The Body of Chris: A Memoir of Obsession, Addiction, and Madness
#1 Amazon bestseller for Bipolar Disorder
Finalist in both Spirituality and Religious Non-Fiction categories for 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Struggling with lifelong disordered eating and adolescent addiction, Chris Cole had his first psychotic episode at the age of eighteen, suddenly believing he was the Second Coming of Christ. He lost his identity and tried to perform miracles and was ultimately arrested in the lobby of his college dormitory—all while convinced he was being taken to his crucifixion. Even when sanity returned, he could not help but contemplate God's involvement. For years, Chris danced with delusion, but he eventually surrendered to his humanity and learned to embrace reality.
The Body of Chris explores mental illness—from bipolar disorder to substance use to binge eating—in one man’s search for salvation. From his oldest wounds to his renewed spirituality, author Chris Cole tells his story with unflinching honesty in hopes of reaching people who suffer from mental illness and those who love them.
"Addiction, disordered eating, and manic depression are each, by themselves, tremendous hurdles, and the mere fact that Cole has weathered all three makes his account remarkable... A unique, compelling narrative." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Cole tells his story with self-effacing humor and compassion..." ―Library Journal
"[An] honest, reflective memoir." ―Best Self Atlanta Magazine
What the Experts Are Saying
“Cole brings a new and necessary voice to the conversation on mental health, one that’s especially vital for its keen observation of male experience. More so, though his process of grappling with spirituality and meaning in the midst of inner turmoil is powerful and powerfully written.”
Marya Hornbacher, New York Times bestselling author of Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia and Madness: A Bipolar Life
“The Body of Chris shows the power of insight and healing that is available to us all. Chris’s story is a call to awakening, an invitation to the spiritual revolution.”
Noah Levine, bestselling author of Dharma Punx and Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction
"In The Body of Chris, Chris Cole opens the window to his soul and allows us to observe a remarkable journey through childhood insecurities, alcohol and drug dependency, eating disorders, and bipolar psychosis to an eruption of spirituality and an experience of accentuated humanness. To the great credit of his parents and to Chris’s courage and honesty, the story unfolds to an uncertain but promising outcome. Anyone interested in spirituality and what it means to be a human being can learn a great deal from this book.”
Michael Washburn, PhD, transpersonal psychologist and author of The Ego and the Dynamic Ground: A Transpersonal Theory of Human Development
“Many of the founders of psychology and psychiatry have been ‘wounded healers’ whose ‘creative illness’ involved intense spiritual crises that ultimately were transformative. Anyone who has undergone such a crisis—convinced that they were reincarnations of and/or in communication with great spiritual figures, believing they had a messianic mission to save the world—knows how helpful the accounts of others who have traversed this territory are in integrating their experience. Chris’s account provides another map of this sacred territory that could prove useful to persons who are undergoing such a journey, to therapists wanting a better understanding of the inner world that shifts from spiritual insights to grandiose delusions, and to anyone who wants a deeper appreciation for the full range of joys and sorrows that is the human condition.”
David Lukoff, PhD, licensed psychologist, co-president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, and Professor Emeritus at Sofia University
"Memoirs about bipolar disorder abound, but rare are ones that focus on men's mental health and issues. Raw and unflinching, this is a powerful story that needs to be told and needs to be heard."
Victoria Maxwell, bipolar princess and founder of Crazy for Life Co.
“With humor, style and insight, author and life coach Chris Cole takes readers on a page-turning ride through addiction, delusion, psychosis, disordered eating, body dysmorphia, patients rights, and the search for G-d. His story will strike a chord–not only with those who suffer from mental illness, but also anyone who has ever dreamed a little too big. As Cole shows, the difference between rational and irrational might be as small as those two little letters suggest.”
Chelsea Lowe, author of Living With Someone Who's Living With Bipolar Disorder: A Practical Guide for Family, Friends, and Coworkers
“The journey to know yourself requires courage and perseverance. It is not for the faint of heart. Chris Cole’s struggles with addiction and mental illness presented a door opening to that journey. But it was his courage that allowed him to walk through the door, returning with the gift of understanding himself that he is sharing in The Body of Chris. This book will help many, most importantly men, who struggle with similar issues to know they are not alone and that there is hope and help for them too.”
Carolyn Coker Ross, MD, MPH, author of The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook
“It takes courage, an engaging authorial-voice and a deep love for people to reveal one’s winding path from significant personal struggles to heart-centered awakenings, as Chris Cole has done in The Body of Chris. You will feel elation, many laughs and intimate moments of sadness—even a few tears–while reading his stories. And when you’ve completed The Body of Chris, you will be more inspired, sensitive and warmly appreciative of the full-emotional range of your own life, as well as admiration for Chris and all folks on paths toward balance and wholeness from wherever each might be, in their journey.”
Stuart Sovatsky, PhD, author of Advanced Spiritual Intimacy and Words From the Soul
“Chris Cole has written a daring, moving, and utterly candid account of the inner world of psychosis and bipolar disorder. I recommend it to psychiatrists and psychologists of all persuasions, and to anyone who wishes to understand the relationship between severe emotional problems and the mysteries of the human unconscious. I was transfixed by it.”
Bryan Wittine, PhD, Jungian psychoanalyst, educator, and international lecturer
“This story is a brutally honest autobiography and case history that reveals the entanglements of addiction, bipolar illness, eating disorder and spiritual emergence in the life of one man who has struggled for a lifetime with all four. Chris worked his way into and out of colleges, treatment centers, mental institutions, conventional and alternative therapies, jobs and relationships until ultimately he found a stable life, supported by his parents, his wife and a maturing spiritual perspective based on trust and love. Through revealing his inner experiences from childhood onward, his story offers insight and hope for those who have similar afflictions and those who care for them.”
Bonnie Greenwell, PhD, author of The Kundalini Guide and The Awakening Guide
“Chris is an arresting storyteller and recognizes that his basic problem was one of going to extremes in various areas, including “spiritual overdose” through otherwise beneficial practices. In the course of his journey, he many times arrives at peak moments, only to be cast down once more into the pit of despair and out-of-control behavior. This book will illuminate anyone who has had even a taste of such maladaptive behaviors and should be required reading for every therapist, counselor, minister, or instructor in the field of Transpersonal Psychology.”
Dorothy Walters, PhD, author of Unmasking the Rose: A Record of Kundalini Initiation and Marrow of Flame: Poems of the Spiritual Journey
“A full spiritual awakening is a very difficult event in life when you are relatively healthy and balanced. But a full spiritual awakening in someone who is also caught in eating disorders, alcohol and drug addiction, and bipolar disorder is a life threatening crisis. As Chris Cole so clearly shows in The Body of Chris, integrating the spiritual awakening while navigating this entire array of mental, emotional, and physical challenges is a massive task. Less than 100 years ago he would have spent his life in an asylum. That he succeeded in reaching healing himself and becoming a fully mature human willing to balance power and humility IS the miracle he once tried so desperately to demonstrate to the world.”
Penny Kelly, author of The Evolving Human and the trilogy, Consciousness and Energy
“Throughout history, the relationship between spiritual experiences and mental disorders has always existed, and yet Western society continually turns a blind eye to this paradoxical relationship. With Chris Cole’s book, the intimate link between madness and mysticism could not be more apparent. Written with precision, brutal honesty and flare, this cautionary tale from the ‘boy-next-door’ could be the book that finally opens the mainstream to one of the great mysteries of our time. I sincerely hope it does!”
Sean Blackwell, author of Am I Bipolar or Waking Up?