Above all, she writes to let them know that they are not alone.
In Not Alone, Monica A. Coleman speaks from the heart as minister, woman, friend, professional, and person who lives with depression. While avoiding easy answers, she shares the struggles she has faced, in order to give hope to those who deal with similar challenges, so that they will be better equipped to explore and reflect on their own experiences and faith. Above all, she writes to let them know that they are not alone. This 40-day devotional offers a tool that guides the reader back to faith through personal exploration and experiences of strength, hope, love and spirit.
“Monica A. Coleman’s Not Alone is an invitation to personal and community transformation. It honesty and intimately deals with the realities of depression, undergirded by her own theological reflection, pastoral leadership, medical research, and personal experiences with depression. Reading this book can change your life and provide a pathway to the future. Without denial or easy answers, Not Alone presents a vision that integrates hope and despair, invites people to embrace their whole selves, and provides inspiration and practical guidance for the healing journey. This text is not just for persons living with depression; it is for family members, pastors, and people who want to be healing companions. This is theology at its best and what theology should be, not words and abstractions, but living, embodied, and heart-felt words that sustain, reveal, illuminate, and heal. I am grateful for Monica Coleman’s honesty and insight, and her words that heal and transform cells as well as souls.”
Author of Holy Adventure: Forty-one Days of Audacious Living and over twenty additional books on spirituality and theology
“Even though you walk through the valley of depression you are not alone. The table of contents in this lifesaving work gives the context for the joy that comes in the morning. You are given 40 days as time before morning tide, the biblical time of transferring from desperation and desolation to transformation and consolation. Each lesson is a brick on the yellow brick road that leads into the sunrise of Aha!
“The walk in companionship shows the dialectic of God taking the thing working against you and making it work for you, all the while comforting that you are not alone. The questions following each step let you know you have a walking companion even when it is the other you.
“This brilliant teacher, preacher, theologian, humanitarian is a veteran valley walker inviting anyone experiencing depression to come drink at the healing fountain of companionship and cure. Drink well!”
Rev. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray
Tansey Chair, Center for Religion, University of Southern California
Former pastor of First AME Church, Los Angeles
“It takes a special person to be transparent and honestly share their deepest thoughts, fears, and sadness. It takes a special person to reveal their faith in the face of socially stigmatized topics. It takes a special person of color to share her struggles and say it is okay to go for help, it is okay to share the journey with others. It takes a very special person to translate the thoughts and struggles that connect to a wider audience to provide courage and hope for those who suffer from depression.
“Dr. Monica Coleman wants us to know that we are “Not Alone.” Her meditations and reflections are unique because she is living proof of the value in facing our pain and relying on our faith community as a source of optimism and happiness. Dr. Coleman notes that “words matter,” and her words do; they provide a voice that articulates the struggle with an illness that pervades every aspect of our being, and they give permission to experience this struggle without shame. Her words also describe a path toward healing, joy, and a profound sense of God’s presence in our lives. The depths of her reflections have the power to touch hearts and souls. She makes us feel what she feels: sometimes misunderstood and other times incredibly loved and happy. Dr. Coleman’s book is candid, sharing a light for understanding depression, and experiencing resilience through faith.
“As a college counselor, I have given her writings to students who connect to Dr. Coleman’s emotion about feeling unsure, insecure, not confident, and alone. Students connect with her pain, but also with her trust in a spirituality that promises a new day of comfort and purpose. At the end of the forty-day devotional, you will want to read this again and meditate on the deeper meanings and connections to frailty, strength, and faith.”
Jan Collins-Eaglin, Ph.D.
Director, Counseling Center, Michigan State University
“Not Alone engages the participant in a journey which uncomfortable and peaceful; intellectual and emotional; painful and restorative; encouraging and daring; depressing and exuberant. The devotional reflects Coleman’s genius and her earthiness. We hear the voice of the teacher, preacher, and scholar; we read the words of the theologian, philosopher, poet, activist. We feel the passion of the activist, patient, friend, daughter and mother.
“Not Alone brings both disquiet and peace to those daring to take this “inside walk on a winding journey.” Either despite or because of her lived experience, Coleman accompanies the devotional sojourner. As we participate in the daily devotions and do the required work, we are reminded of the ever present God, both in our sufferings and celebrations, in our hopes and our convictions. As we move through each selection life becomes something like holy.”
Maxine Bigby Cunningham
Mental health advocate
Author of Power Walking: a Journey to Wholeness
“Dr. Coleman’s honest, insightful, and healing devotionals breathe life into a topic often neglected in spiritual circles – mental health. This therapeutic and inspiring collection of reflections tells both the raw truth about depression and the resilient possibility of living one’s purpose. I recommend this book for people of faith who have struggled with depression and striving to create strategies for survival, renewal, and resurrection.”
