Overcome with mental anguish, Monica A. Coleman's great-grandfather had his two young sons pull the chair out from beneath him when he hanged himself. That noose remained tied to a rafter in the shed, where it hung above the heads of his eight children who played there for years to come.
As it had for generations before her, a heaviness hung over Monica throughout her young life. As an adult, this rising star in the academy saw career successes often fueled by the modulated highs of undiagnosed Bipolar II Disorder, as she hid deep depression that even her doctors skimmed past in disbelief. Serendipitous encounters with Black intellectuals like Henry Louis Gates Jr., Angela Davis, and Renita Weems were countered by long nights of stark loneliness. Only as Coleman began to face her illness was she able to live honestly and faithfully in the world. And in the process, she discovered a new and liberating vision of God.
Written in crackling prose, Monica's spiritual autobiography examines her long dance with trauma, depression, and the threat of death in light of the legacies of slavery, war, sharecropping, poverty, and alcoholism that masked her family history of mental illness for generations.
About the Author
Monica A. Coleman is Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware, where she works with projects in public humanities. Her memoir, Bipolar Faith, won a Silver Illumination Award, and she was named one of Sojourners' 10 Christian women to watch in 2018. Coleman's writing covers Black and womanist theologies, Indigenous spirituality, and religious pluralism. She speaks widely on mental wellness, navigating change, religious diversity, and advocating for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Coleman lives in Wilmington, Delaware.
Thema Bryant-Davis is an internationally recognized counselor, educator, and advocate, and an expert on the cultural context of trauma recovery. Her doctorate in Clinical Psychology is from Duke University and she completed her post-doctorate training at the Harvard Medical Center Victims of Violence Program. Formerly the American Psychological Association representative to the United Nations and Senior Staff Coordinator of the Princeton University SHARE Program against sexual violence and harassment, she is now Director of Oasis Institute International in Los Angeles. Oasis staff members provide training on the issues of trauma and culture to judges, nurse examiners, doctors, counselors, police officers, government officials, advocates, volunteers, students, and survivors.