My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me
By Sylvia Harris
Ecco, Hardcover, 9780061714443, 224pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
List Price: $25.99*
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Seabiscuit meets Manic when Sylvia Harris, a single mother crippled by her struggles with bipolar depression, discovers the healing, calming effect of horses.
Alcohol. Lithium. Buddhist chanting.
To quiet the voices in her mind, Sylvia Harris tried all of the above. At times, her manic behavior led her to dress up as a cowgirl and show off her imaginary rope skills in the middle of a quaint Northern California village, or spend the night in a torpor of fear awaiting the alien invasion she knew was on the horizon. At its worst, it led her to look for love in all the wrong places and create a family she had difficulty caring for. Although she sometimes found temporary relief and brief moments of calm, darkness always followed. At the nadir of her twenty-year battle with bipolar depression, Harris found salvation in the most unlikely of places: Cardinal Farm, an equine ranch outside of Orlando, Florida.
Harris had always been drawn to animals, but she had no idea of the healing power she would discover while working with horses. And though she still experienced raging highs and destabilizing lows, eventuallythrough grooming, caring for, and, against all odds, racing horsesshe was able to find stability and, ultimately, joy.
With an unflinching eye toward her weaknesses and the pain that her life decisions have inflicted on others, Harris examines the ravaging power of her bipolar behavior and the magical power of horses, showing us how the mythic interspecies connection between humans and these magnificent animals continues to astonish and inspire.
“An inspirational story.”
“[A] truly compelling tale of the havoc mental illness can wreak and how a passion can lead to healing.”
“An edgy, unapologetic account of [Harris’s] race to outrun the illness that consumed her. . . . A tribute to the power of the horse to calm, contain and inspire.”
“Terrifically insightful [and] beautifully crafted, this book pulls no punches. . . . Each page of Long Shot reminds us once again of the adage that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person.”
“Heart-wrenching. . . . Highly recommended for people struggling with [bipolar disorder] and anyone who loves them. . . . [Harris’s] fighting spirit emanates from the page.”
“Inspiring. . . . One of the more interesting sports book that you will find.”
“Even if you don’t love horses you will still cheer for Sylvia Harris after reading her memoir. . . . After reading Long Shot, you’ll feel there’s little that you can’t accomplish.”
Sylvia Harris made a name for herself as only the second female African-American jockey to win a major horse race. But what is less known, is that she was drawn into horse racing through her battle with bi-polar disorder. In her memoir Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me , Harris describes her love for racing and how the horses helped heal her troubled past. More at NPR.org
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