Dr. Thema Bryant
Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University
Licensed psychologist and minister
Author, Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide
Featured psychologist on The Dr. Phil Show
“What a gift Monica has given to the faith-filled person who lives depression or any mood disorder! As with all of her reflective pieces, she combines her expertise, skills, and experience as a writer, religious scholar, and minister in 40 moving devotionals that prod the reader toward a place of peace and hope.”
“Monica Coleman speaks from the heart as minister, woman, friend, professional, and person who also lives with bipolar depression. In this 40 day devotional, Coleman offers a tool that guides the reader back to their Christian faith through personal exploration and experiences of strength, hope, love and spirit. In a treatment environment it is often the topic of faith and spirituality that clinicians find themselves tiptoeing around. This book fully embraces the bio-psycho-social -spiritual model and speaks a language clinicians will recognize from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Coleman offers a means to address a topic once eschewed.”
Tracy J. Trauscht, LCSW
Adult Group and Individual Therapist, Highland Park, IL
“I followed several of the posts out of which this book derives, and still I found myself hauntingly surprised by Dr. Coleman’s honest disclosure and insightful guidance for those suffering with depressive disorders and for those who want to understand. This devotional is for everyone. Provocative questions at the end of each chapter beg to be answered by all of us. This devotional is a walker’s guide through internal terrain, pointing toward spiritual treasures to be discovered again and again.”
Valerie Bridgeman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible/Preaching & Worship Lancaster Theological Seminary
President & CEO, WomanPreach!, Inc.
“Monica Coleman’s forty-day devotional invites those of us who wrestle with depression on a journey through the wilderness of our suffering. A wise and compassionate guide, Coleman knows the terrain. She knows without sentimentality that depression can be a desert of relentless aridity. But she also knows how to travel safely through it. This book is an oasis for the suffering soul. Springs of living water flow within its pages. The Promised Land may still be on the far side of the demon’s cry. Coleman will, however, help you hold onto its promise. And from the testimony of her sober yet soaring spirit, she will help you to know that you are truly not alone.”
Frank Rogers, Jr.
Muriel Roberts Professor of Spiritual Formation at Claremont School of Theology
Author of The God of Shattered Glass
“As a pastor of community with many people living with depression and mental illness I am excited to find this resource. This book can be invaluable for those who have suffered loss, for those who have wrestled with faith, God and depression, Dr. Coleman offers in her book, Not Alone, a way out of what seems to be no way: a way to faithfully journey with depression. This book of forty days of meditations is Insightful, faithful and filled with hope.”
The Rev. Connie L. Tuttle, M.Div.
Pastor, Circle of Grace Community Church, Atlanta, GA
“Reading these essays by Monica A. Coleman is like having a long conversation with your wisest, long-term friend–the one who knows you best and will say anything she thinks you need to hear. Like a great reggae song, she’s articulate, intelligent, funny, spiritually deep and honestly faithful. And depression doesn’t intimidate her; these days, she uses all of her voices and rhythms to put depression and its allies in their place. She’s a great companion for all of us living with depressive disorders . . . or just struggling with the blues now and then.”
The Rev. Duane R. Bidwell, Ph.D.
Professor of Practical Theology, Spiritual Care and Counseling, Claremont Lincoln University
Claremont School of Theology Senior Staff Clinician
Supervisor, The Clinebell Institute for Pastoral Counseling and Psychotherapy
“Join Monica Coleman as she leads us in the practical day-to-day steps for living spiritually in the face of life’s challenges. I will recommend this to all my patients and my friends and colleagues as well. I was fully attentive from day 1 to day 40 as I walked the path of this devotional. I take solace in knowing that we are not alone on our road to recovery.”
Lisa Phillips Schmid, M.D.
“As a pastor and as someone living with a depressive condition, Dr. Coleman’s reflections and story resonate with my own journey of suffering in silence until finding those who would walk beside me even in the midst of my darkness, doubting and despair. The devotions and questions invite the readers to reflect on their own on-going journey toward acceptance, hope and the assurance that we never travel alone.”
Founder and Coordinator, Mental Health Ministries
“This book touches me on so many levels. First, in my decades as a pastor, I was frequently invited to be a gracious presence to people in emotional pain, but so often, I stumbled and didn’t know how to help. More personally, I have close friends and family members for whom depression is a constant companion, and that makes depression my companion as well. Deeper still, like nearly everyone, I struggle at times with darkness, doubt, fear, and unfulfilled hope. Monica Coleman’s words touched me on each level, so I am confident you will find compassion, beauty, inspiration, sustenance, and theological wisdom on every page of Not Alone, and the relief the title promises will become more possible for you.”
Brian D. McLaren
Author of Naked Spirituality