A Beautiful Mind – Film

I watched this movie in my early twenties, and remember enjoying it very much, even though back then, I had very little knowledge of mental illnesses, despite taking two psychology courses in high school. It was exciting to see it again recently, even though I knew of how the story would unravel in the end.

*Please note, if you haven’t watched the film yet, and don’t know much about it, this will be a spoiler!

The film is based on a true story, about a famous mathematician, John Nash and his struggles with schizophrenia. As a graduate student at Princeton in 1948,  he spent most of his time trying to find a mathematical theorem that would be completely original. He wasn’t much of a social-person, but became good friends with his roommate, Charles. Nash becomes a professor at MIT where despite having difficulty teaching his class, he meets and marries one of his graduate student, Alicia.

Over time Nash begins to lose his grip on reality and in their second year of marriage, Alicia sends him to a mental hospital where he is diagnosed with schizophrenia and for nine years, Nash spends time in psychiatric hospitals.

When I watched the film, I was inspired at Nash’s determination to continue his goal, at the same time, I also was even more inspired by Alicia’s determination, royalty and support to help Nash through the struggles. In the movie, they remain married even though Alicia comes close to leaving him. In reality, they divorced in 1963.

In the 1970s he gradually makes his way back to research and teaching while living in Alicia’s home.

An interesting note is that according to Nash, the film inaccurately showed him taking new atypical antipsychotics during this period. He explains that the mother of the screenwriter who was a psychiatrist was concerned about encouraging people with schizophrenia to not take their medication. However, others have questioned whether this was a coverup for whether this disorder can really be ‘solved’ with such drugs.

Nash has said they are overrated and that the side effects are not given enough consideration for those who are suffering from mental disorders. According to the author of the book, Nash recovered gradually with time.

In 1994, John Nash was awarded the Nobel prize in Economics. Nash and Alicia resumed their romantic relationship and were remarried in 2001.

This film, and the life of John Nash proves to show that even those with disabilities, can achieve much greatness. 🙂 It’s a must see film!

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Holiday Events in Vancouver

With Christmas around the corner, there are many events going on around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.Here are the events you don’t want to miss!

ÖLights at Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver

Sails of Light Christmas at Canada Place
Date: now until Dec 30
What’s happening: different kinds of activities.See  beautiful colours on the 90-foot sails,  15 beautifully Xmas trees and some Woodward’s window displays. Complimentary hot drinks!!!
Charities: all in support of Strathcona Community Centre’s Food Security for Children Program.

3rd annual Vancouver Christmas Market
Location: Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza at 650 Hamilton
Date/Time: now until Dec 24th
What’s happening: vendors selling edible treats, gifts, authentic wooden decorations  Enjoy the lights, decorations, entertainment
Tickets: Admission Rates (including HST)
Adult (13 + years) $5 Mon – Fri 4pm-9pm & 11am-9pm weekends
Adult (13 + years) $2 Special! Mon – Fri 11am-4pm
Youth (7 – 12 years) $2
Child (0 – 6 years) FREE
Carousel Rides $3 per ticket; $10 per package of 5 tickets
Buy 1 entry ticket and have unlimited re-entry til closing night, Dec 24th @ 6pm.

Grouse Mountain Peak of Christmas
What’s happening: Meet Santa’s reindeer, Dance & Vixen (9am-10pm) in the Wildlife Refuge. The Grouse Mountain Chalet will be lit up with new Gingerbread Village. Experience sleigh rides, ice skating, Christmas-themed movies, and complimentary skating lessons.
Charities: Proceeds from Chalet’s light up in support of SOS Children’s Village – international children’s charity, providing long-term care for children in need. Proceeds from skate rentals will be donated to the Karen Magnussen Foundation, to put more of BC’s youth on the world stage now and in years to come.

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Date: now until Jan 5th, holiday activities running from 4pm-9pm daily.
What’s happening: Check out the 450-foot long, 230-foot high Capilano Suspension Bridge!  Lights will be lit, decorating the forest and bridge, Scavenger hunts, cookie decorating, caroling and glass blowing demonstration.
Tickets:
Adult ………………………………………… $31.95
Senior 65+ ………………………………….. $29.95
Student 17+ with ID ………………………. $25.95
Youth 13 – 16 ………………………………. $19.95
Child 6 – 12 ………………………………… $12.00
Family Rate* ……………………………….. $65.00

Lost Lagoon Fountain in Stanley Park
6,000 multi-coloured lights. Is easily visible form the Georgia St. Causeway from 3:30pm til midnight, until Jan 7th.

The Elm Grove at English Bay
12,000 lights cover six elm trees at the corner of Beach Ave at Bidwell St. On from 3:30pm  to midnight, until Jan 7th.

15th Bright Nights at Stanley Park
What’s happening: 2 million lights light up the park. Miniature train though winter wonderland!
Date: now until Jan 1 (closed Xmas Day) and is open 3-10pm, Sun-Thurs, 3-11pm Fri+Sat and 11am-3pm Wed, Sat and Sun.
Charities: BC Professional Fire Fighter’s Burn Fund.

