Bipolarism: Awareness Through Tragedy

Brent Finnegan -- October 11th, 2009

Bibb and Dolly Frazier’s obituary of their son, Austin, is worth reading. Locals probably know the Fraziers to be the civically active owners of Frazier Quarry, and those closer to the family know that Austin had been struggling with Bipolarism for many years. The Fraziers published this obit in several Virginia papers to help raise awareness of the illness.

Austin suffered valiantly from the ravages of this physically transparent illness since early adolescence. Bipolar is incurable and as deadly as cancer or heart disease. It is a disease of the mind and one’s mental outlook.

The Facebook group and Kyger Funeral Home guestbook are full of comments from friends, as well as complete strangers suffering from the same disorder.

From the medicinenet.com entry:

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide.

The family is asking for donations to the Austin Frazier Memorial at The Community Foundation in lieu of flowers.

5 Responses to “Bipolarism: Awareness Through Tragedy”

  1. Dave Briggman says:

    This was the 2nd suicide, I believe, of kids of the First Presbyterian Church family in the past week or so.

    Having lived with an incorrect diagnosis of bipolar disorder for over 10 years, and consumed almost every pharmaceutical product in hugely-large quantities for most of that time, the treatment(s) seemed almost as bad as the diagnosis. You name the prescription drug for treatment of manic depression, I took it. In fact, when changing doctors, the doctors didn’t bother with doing an independent diagnosis…as long as you paid the bill, they gave the drugs…including several doctors in this town, and numerous doctors @ Duke Medical Center.

    The prayers of my family go out to Bibb and Dolly and the balance of their family.

  2. Kay Jamison helped me to understand how people with bi-polar struggle. Although I never knew this young man I feel certain that those who did were struck by his mental capacity. It is a tragedy to lose such a gifted person.

    An Unquiet Mind.

  3. Dave Briggman says:

    I’ve spoken with Dr. Jamison at Johns Hopkins…and her book you cited, Bubby, is highly informative. I actually think I still have the book on my bookshelf.

  4. Renee says:

    Wow, how horrible… it is great that the parents are willing to speak out and raise awareness of Bipolar disorder.

  5. Johanna Toth says:

    My heart continues to go out to you and your family! I saved your son’s obit in hopes of further understanding the disease my brother suffers from. And yes, there needs to be more awareness and understanding of this disease that effects so many. Thank you for sharing your story of your son and a new hightened awarness to help others. What an amazing young man Austin was. He is cheering us on from Heaven! May your sweet memories live on. Blessings to you all!

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.