A Beautiful Mind; Living with a Troubled Mind
The film “A Beautiful Mind” takes us on a journey of the life of Dr. John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who suffered from schizophrenia. The film goes from him not knowing he has this illness to the point where he learns to deal with it in his own way, with his wife by his side.
Throughout the film, we see John with his college roommate, Charles. We see John with Charles’ niece, Marcee. We see John with Parcher, the head of a CIA-like organization that needs John’s help decoding Russian messages. These three people are not real. They are figments of John’s imagination.They are hallucinations. Whenever they are on the screen, no one else sees them.
The little girl Marcee goes running through a crowd of birds on the ground, and none of the birds fly away. Whenever Charles is on screen, he is never around for the other people around John to see. Parcher is very secretive and everything is top-secret. When first watching the film as it progresses, you don’t realize that these people are not real. It is not until John is acting increasingly paranoid and his wife is worried enough to call a psychiatrist that we realize more is going on. Dr.Rosen intercepts John during a math conference when John sees him and some men and he fears they are coming for him, and he decides to run.
In the hospital, we see that most of what went on in the film were John’s own delusions. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that is characterized as a group of brain disorders where people interpret reality abnormally. It may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behavior. People with schizophrenia do not have the ability to function normally and care for themselves, this ability deteriorating over time.It is a chronic condition requiring lifelong treatment. According to the DSM-IV-TR, schizophrenia symptoms are two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, negative symptoms, i. e.
, affective flattening, alogia, or avolition. Only one symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person’s behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.A sub-type of schizophrenia is paranoid schizophrenia. With this type, there is preoccupation with one or more delusions or frequent auditory hallucinations and none of the following are prominent: disorganized speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior, or flat or inappropriate affect. During the movie, I found that I could recognize some signs and symptoms that John Nash was exhibiting. I saw that he would constantly tap his head when solving math problems. He shuffled when he walked, holding his bag tight against his chest.
He kept away from crowds. He preferred to be alone, only talking to his “roommate” from time to time.He didn’t have close, personal relationships until he met the woman that would become his wife. He acted paranoid, constantly looking out of the window, or looking over his shoulder, thinking someone was after him. He thought he had a chip implanted in his arm from the government. All of these things impacted his life. He lost contact with the few friends he had, that he worked with.
He pushed his wife away. He stopped working and concentrated only on looking for the code in magazines and newspapers that would show the conspiracy of the Russians trying to bomb us.He thought he was working a secret mission to decode these messages that the Russians were putting out there. He never noticed the people looking at him funny or laughing behind his back. He ended up being committed and had to go through shock therapy and was put on medication. He realized he was sick when in the hospital his wife came to visit and showed him all the classified letters he thought he had been sending out at the secret location and he tried to find the chip in his arm by scratching it out but seeing that there was nothing there.Once he was out and back home with his wife and son, he continued to take his medication, but I could see that he was unhappy and his mind was slowed down from the medicine.
His delusions were gone. He couldn’t solve his math problems, and he couldn’t have sex with his wife. He then started pocketing the pills, and he then began to see Charles, Marcee, and Parcher again. The delusions came back, but his mind was back to being able to solve the math problems he loved. His wife found out when he almost let his son drown in the tub because Charles was watching him.His wife almost had he re-committed but he said he wanted time to try to work on his illness on his own. Over time, he learned to deal with his hallucinations.
Although he still saw Charles, Marcee and Parcher, he ignored them and went on with his life, even winning the Nobel Prize. There are five axis’ that are used to make a full diagnosis for a mental illness. Axis I is clinical disorders. John is schizophrenic with paranoid tendencies. He suffered with delusions and hallucinations consisting of a voice keeping up a running commentary on his behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.His hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person’s behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other. He had a preoccupation with one or more delusions or frequent auditory hallucinations.
Axis II is personality disorders. John has antisocial personality disorder. He showed impulsivity or failure to plan ahead, irritability and aggressiveness, reckless disregard for safety of self or others, and consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior. Axis III is general medical conditions. Diagnosis deferred on Axis III.There was insufficient information to make any diagnostic judgment about an Axis III diagnosis. Axis IV is psychosocial and environmental problems.
John had occupational problems and social problems. He stopped going to work and he kept to his house, not going anywhere or seeing anyone. Axis V is global assessment of functioning. I assess John at a GAF of 51. This means moderate symptoms with John having moderate difficulty in social and occupational functioning. This number borders on severe. John’s symptoms stayed throughout and may have begun at severe but over the course of the film he was moderate and stayed that way.
If John Nash had been my client, I would have worked with him through therapy and medication, just as they did in the film. Schizophrenia is so hard to treat sometimes, especially if they go off their medication. They need to want to help themselves. John realized that he had a problem and was willing to work on it. I would also encourage him to confide in his wife. She was willing to stand by him and that helps. I have learned quite a bit about mental illness, mainly schizophrenia, from this film.
The film was excellent and kept me involved the whole time.I watched a second time to better see the symptoms develop and notice little things that I did not see the first time, like the birds not moving when Marcee was running through them. I felt so bad for him when he began to realize himself that the doctors and his wife were right. At first, he seemed quirky or eccentric. Meeting someone like him, I would more than likely not think of schizophrenia. I would have just said, “Oh, he’s a genius. He’s just eccentric.
” I would have written his behavior off that way. After this film and my classes, I realize that sometimes you can’t just write it off and must look further.I admire Dr. John Nash because he wanted to beat this without medication and he did. It showed me that if you want something bad enough and have the strength and the will power, you can overcome your obstacles. I felt like this film was also a love story. His wife stayed by his side the whole time and of the few relationships he had, this was an important one to him.
He loved her and wanted to be better for her and their family. When accepting the Nobel Prize and giving his speech, he pulled out the handkerchief his wife gave him many years before that he always kept with him and kissed it.It was a moving moment and the film overall was beautiful. Schizophrenia can run in families. I did a little checking and found out that John Nash’s son, John Charles Martin Nash, became a mathematician like his father and was also diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. It just goes to show how it can follow down the family line. I also found out that the movie was more fictionalized than Dr.
Nash would have liked. We did not see in the movie that he had a son from a previous relationship and that he and his wife Alicia had divorced in 1963 and after a few years, got back together.They lived together like housemates and then renewed their relationship in 1994 when he received the Nobel Prize. They remarried in 2001. Whether real life or in the movie, the message remains the same. All is not lost when diagnosed with this illness. You can overcome schizophrenia whether with drugs or on your own.
You need support and you need that inner strength to guide you. You can succeed!References A Beautiful Mind. Dir. Ron Howard. 2001. http://en. wikipedia.
org/wiki/John_Forbes_Nash,_Jr. http://www. apa. org