Conducting research for my book is necessary, in order to substantiate my points of view and gather needed statistics. Last night, as I scanned the Internet for the number of annual suicides by way of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, I was overcome with emotion. I learned that, on average, 12 people a year die here. I should also mention that this bridge is very familiar to me. I drive over it 10 times a week… twice a day, to and from work. One of the articles that shook me up was this one…
I understand that the writer was going for drama and shock value. But sections of this story were very difficult to read… specifically the part about the jackass who started jumperpool.com (which, by the way, I refuse to visit). Learning that most don’t die a quick death when they jump and reading the count down until the moment the individual hits the water was also hard to stomach. In addition, I was amazed to discover the overwhelming number of derogatory comments posted to this story. I burst into tears, after briefly scanning the hateful words submitted by readers. It probably didn’t help matters that I was conducting this research on Brad’s birthday. He would have been 31 yesterday.
The quote by Forensic Psychologist Jerald Ratner also got under my skin. Is it possible that even our psychologists and psychiatrists don’t understand what it’s like to be depressed? And why must people pass judgement and make jokes about suicide? These are two of the questions that I’m tackling right now as I write my book.
The following video, while heartbreaking, sheds a more realistic and compassionate light on the Sunshine Skyway suicides. My heart goes out to the family featured here. I recently had the pleasure of meeting David Braughton, CEO of the Tampa Bay Crisis Center (who’s interviewed towards the end of the story)… He is a good-hearted man with an important message:
I had to take a break from my work because it got too emotional last night… and that’s OK. I’m learning to be patient with myself as I write. I hoop danced, got some fresh air, played with my dog, and had a glass of wine. I also prepared a nice dinner. My research is difficult but necessary. Even though it hurts, I am pleased with the progress I’m making. I’m also proud of myself for recognizing the need to take breaks, for my own mental health. Tonight is yoga night. Balance is key.