When I was at the library a few days ago I picked up a new book, The Horse Boy: A Father's Quest to Heal His Son by Rupert Isaacson, that I have to share with you.
In a nutshell, the story is this: Rupert finds that his son Rowan, who is severely autistic, has an affinity toward horses. While Rowan is unable to relate to people, from the very first time he sees Betsy, a neighbor's horse, he has an unusual connection with her. When Rowan and Rupert begin riding together, it's an amazing experience for Rowan. He not only loves the horse, but riding seems to allow him to make verbal leaps he's never made before.
So...eventually, Rupert decides that the best way to heal his son is to take him to Outer Mongolia, a place where 6,000 years ago, the first horse had been domesticated, and a culture in which horses and healers are firmly entwined.
In Rupert's words: "What if we were to start our journey with the shamans of the horse people, who lived on the great oceans of the pasture where the horse was born, and then ride up to the forest of the taiga, Siberia, to see the shamans of Dukha, the reindeer herders, whose traditions of shamanism has been unbroken, I had read, for thousands of years, and whose shamans were considered the most powerful of the region? To travel from the shamans of the horse people to the older shamans of the reindeer people..."
Rupert, Rowan, and Kristin end up taking this journey, and while it's extraordinarily difficult--and there are disappointments as well as successes--the end result is that Rowan's behavior is magically transformed.
It's not that his autism is "cured," but that some of the most difficult symptoms--continuous tantrums, an inability to learn how to control his bowels (He's seven years old when the trip begins and not toilet-trained), and an inability to relate to other people or have a single friend--significantly change. It's the most uplifting book, and one I highly recommend.
So...how does this relate to bipolarity? That's my topic for tomorrow. Stay tuned.