A long shot.
That is what it's like for Sylvia Harris
trying to live life on her terms.
It's a long shot because she has struggled with manic depression for most of her adult life. Her distempered days were filled with the hallmark symptoms of the sometimes crippling disease -- extreme highs and spiraling lows -- making it impossible for her to deal with life's daily challenges.
Frequently, she found herself trying to quiet the voices in her head with alcohol, Lithium and Buddhist chanting. But that was until Harris found relief through work as a horse groomer, then as one of few African American female jockeys. She became the second black female in the U.S. to win a major thoroughbred horse race.
She recounts her story in the newly released heart-wrenching memoir Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me.
The mother of three who lives in Wilmington, Del., told BlackVoices.com
that she decided to tell her story because she wants readers to know they do not have to be a slave to life's predicaments.
"I wanted people to see that, regardless of the obstacles, you can still succeed,'' she says. "I especially wanted people who suffer from mental illness to know that they don't have to give in to it. They may not be able to cure it, but you can live with it. Never give up, no matter who tells you no, you can't do it.''