One of the greatest mysteries in the world to me is that of mental illness. One of my family members has been battling bipolar disorder and schizophrenia for over ten years now. For my family and I it has been one of the toughest things that we’ve ever had to face and I have made it my personal journey to try to understand it. A movie came out a few years back that really helped me to better understand what my family member was going through. After he saw the movie he told us that the movie explained exactly what he had been living with for all these years. Just a little background information; my family member was a very bright student in college who was on his way to becoming a mathematician when this illness showed up. Thanks to this movie I am better able to support my family and understand him.
A BEAUTIFUL MIND
A Beautiful Mind is a film written about the life of Dr. John Nash Jr., a genius mathematician. Unlike the movie, according to Dr. Nash his mental disturbances originated in the early months of 1959 at a time when Alicia, his wife happened to be pregnant (Jr, 1994). Some of the symptoms of his schizophrenia were paranoia, extreme disruptions of thoughts and emotions as well as hallucinations. As he interacts with others he has a nervous tick and no real social skills and has a hard time fitting in, it is later revealed that he didn’t really have any friends. The people that he constantly talked with, the best friend and the little girl, were a figment of his imagination.
As time goes on he gets worse. During his marriage and while his wife is pregnant his hallucinations get worse. He begins to have delusions of grandeur that he works on a classified project for the United States government. He believes that he has been specially chosen to provide code breaking to ensure that the US is not invaded. He has delusions of his life being in danger which furthers his paranoid behavior. Eventually his wife figures out what is happening and has him committed to a mental institution. A supposed government agent who works he believes he works for presents a very dangerous side to his mental illness. At one point the agent tells him to dispose of his spouse. He resists and takes a stand to regain his life. His wife remains by his side and helps him to go back to the school where it all began to teach, and start anew.
POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES OF THE DISORDER
Some of the positives of the disorder seemed to be that it gave him great insight. His mental capacity seemed to be far superior to most. As a mathematician he could easily solve
complex equations and break incomprehensible code. The negative sides of the disorder were delusions that resulted in him hurting himself and voices telling him to get rid of his wife. Those same delusions caused him to leave his son in the bathtub believing that an imagined person was watching over him.
TREATMENT FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA
While he is in the mental hospital they used shock therapy treatment in an attempt to stabilize him. He is provided with counseling sessions to help him come to grips with what is real and what are delusions and hallucinations. The psychiatrist puts him on medication for stability and he is released. All of the treatments were somewhat effective unless he did not adhere to the treatment.
In conclusion, “A Beautiful Mind” told the story of an amazing Nobel Prize Winning mathematician that was stricken with schizophrenia. Through the loving support of his wife, medical treatment and his own intestinal fortitude he was able to find a way to live with his mental illness and soar to great heights. This movie changed my life for the better as I now understand the important role a family must play in helping eradicate the damaging effects of this disease.