'Bipolar Rock N Roller' is a Tough But Necessary Look at Mental Illness

"About 80 percent of people with bipolar disorder will contemplate suicide at least once in their lifetime."

Facts like this sprawl across the screen at the Paley Center in New York City for a special discussion and screening of Showtime's Bipolar Rock 'N' Roller , a documentary about the life of renowned pro wrestling commentator Mauro Ranallo. Ranallo suffers from bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Rock 'N' Roller is an eye-opening and, admittedly, tough watch, but that's the point. Mental illness isn't pretty, and it's not easy for the afflicted or those who interact with them everyday. Topics like suicide, medicinal marijuana and coping with mental illness are prominent in the film, something that Ranallo increasingly felt a need to do when the documentary was being made.

"I have to do something, I don't care what it costs me. If it cost me future work or whatever," Ranallo told the packed room after the screening. "I don't want another family to get that phone call."

You see the highs and the lows of Mauro's life. From the catalyst for his illness to how he and his loved ones try and figure out what is going on with the gifted up-and-coming commentator. Home videos of Mauro's manic episodes are prevalent throughout the film, showing the extreme ups and downs of Ranallo's behavior. Even when the film returns to the present, you see how Mauro continues to fight against bouts of depression.

It's surreal to see someone so volatile surmount these issues and become globally recognized as one of the best in his profession. Mauro credits his success to friends and colleagues who recognize his talents above his problems, never giving up on him and showing genuine concern about his well being.

"That's what we want to celebrate. Some of the brightest most creative minds have been touched by mental illness," Ranallo said. "I don't understand why it's taken this long to get to this point. There is a beauty, a lot to be celebrated. Why don't we celebrate and nurture instead of sweeping it under the rug?"

But being front and center with his illness was never something Mauro wanted, or felt was needed, when he grew to prominence. However, he would quickly realize that he had to do something with his platform.

"In the mid 90s I never had any desire to show what this is. I was naive at the time, thinking it didn't have to rest on me because people are looking after people," Ranallo said. "But the more I was treated, the more I saw what was going on, the more angry, upset I got."

Ranallo told ESPN that he hopes the potential good that may come out of Bipolar Rock 'N' Roller is what will be his "legacy" -- more so than his broadcasting career.

Breaking the stigma of what mental illness and highlighting the amazing people who are affected is what Ranallo and Showtime are trying to accomplish, and Bipolar Rock 'N' Roller does a great job of doing just that.

Bipolar Rock 'N' Roller premieres on Showtime Friday, May 25 at 9 p.m. EDT.