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Strike a Chord: Broadway Actress Puts Struggle With Bipolar Disorder in the Spotlight

by Jacob Anderson
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empty stage

Anna Borska, flickr

WFUV's Strike a Chord Campaign focuses on mental health issues.

Robin Baxter worked on Broadway as an actress and a hairdresser, and lost both jobs because of psychotic episodes and hallucinations.

Baxter has written a one-woman play about her career and mental illness, called Baxter Normal, which she recently performed as a work in progress to a small audience. It’s loose and funny. She jokingly calls herself a specialty item--she has been diagnosed bipolar 1, with psychotic features. She gives the audience a primer on the different types of bipolar, which used to be called manic depressive disorder.

“There’s bipolar 1 and bipolar 2, and it just depends on the frequency of the manic upswing, and the intensity,” Baxter said in the play, drawing big laughs when she added, “It’s the psychotic features that’ll get ya.”

Baxter says other people with bipolar have told her not to go public with her illness.

“There’s as much stigma amongst bipolars as there is amongst, I say, normies,” Baxter said. “Because the normies will not let us in.”

She says she wrote the play to help people come out of the closet with mental illness.

 

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