Thursday, September 07, 2006


In my last post I mentioned the film A Beautiful Mind. I first watched this film during my husbands first stay in hospital. The film played a critical role in helping me to understand my husbands illness, and how to react to it, at a time when I was completely uninformed by hospital staff. I also found comfort in the role of Alicia, John Nash’s wife. Here was a woman who had experienced all the same emotions that I was now going through. I admired her strength and courage, her loyalty and devotion to her husband. In a world where so many marriages fail when troublesome times come along, here was a woman who I felt I could relate to, because despite the devastating effects of mental illness on her marriage, like me she seemed determined to loyally help her husband through to the other side, and turn something destructive into something that would strengthen the bond between them. Like Brian Glazer, the producer of the movie, I felt that “John Nash’s victory wasn’t only that he beat Schizophrenia or that he won the Nobel prize. The victory in the movie and in his life is how the love between him and Alicia survived and grew and evolved.”

However, today I discovered, whilst doing some back up research for my last entry, that she did in fact divorce her husband a few years after the onset of his symptoms. She redeems herself slightly in my estimation by the fact that some years later she allowed him to be her “boarder” and thus prevented him from either becoming homeless or institutionalized. If she thought she could free herself from the pressures of being a carer she was sadly mistaken, as her son also developed Schizophrenia. Of course, it’s not my place to judge the decision of another, as each circumstance is different, but I suppose I kind of looked up to this character believing that she had stayed by his side and remained his constant companion well into old age. Some would argue that she did, and indeed the author of the book which the film is based on, credits Alicia with helping John through the most difficult stage of his life. I have difficulty in understanding how she did this, if they both lived in the same house as if two unrelated people. They remarried again nearly 40 years later in 2001, after John had received his Nobel prize and regained his status as a genius, and after the subsidence of his symptoms. Call me cynical, but whatever happened to “I force myself to see the man I married”? – a line from the film which I have clung to.

Whatever the reality of the situation, Alicia, the character in the film, is a beautiful one. I aspire to be as patient and loving as she is towards her husband. When John Nash accepted his Nobel prize, he didn’t make a speech about his wife either, but it makes a beautiful ending.


Stuart said...

I just read your blog, its engrossing and moving :)


Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi Stuart, thank you, I really appreciate your comment.

I'm sorry I have only just "approved" it, I'm still learning how to use this thing and didn't even realise I had some comments!

You'll probably notice I keep changing my posts! I keep thinking of things I've left out, or changing my mind about the wording. I'm glad you're enjoying it though.

Anonymous said...

I really like your blog, it's very illuminating. To be honest I have virtually no connection to schizophrenia, I just find it fascinating.

Anyways. John Nash and Alicia's divorce is disillusioning, but there is good news: they got remarried! (recently, around the time A Beautiful Mind came out) :D

Anonymous said...

Haha. okay. I kinda thought I would make your day, but then... well, if I had just read the thing more carefully I would've seen that you already KNEW about the remarriage. Ah well. Sorry for the random comment.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hehehe random comments are always welcome!

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm glad you are enjoying reading it.