Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Madness: "Excessive study is alleged to have caused mental derangement."

Occasionally I find an ancestor who obviously struggled with mental illness.  Viola Frazee (1866-1929), a 1st cousin 3x's removed from me on my Hartley side, is an example.  This mention of her distress in 1890 ends with a curious diagnosis:
Morning Star
Rockford, Illinois
24 Aug 1890
page 6
Desperate From Excessive Study.
SAVANNAH, Mo., Aug. 23.--Viola Frazee, a school teacher, made several desperate attempts to kill herself Thursday night.  she cut her throat with a razor, but although the weapon severed the windpipe no large arteries were cut. She fainted from loss of blood, and when she regained consciousness swallowed a bottle of bluing and attempted to jump in the well.  The noise at the well aroused the family and she was rescued just as she was jumping in.  Excessive study is alleged to have caused mental derangement.
Fortunately she survived the suicide attempt, but unfortunately she spent the rest of her life (up to 39 long years) in the Missouri State Hospital for the Insane No 2 in St Joseph, Missouri (also known as the St Joseph State Hospital).  It seems likely she had depression, anxiety, possibly bipolar or schizophrenic, and could probably have led a normal life today with the help of psychiatric medicine and counseling.

© 2014 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment