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Interview with John Nash: Being Institutionalized

Play VideoI never went voluntarily. I only went voluntarily to sort of outpatient visits afterwards -- things that had been agreed. You come out of hospital but you see the psychiatrist regularly -- that sort of thing. While I would be working on mathematics and research I would be seeing, maybe once a week or something like that, a psychiatrist. I was seeing someone in the Boston area when I had gone back there around '65 or '66. And I think after a while I stopped seeing him while I was still there.

I didn't feel that I belonged locked up. If I'm going to be locked up one can be locked up there as well as some other place. In fact, it's the best place to be locked up if you're locked up as an insane person because they have better circumstances there. You have better occupational therapy, maybe, and nice grounds and stuff to do. Maybe the food is even better. I don't know about that, though.

It was an escape. I tried to get out earlier and it was delayed. I think I got out after 50 days. I had a lawyer, you see. I was arguing about it. You always argue on the basis of habeas corpus, but it isn't necessarily accepted. It's a tradition.

There was the first time in New Jersey. The policeman came. Officially my mother and my sister were acting as next of kin. But, of course, Alicia was around. She wasn't officially involved with it, but she had been officially involved on the first occasion. There was some conflict. She felt it was better not to be officially involved. Effectively a lot of people were thinking that that was what I needed, all these colleagues. And they were discussing it privately. So it wasn't simply the idea of my mother and my sister, who had to come up from Virginia for the purpose. They would come up and make an appearance at the time. But they were just providing a legal basis, so it was being done.

I don't think it's such a bad place. Of course, McLean is better. I don't know what it would be like to be there a long time. A person would be sort of privileged to have a longer-term period there.

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