- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 March 14, 2003 

Untimely Life: Woman survives "Suicide Bridge" but says her escape is "punishment"

"Suicide" bridgeTsovinar Sargsyan points to a wooden cross on the wall of her hospital room and says it is the reason she is alive.

"This cross protects me from dying," the 53-yeal old Yerevan resident says. "Three times I have made an attempt to commit suicide, but I am still alive."

The latest attempt came February 22. Tsovinar went to Kievyan Bridge (locally known as "Suicide Bridge") over the Hrazdan gorge.

It was daytime, and there was plenty traffic, so she at first thought she'd end her life under a car's wheels.

"If I threw myself under a car, I would have made someone else unhappy," she says. "That is why I decided to throw myself from the bridge.

"I could hardly climb the bridge. I stood in the center of it, and then the only thing I remember is that my arm and side were terribly aching," she says.

Kievyan Bridge is 76 meters (about 250 feet), about the height of a 15-story building. Over the years it has become the last point of life for many people. Tsovinar may be the only jumper who remains to talk about the leap of desperation.

She should not be alive. It is believed that many who jump die from heart attacks on the way down if not from the impact. But Tsovinar Sargsyan sustained only bruised ribs and a broken arm.

"Nobody can say what kind of emotional experiences the person throwing herself from the bridge had, perhaps she was looking for illusion, or she did not realize what she was doing," says psychologist Angela Vardanyan. "That's why the height did not seem awful to her. In general the state of mind predestines the outcome of the situation."

For several years Tsovinar has suffered from regular attacks of mental illness and her effort to end her life three weeks ago is only her latest encounter with severe depression.

15 stories tall"Nobody needs me," she says. "I can't help my son, I am only a burden for him. It is better if I die, he will get rid of me, and I will get rid of this world, where I have seen only suffering."

Her son, 17-year old Arsen, works in a factory where he makes enough for basic needs, but not enough to pay for medicine Tsovinar needs. And the mother does not want to trouble her son with medical expenses.

However desperate her situation, as a rare survivor of "Suicide Bridge" Tsovinar is something of a medical miracle.

"No matter how surprising and irregular it is, that woman who fell from that height was walking a week later," says Levon Grigoryan, head of the trauma department at Republican Hospital. "On the whole it is strange that she survived."

The cross hanging from the gray, dirty wall of the hospital was brought by a friend of her son.

"I believe in God, but I don't understand why he is torturing me. I don't want to live. A few years ago I drank essence but again did not die. And neither did this bridge put an end to my suffering.

"There are people who want to live, and die from an insignificant thing. I am tired of this life and am punished with not dying."


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  Blooming Mad
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Blooming Mad

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