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John Nash and How He Changed My Life

John & Alicia Nash out for a walk together. -Image courtesy of LA Times
John & Alicia Nash out for a walk together. -Image courtesy of LA Times

On Saturday, May 23, 2015, John Nash & his wife, Alicia, were riding through New Jersey in a taxi.

They had just returned from the Abel Prize awards ceremony in Oslo, Norway, where Dr. Nash had accepted his prize from the King of Norway himself.

For those of you who may not know this, I dedicated a whole chapter and several more pages of my first book, “Beating Ana: how to outsmart your eating disorder and take your life back,” to Dr. Nash’s story.

Even though I consider him one of my longtime mentors, we never met, but he and his wife were instrumental in stabilizing me in recovery nevertheless.

From Dr. Nash, I learned there really is such a thing as “mind over matter” (at least my personal matter, that is), and that it can be life-saving.

In this, he helped me increase my daily practice of “putting my mind on a diet,” a regimen he credits with helping him overcome the effects of paranoid schizophrenia.

And reading and watching his story (through Sylvia Nasar’s biographical book, “A Beautiful Mind,” and then the Ron Howard movie by the same name), forever cemented my commitment to keeping my own counsel – about my chances for a successful recovery AND a successful life.

My whole life is better because John & Alicia Nash refused to listen to anyone who claimed he could never overcome his mental illness. 

I am stronger, more confident, more connected to myself and my mentors, more courageous in building and maintaining close and nurturing connections, more adventurous and joyful – more of everything I want to be in life – because of their life together.

John & Alicia Nash on their wedding day. -Image courtesy of the Guardian
John & Alicia Nash on their wedding day. -Image courtesy of the Guardian

I don’t really have any words that can adequately express what is in my heart – what has been there ever since I first heard the news.

Dear John & Alicia,

Be well. Safe passage. Thank you so, so, SO very much.

With love and lifelong gratitude,


Today’s Takeaway: Have you ever experienced the sudden loss of a significant mentor in your life? What was that experience like for you? What did you do to honor their life, your gratitude, their passing and their enduring legacy? How are you different today because of their life and journey?

p.s. If you haven’t read any of the “formal” articles about their passing, may I recommend the Wall Street Journal article – it is my favorite.

John Nash and How He Changed My Life

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Mentor. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2015). John Nash and How He Changed My Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 May 2015
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