I have always been fond of books and stories that are based on true-to-life experiences of people from different era, different places, and backgrounds. Such stories fill me with a broad sense of inspiration, knowing that the experiences shared within these kinds of stories are not just works of fiction, but events that have a possibility of happening in my life.
A Beautiful Mind, written by Sylvia Nasar in 1998, is a biography of an economist and mathematician named John Forbes Nash Jr. He was a genius, a legend, who was influential regarding his academic career, contributing to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of economics and mathematics. Unfortunately, no mind is safe from the grasp of schizophrenia.
A Genius’ Paranoid Schizophrenia
John Nash suffered from the severe mental disorder, paranoid schizophrenia. “Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by predominantly positive symptoms of schizophrenia, including delusions and hallucinations,” Dina Cagliostro, Ph.D. explained. “These debilitating symptoms blur the line between what is real and what isn’t, making it difficult for the person to lead a typical life.” This disorder disabled Nash from doing what he excelled at, affecting his whole life especially with keeping up to the relationships with the people around him which he has tried to build and rebuild to be put together throughout the years.
In this biographical masterpiece, the author has narrated in a captivating and entrancing sense the tragic experience of a person who has schizophrenia. It is also very informative regarding the rare, degenerative mental disorder, its stages and the possible reasons as to what and why he fell into madness.
Love Conquers The Madness Of A Schizophrenic
One of the most interesting facts that caught my attention in this book is how John Nash Jr. recovered from what seemed to be the end of his life. This story is not just about the brilliance of the human mind but also about how the heart that learned how to love can transform and create wonders in our lives. I would like to share a quote which has touched me fondly:
“I’ve made the most important discovery of my life. It’s only in the mysterious equation of love that any logic or reason can be found.”
With the selflessness and love of his wife and the help from his friends and colleagues, John Nash Jr., having been lost to reality, was able to grasp and get a hold of reality once more.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Gilda Moreno, Psy.D. explained that although there is no guarantee for someone to recover from schizophrenia, “social factors — such as having a job, a supportive community and a family that is able to help with everyday tasks — are [also] linked with better outcomes for schizophrenia patients.” She suggests that, “It may be that the people who have supportive environments are the ones who are able to live to an older age, and have a better outcome,” which was the key factor for Nash’s remission.
I confidently recommend this book to those people that have relatives or friends that are suffering from a mental disorder. This story gives a much-needed sense of inspiration, of hope, both to the people that have a mental disorder and those that are around them. A Beautiful Mind is a story of achievement, compassion, redemption, and love. It openly and without fail, relates to the readers, the complexities of not just the human mind but also love and life in general.
Reading this biography has been a touching journey for me, with valuable life lessons that I have picked throughout the entirety of the story. If you want to have an understanding of what schizophrenia is all about, psychiatrists recommend reading this book, A Beautiful Mind.
For those who also enjoy motion pictures, A Beautiful Mind was also made into a movie which breathed more life into the character and portrayal of John Nash Jr. The film was also created wonderfully, capturing its audience’s attention with the richness of emotion and life lessons you can take with you. “When people watch any movie with an eye toward a particular character strength, they train themselves to become familiar with these virtues,” says Ryan Niemiec, Psy.D., co-author of “Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology.” Dr. Niemiec suggested that, “Psychologists can use those strengths in their own lives and help clients recognize and deploy their strengths.”
A Beautiful Mind is both time-worthy to read and watch for those that seek a better and inspiring story about mental disorder.