Alicia is beginning to feel isolated in Boston and worried about Nash’s mental state: Nash is beginning to accuse her of knowing “secrets” that she won’t t share with him. He claims that he has been “bugged” and paints black spots on their bedroom wall; he also seems “irritable” at times and “hypersensitive” at others. He threatens to take savings out of the bank and move to Europe, and he begins to write long, incomprehensible letters addressed to the U.N. and other government officials.
Nash displays clear symptoms of paranoid schizophrenias: his moods shift dramatically, he experiences delusions, and he exhibits compulsive, obsessive behavior. Nash’s behavior is beginning to become a “storm,” threatening Alicia’s own safety and livelihood.
Alicia decides to quit her job and take another job closer to the MIT campus in order to keep an eye on Nash. At first, she tells no one that Nash is behaving irrationally; later, she confides in Virginia Nash and two psychiatrists, who each advise different courses of treatment—medication or shock therapy. In January, Nash is approved for tenure but relieved of his teaching duties, since Martin is aware that Nash seems to be suffering a “nervous breakdown.” Alicia begins to wonder if she is exaggerating his mental decline, since many of his colleagues do not seem to be worried.
Alicia’s decision to quit her job in order to be closer to Nash is the first of many sacrifices she will make for her husband as he becomes more mentally ill. Determined to hold her family together, Alicia tries to keep her suffering—and Nash’s strange and aggressive behavior—under wraps.
In the spring, Nash abruptly leaves Boston for Washington, D.C., where he intends to deliver several of his incomprehensible letters to foreign embassies. Alicia goes with him, worried more for Nash’s safety than her own. Yet it is fear for her own well-being, and for that of their unborn child, that eventually prompts her to hospitalize Nash a few weeks later.
Ultimately, it becomes too difficult for Alicia to handle Nash on her own, and she is forced to hospitalize him; these hospitalizations will punctuate Nash’s life, and each one will cause him to become even more cut off from the world.