Academy Award Winner Jennifer Connelly Visits Patient Library for Role in Virginia
From the Fall 2009 NYSPI Patient Library Newsletter:
I was asked the day before Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Connelly visited PI if I would meet with her. The opportunity to meet the actress who portrayed John Nash’s wife in the award-winning movie A Beautiful Mind amazed me. Of course, I said yes. The evening before her visit, it was difficult for me to sleep because I was excited.
When Ms. Connelly arrived shortly after 10:30 am, I was ready to be as helpful to her as I could. She was to meet the director of NYSPI, Dr. Lieberman, after she left me, so I wanted our time together to be productive. It turned out she was studying for the lead role in the forthcoming movie, What’s Wrong with Virginia, where she will be playing an emotionally disturbed woman. Because of my personal battle with schizophrenia, she wanted to meet me. I answered some initial questions she had, then showed her some videos which featured me: AstraZeneca’s More Success Stories and our Spanishlanguage psychoeducational film, ¿Qué es la Esquizofrenia?. I was going to offer her a copy of my autobiography, A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope ,but she had already started reading an electronic copy. Then I answered a slew of other questions she had, and mentioned our community event for the film Canvas, which was of interest to her. Finally, I showed her other print and video resources she could use to learn about schizophrenia, and gave her a NARSAD pamphlet on the subject. She told me a bit about the film, and I was happy to learn about the complexity and humanity of her role. At the end of our hour together, she thanked me for my time, and I told her it was a pleasure to meet her.
In retrospect, I was struck by her down-to-earth manner, intelligence, and genuine interest in learning more about schizophrenia as one facet of the human condition. I look forward to seeing her on the silver screen.
About Mr. Jiang: Schizophrenic. Psychotic. Insane. Too many people associate these words with murderer, useless, hopeless, and bum. Meet Will. At 19 he had his first psychotic break with reality. Afterwards, he had to re-learn his place in the world. He went from being a vibrant and gifted university senior, to being a mental patient on a locked ward for whom life was laborious and chaotic. In the beginning, he had to learn to cope with reality again minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, then year by year. Much later, after years of being a medical librarian, he was able to unlock some of his own brain’s healing potential using natural nutritional techniques. Now, at 41, his list of life accomplishments is impressive. Author of 13 popular Kindle books. Former Columbia University/NYSPI Medical Library Chief. Designer. Speaker of English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
His critically-acclaimed autobiography is “A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope“. Mr Jiang and his intense 20+ year struggle with schizophrenia is iconoclastic because he challenges us to think differently about stereotypes of mental illness. Most movies and media news paint one-dimensional, thinly drawn caricatures of mentally ill people, instilling fear. Refreshingly, words that could describe Mr. Jiang’s life and work include: brilliant, passionate, artistic, profound, knowledgeable, inspirational, and even “wise teacher”.
William Jiang BA MLS Mental Health Author and Advocate
Facebook Group: Living Well With Schizophrenia
Author Blog: http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/williamjiang