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You Don't Know Crazy
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You Don't Know Crazy Book Cover

Wambui at BookExpo 2009
Wambui with Dr Haymond

Wambui with author Dr. Steven Haymon, Ed.D.

Actress and Spokesperson Wambui Bahati Speaks Out in Her Tell-All Novel, "You Don't Know Crazy"

New York, NY -- Feb 4, 2009 --

Over 5.6 million men and women living in the United States today suffer from bipolar disorder. 9.5% of the U.S. population suffers from moderate to severe depression. Despite their prevalence, however, sufferers of these disorders are often hesitant to speak out about their experiences-until now. Actress and spokeswoman Wambui Bahati is breaking down walls with "You Don't Know Crazy-My Life Before, During, After, Above and Beyond Mental Illness", the tell-all novel of her own struggle with mental illness.

Born John Ann Washington, Wambui Bahati grew up in the segregated south in the fifties and sixties. She escaped that life to pursue an education and career in theater at New York University's School of the Arts, making her professional debut at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C. with Godspell. From that point she went on to hold starring roles in The Magic Show, Joseph Papp's rock version of Two Gentlemen of Verona, Little Ham, Nunsense, Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, Gone with the Wind-the Musical, The Wiz and Crowns.

Despite her rising star, all was not roses in Wambui's life. Her battle with bipolar disorder and depression would eventually cost her her career, her children, her reputation and, very nearly, her life. She went from a Broadway star to a homeless mother before losing her children to her ex-husband, and after being told at the age of forty three she would spend the rest of her life in and out of mental institutions she realized she had two choices-she could die, or she could learn to live life on her own terms.

"I was just crazy enough to believe I could reinvent myself and my life," laughs Wambui Bahati, reflecting on the lifestyle changes that allowed her to move past her illness. "When I was at my lowest, I challenged myself to look at my lifestyle, mental attitude and will to live a good life."

In "You Don't Know Crazy" Wambui bears her soul about the horror of the years she spent being victimized by depression and bipolar disorder and the life changing strategies that eventually helped her to leave it behind.

"…I rewrote the script for my life," says Wambui. "Part of it involved tearing out pages filled with drama…drama is great for the theater; however, in real life drama is a drain, a drag, and stressful…I had to fire some of the actors in my life story and rewrite my script so that I [not my illness] was the star."

Bahati adds, "I'm not a doctor...I am a former patient. I know what it's like."

Today Wambui Bahati is a regular inspirational and motivational speaker and entertainer, reaching out to the community with the one woman musicals she wrote, produced and stars in, Balancing Act and I am Domestic Violence.

During the course of her performances, Bahati says, she is frequently asked what she had to leave out of her story because of time constraints. The answer to that question was the driving motivation behind the birth of "You Don't Know Crazy."

"At times hilariously funny and always relentlessly honest, "You Don't Know Crazy" presents an intelligent, informative portrayal of bipolar mood disorder and its effects on Bahati's self-esteem, career, relationships and day-to-day coping," notes Kerry Nesbit.

The book, which sells for the retail price of $16.95, is readily available through most online retailers. To contact author Wambui Bahati for more information about "You Don't Know Crazy" or to arrange a book signing, call 888-224-2267, email her at or visit her website,

Actress with Bipolar Disorder Finds Key to Happiness and Locks Door to Insanity

New York, NY -- Dec 31, 2008 --

There are no secrets in this newly released tell-all autobiography by Wambui Bahati, a.k.a. John-Ann Washington. You Don’t Know Crazy – My Life Before, During, After, Above and Beyond Mental Illness (396 pp., $16.95) offers important insights around the themes of family, racial segregation, domestic violence, hit Broadway theater show tours, interracial marriage, and motherhood. What is most powerful and engrossing is the author’s recollection of how mental illness (depression and severe bipolar disorder) interrupted her life and theatrical career.

Honest, troubling, and illuminating describe her accounts of the hospitalizations, medications, doctors, the police, her husbands, the mental health system, her children, her shame, her anger, and her frustration. An out-of-the-ordinary and moving tale that could have understandably concluded with a dismal ending astonishingly turns into an inspiring, joyful, and uplifting story.

This African-American woman’s extraordinary journey begins with her childhood in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1950 and takes us through her young adult years in New York City. In 1993, at the age of 43, the author was told she would spend the rest of her life in and out of mental institutions.

For all the wrong reasons, Bahati becomes engrossed with a self-help guru who becomes the catalyst for her finding the insight that allowed her to open the door to her innate power, wisdom, love for self, and appreciation for life. And simultaneously, it locked the door to her insanity. Wambui says, “I was just crazy enough to believe I could reinvent myself and my life.”

The book concludes with her spiritual awakening and sharing details about how she reclaimed her life, joy, and health, and how she believes the reader can do so as well. Misfortune, humor, theater, historical perspective, survival over mental illness and an uncertain future work in combination to make You Don’t Know Crazy a compelling and entertaining read.

Today, Ms. Bahati regularly captivates audiences as an inspirational and motivational speaker and entertainer. You Don’t Know Crazy fills in the details and addresses many of the questions that, because of time constraints, could not be fully addressed during her highly acclaimed and award-winning 70-minute one-woman musical, Balancing Act.

To arrange a book signing or interview, contact Wambui Bahati at 888-224-2267 or Books can be purchased at most online stores. Ask your local book store to order it for you. ISBN 978-0-9822398-0-3

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Book Clubs, Schools, Churches, Libraries, Reading and Discussion Groups

Wambui is delighted to meet with book groups (at no cost) for 45 minute discussions -- in person, for those in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, or by telephone (on speaker or tele-seminar) for other locations. To arrange a meeting, contact her HERE.

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