships help you discover joys and meaning to your life.
Make plans to meet them for lunch, or go for a walk with them. Make sure you make clear what you can and cannot do and agree on something that both you and them can enjoy.
You can also take the step to connect with other people who are coping with depression through group therapy or support groups.
Oftentimes, listening to other people’s successes can instil hope, it also gives you the opportunity to learn new perspectives of living and life along with new techniques to cope.
In this blog we have discussed Mauro Ranallo, depression, and his mental health journey.
Mauro Ranallo Aims to Reach an Important Audience With Documentary on His Bipolar Disorder. Greg Bishop. Retrieved on 26th April 2022. https://www.si.com/boxing/2018/05/18/mauro-ranallo-bipolar-disorder-documentary-mental-health#:~:text=Another%20doctor%20 told%20him%20he,wrong.%E2%80%9D%20Alone%20 later%2C%20 Ranallo
Andy Mccullogh. Mauro Ranallo calls some of combat sports’ biggest events. But his real fight is against the stigma of mental illness. LA times. Retrieved on 26th April 2022. https://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-sp-boxing-mauro-ranallo-bipolar-20180523-story.html