Jewel Box of Lights at Bloedel Conservatory
Location: Queen Elizabeth Park: Bloedel Conservatory 4600 Cambie St. Vancouver
What’s happening: light decorations in the conservatory.
Date: 4:30-9pm now until Jan 1st (closed Xmas Day).
Tickets:
Adult (19-64 years)  $7.00 | Senior (65+ years) $5.00 | Youth (13-18 years) $5.00 | Child (3-12 years)  $3.50
Family (1-2 Adults of the same household and their children  $16.50

Van Dusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights
Date: now until  Jan 1 (closed Xmas Day)
Location: 5251 Oak St. Vancouver
What’s happening: tons of lights decorate the garden. Every 30 minutes there is the Dancing Lights Show on Livingstone Lake, live holiday music,  festive food, meet Santa, entertainment, and choir concerts
Tickets: Adult (19-64)  $14.25 | Senior (65+)  $10.50 |  Youth (13-18)  $10.50  | Child (3-12)  $7.75
Family (two adults and their children under 19)  $32.50
Members  $11.25  VanDusen Family Members (two adults and their children under 19)  $27.25
Children under age 2  Free

St. Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope
Location: St. Paul’s Hospital 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver
What’s happening: 10 km of lights
Charities: donations are used for a variety of projects from purchasing life-saving equipment to world-leading research

Granville Island
Musicians, horse-drawn trolley rides & drink some delicious hot chocolate. Variety of activities for everyone to enjoy. Check out their website for more info.

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Date: Dec21 6pm-9pm
What’s happening: Come celebrate the 19th annual festival. The lantern procession starts at the Strathcona Community Centre, and will make its way to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park. There will be lantern creations, tea ceremonies and live music. Admission is free but donations are accepted.

Hope you get a chance to check out some of them! Happy holidays! 😀

Book: Eat, Love, Pray

Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert

A wonderfully written book. I recommend it to everyone!

Don’t watch the movie! It does not go in depth with all the inner struggles the main character faces.

The book is about the life-journey of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert on how she dealt with depression, loss, self-identity, and renewal. She had everything that a woman could dream of. She was well-educated, owned a home along with her husband, and a successful career as a writer. However, she always felt something was missing and she felt miserable, falling into depression – to the point of harming herself.

To start over, she filed for divorce, lost her home, and most of her monetary possessions.

She went on to spend several months in Italy, enjoying all the delicious food and relaxing (which is difficult to do in modern North American culture). This part of the journey is the ‘Eat’ section. Next, she goes onto India to find her spirituality, in which she learns to meditate and find peace with herself. (the ‘Pray’ part). At the end, she stays in Indonesia to find love, friendship, companionship, and community. (‘Love’.)

Her entire trip was paid for in advance with a book deal from the publisher. I’m sure the publishers are very happy! but I think Gilbert is even more satisfied for the ‘renewal’ of  her well-being.

Now most of us wouldn’t have the opportunity to just throw everything away just like that. If you have kids for instance, you just can’t decide to leave the country to live around the world. Traveling can get expensive, so unless you have quite a bit saved up, it’ll be difficult to do! But you can still try to do it without going far. You can still enjoy eating great food (as in healthy, and delicious). There are tons of restaurants in Vancouver, from Japanese, Western Korean, Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, Indian, and the list goes on. You can never run out or get bored.

Take time to read good books, enjoy time at the beach or park, buy some plants for your home, spend time with family and friends. Enjoy every moment. Enjoy the now. Although like most of us, the thought of financial problems are always at the back of our minds, especially for someone who hasn’t been working for several years, it’s a big concern. Hopefully, with time, effort and support, we’ll get to a place and time when we’ll be able to either work, or find ways of earning money (work in modern days doesn’t mean going into an office 9-5 now. There are many ways of earning from home. Ever heard of making a living out of a blog? lol – though you’re need a fairly big audience and popularity for that)

Happy Reading! Remember to Eat, Pray/Meditate, and Love!

Buy your copy of the book @ Amazon.ca. Click here.

Film: The King’s Speech

This is an year old movie, The King’s Speech but I thought I’d blog about it. The movie is based on the true story of King George VI of Britain (the father of Queen Elizabeth II) and his struggle of speech. After his brother Edward VIII abdicates, George (‘Bertie’) reluctantly takes over the throne. However, with his speech impediment that he has had most of his life, he was considered unfit to be king, especially at a time when the country was at the brink of war. George begins his therapy with a speech therapist named Lionel Logue. With various techniques and treatments, and an unlikely friendship, George slowly builds confidence and find his voice in order to deliver a speech that inspired his people.

I’m sure that the film has inspired more people knowing what he had to go through to become the King that he became. The film helps to show that just because you have this speech problem doesn’t mean that you are ‘dumb’. There has been many people in position of power who we’ve adored, admired and looked up to who have had this impediment. Yet, in the media, we often see those who aren’t ‘normal’ to be mocked, teased and looked down upon.

With over 70 million people suffering from this condition worldwide I hope that this film will give encourgement for those who suffer from it, and also help to get rid of that stereotype that they are ‘stupid’. Of course it’s not easy. In the film the speech improvements were apparent in months rather than the years it actually took. The King actually began working with Lionel Logue ten years before the abdication crisis.

I don’t suffer from speech impediment, but can relate to the overall frustration, anger, sadness, and going through treatments to help you ‘function’ better. Sometimes you feel a bit silly doing little exercises that are suppose to help you. You wonder ‘Why do I have to do this? No one else is! Everyone can do (whatever the challenge is) without ever thinking! Why must I suffer? Why must I spend hours and hours with therapy so that I can do what everyone else can do without effort?’ But try to focus on the positive side. If you are seeing improvements, praise them, and know that you can get better!

It will take time, but don’t give up! Y

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King%27s_Speech

More info on stuttering: http://www.metrolic.com/children-who-stutter-praise-new-kings-speech-159824/