Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman's Journey with Depression and Faith

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$26.99  $25.10
Fortress Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.3 inches | 1.5 pounds

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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.


"This empowering story of depression and healing is inspiring. Coleman's courage shines through in this fine memoir." ----Publishers Weekly

"Monica A. Coleman gets real about her own 'dance' with bipolar disorder and shows others there is a way out." ----Essence, "6 Books to Help You (Really) Practice Self-Care"

"Not since Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has an autobiography chronicled an African American woman's journey from trauma to joyousness as boldly and vividly as Monica A. Coleman's Bipolar Faith." ----Los Angeles Review of Books

"This book is a vital contribution to the often-negligible conversation on mental health and the church, a story told with the authenticity of someone who has lived and survived the darkness of depression and trauma. This beautiful and heartbreaking memoir shows us all how very much this is true. There is life after grief." ----Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"One of those riveting, wondrous memoirs that reads like a novel, with its richness of character and location, its evocation of a family and an era, its themes of love, danger, faith, damage, and resurrection." ----Anne Lamott, New York Times best-selling author of Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies

"A stunning, unforgettable read, Bipolar Faith grabs you with the first exquisitely composed paragraphs and won't let you go until the final page is turned. Even then, its impact lingers. To say this is a book about mental health severely limits its scope, which includes arresting reflections on race, womanhood, death, love, sex, community, and joy. A master storyteller, Coleman seamlessly knits together the personal and the universal, the particular and the communal. Hers is one of the clearest and most compelling voices in Christian literature today. Let those with ears hear." ----Rachel Held Evans, author of Inspired and Searching for Sunday

"Monica Coleman is a courageous and brilliant theologian whose wisdom and rigor help sustain many of us. This unique and pioneering book opens a new spiritual zone for our serious attention!" ----Cornel West, Race Matters; Democracy Matters; and Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud

"In Bipolar Faith, Dr. Coleman offers a brilliantly written narrative which provides a bird's-eye view of her early years marked by family strife, tragedy, and loss juxtaposed with the joys of childhood summers spent immersed in a segregated Black community in Washington, DC. She ushers us gently into her world in which, over time, through Ivy League baccalaureate study and pursuit of ministerial professionalism and spiritual scholarship, she comes to terms with a family history of mental health challenges and substance use disorder, her own traumatic experiences, and a diagnosis of mental illness which finally explains her episodic changes in mood, outlook, and activity level. The reader will admire Dr. Coleman's strong faith through it all, her existential questioning, and the fact that she has emerged whole from introspective exploration, loving herself as is." ----Annelle Primm, senior psychiatrist advisor for Urban Behavioral Associates and former deputy medical director of the American Psychiatric Association

"I'm very excited about Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman's new book, Bipolar Faith. The church--and broader society--must do a much better job engaging issues of mental health, and Dr. Coleman's powerful story sets us on the right path. This will be a helpful resource for pastors and congregants across the country." ----Joshua DuBois, author of The President's Devotional: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama