Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on November 12, 2011

Suicide Jumper

I was on the phone with a friend who was complaining about the traffic. She got stuck on the bridge which spans from San Diego to Coronado, waiting for over 20 minutes.

“Why was the traffic stopped?” I asked.

“The police came up to my window and said ‘Jumper’,” she replied.

“Someone wants to commit suicide and you’re complaining about waiting in traffic?” I asked her. “How bad can someone’s life be that they want to kill themselves?”

My friend insisted it happened quite often.

“Do they write about it in the news?” I asked.

“You think they would, but they’re afraid it will encourage other people to do it, and that would tie up traffic even more often,” she replied.

I told her that my father committed suicide, and that I was especially sensitive about the kind of despair that would make a person do such a thing. She apologized when she realized how she sounded to me.

Maybe that is another reason I fight so hard against depression: because it has touched my family so deeply. Among the many reasons for depression is the thought that there are no other options. No person should have to struggle alone, feeling ineffectual and thinking there is no one who cares.

Even the most difficult circumstance offers a way up, if we reach out to one another.

People often say “I don’t like politics,” as though they weren’t involved in their community. I say that life is politics, and you can’t ignore it because it sweeps you up into its milieu. It is part of life. To say you don’t like politics is to say you don’t like life; you can’t escape it.

It’s time to turn it around; instead of feeling like life is dishing out punishment after insult, let’s mobilize our efforts and show Washington who’s boss!

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