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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Bipolar Faith is both spiritual autobiography and a memoir of mental illness. In this powerful book, Monica A. Coleman shares her life-long dance with trauma, depression, and the threat of death. Coleman offers a rare account of how the modulated highs of bipolar II can lead to professional success, while hiding a depression that even her doctors rarely believed. Only as s ...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published July 1st 2016 by Fortress Press
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  235 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Mollie Meyer
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I feel seen and I feel better equipped to see.
Luke Hillier
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a 3.5 for me, but I'll happily round up as I'm so grateful for the book and what it offers to the world of religious memoirs (and found it voraciously readable!). I will say that, especially in the first hundred pages, I found myself surprised by the straightforward storytelling. While this could certainly be seen as an asset by some who appreciate a more accessible narrative, I guess I was somewhat underwhelmed by what seemed to be a lack of flourish in the writing style or density in ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I requested the eARC of Bipolar Faith forever ago and have let it set on my tablet ever since. I kept wanting to read it but kept not reading it. Every time I chose a new book I’d look at it, then think, “Next time…”. I knew it was going to be intense. The subject matter was going to feel very personal. I wasn’t sure if I’d find it uplifting or depressing so I kept putting it off. Eventually I realized that if we are ever going to actually put an end to the mental health stigma we have to read a ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book because of a review by a young friend. It is a beautifully written memoir. I read it very quickly as it was hard to put down. However, I plan to go back through and re-read parts that I want to look at more thoughtfully. I applaud Coleman’s willingness to share her deepest, darkest thoughts regarding faith, depression, and life experiences. It’s not pretty. However, it is extremely beneficial, and I highly recommend – especially to anyone who has dealt with depression and even m ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredibly well written and enjoyable book. Coleman is a fantastic theologian who I have loved for years. This book was a great look into her personal life and moments that helped shape her theology and beliefs. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is living with mental illness, especially those with bipolar disorder and wants to connect their faith to the illness.
This was the book for our October Conversations on Race Sunday School class. While this book was of course heavy given the subject matter, overall I found it a surprisingly beautiful and spiritually uplifting read. Coleman’s bravery in honestly and openly talking about her mental health struggles is breathtaking. I believe all of us can see parts of ourselves in her journey; especially if we are high achievers who feel we must always “get the A.” Coleman demonstrates that it’s ok to admit when w ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cydne B
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Very informative yet cliche at times.
Sep 21, 2020 added it
It wasn't what I thought, but I kept reading and found this to be a wonderful book about God, faith, and mental illness. ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There’s so many parts of this book that really resonated with me and shook me to my core. Her doubts; her loss of faith; her need to reconfigure how she thought about God; her struggles with thoughts of suicide; her depressive episodes. Yeah, there were so many times while I was reading this that I caught myself saying to myself that I have had many of those exact same thoughts.
Coleman also writes about being a black woman and I appreciated that aspect of this book so much. She writes about bei
Linda Williams Jackson
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed following the author on her journey to uncovering the truth behind her constant sadness even when times were good. I went into the book with one expectation and got something a little different. Overall, the author did a good job of showing how prayer and faith, alone, are sometimes just not enough to overcome the darkness of depression.

I'm grateful to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of this well-written memoir.
Marva Tutt
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is an excellent account for any person who has ever suffered from depression, abuse, or any other process that causes prolonged periods of sadness. Her accounts of going through bipolar depression are so real and relatable. I couldn't put this book down!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Powell
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Where to begin? This is Monica's intensely personal and riveting story. I feel like I was being allowed on holy ground as she let me into her life, her faith, her painful tragedies, and her deep struggles.

My take-aways were a much deeper appreciation for the long and difficult recovery process of both depression and sexual violence.

As part of her story, we get to see how her various relationships with friends, family, lovers, teachers and pastors either helped or hindered her. It challenge
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible journey. Beautifully told memoir of life in its fullest, widest, deepest ways of experiencing it. I was worried it would be preachy, corny, too Jesus-y etc, but it was quiet the opposite. It is not a treatise on any of the topics it covers, it is really an invitation into the life, emotions, relationships, thoughts, and memories of Monica A. Coleman. Definitely relatable as someone w/ Bipolar, and I very much recommend it for people looking to others in the written word for ...more
Tatyana Smith
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vital, necessary read

People of color simply do not discuss mental health enough! It’s just as important as what the eyes can see. Monica outdid herself with this gem. Brutally honest, heartbreaking
, healing and so much more. I am encouraged to continue the good fight and so much more 😊
Shaley Hoogendoorn
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I devoured all 300 pages of Bipolar Faith. It is rare to read an honest and raw book about Christian Women struggling with Bipolar 2. I sobbed through half of it because I could see myself in parts of Monica’s story. Monica’s story will comfort those that struggle but also teach those that want to understand. Bipolar Faith is one of my top 5 reads for 2019.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story.

Powerful story about painful journey through depression and trauma to healing and recovery. Highly recommend to anyone interested n faith, mental health, and recovery.
Holly Dowell
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredibly powerful. It’s well-written and so honest. The memoir walks through Dr. Coleman’s life from youth to doctoral work, chronicling her struggles with faith, mental health, trauma, and identity. I will recommend this book to many people, especially those who work in ministry.
Jon Carl
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent, intersectional exploration of what it means to find acceptance and thrive with a different brain chemistry, from a place in society some might consider marginalized--but need not be an inextricable trap.
Nephtalie Lesperance
WOW... I was not able to put this book down.

This book is a reminder that words can be powerful! I know mental health and sexual violence are not easy things to relive or write about, but I am inspired by how Monica used her pain to talk about her journey with faith.
Julia Riley
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, raw, sad, hard, and relatable. Content warning for sexual assault and suicidal ideation. That being said, 10/10 would recommend for any pastor, mental health professional, or anyone who struggles with mental illness and faith.
Rob Carmack
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So brutally honest and beautifully written. I cannot imagine the courage that must have been required to write and publish this book. Thank you, Monica Coleman!
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I didn't really learn anything reading the book, though it is helpful as a pastor to read someone's firsthand account of struggling with mental illness and faith. ...more
Brenda Seefeldt
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a pastor who has church family members struggling with bipolar II, this helps you understand the realness of this. Yet God is always faithful...this story has that too.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Searing, honest, well-written. Incredible contribution to the field of mental health, faith, family history, and beyond.
Arlene Whitlock
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am interested in real-lide stories of struggle and faith. This struggle is/was real. All along her journey she kearned more about herself, but more importantly faith kept her seeeking answers.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well-written memoir of living with Bipolar II disorder and how all parts of self and life are affected by it.
Brooke Scott
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful memoir & a VERY important & contribution to both the mental health world and theology. Trigger warnings: sexual violence & suicidality.
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good! Read it for class.
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Writer, scholar and activist, Monica A. Coleman is committed to connecting faith and social justice. An ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Coleman has earned degrees at Harvard University, Vanderbilt University and Claremont Graduate University. Coleman is currently Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions and Co-Director of the Center for ...more

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