My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

Feb 4, 2014 – One of my dear friends from college sent me a link to The Moth podcast on which Mark Lukach told his story about supporting his wife through her struggle with mental illness. On May 2, 2017 Mark published his first book, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

Two weeks after my friend Jen sent me the link to Mark’s story, we were on vacation in Florida for my grandmother’s 90th birthday. I sat my family down – Ben, my mom and my dad – around the kitchen table to listen together. Tears flowed. Giulia’s story had so many parallels to my own. I was so moved and impressed by how her husband could articulate what he had went through as he watched her struggle with her illness, helpless at times but he never gave up on getting her well.

In reading Mark’s book, I had a glimpse of what my family and husband must have gone through during the early stages of my illness. The research, navigating the system, figuring out how to best support me as I called my parents sobbing every day for a year. Actually, their response to my depression seemed intuitive. Both my parents were so supportive and patient with me as I struggled to understand what was happening to me. My mom and I are similar in our typical impatience with nearly everything, but this was different. It must have hurt them to see me in such pain. 

This was brought to light in Mark’s storytelling. He was able to so eloquently take the reader into the thoughts and emotions running through his mind as he watched his wife lose hers. I often think about how terrifying it must have been for Ben and my family to see me lose control of my thinking. To this day Ben has a hard time talking about it.

My guess is this book was as therapeutic and healing for Mark to write as participating in This Is My Brave has been to me and my storytellers. Each time we are able to unpack those complicated memories from our experiences with mental illness, we relieve the burden of holding onto those heavy secrets. 

Loving someone who lives with a mental health issue is definitely not easy. But I don’t think a person has ultimate control over who they fall in love with. And with the statistics on the number of people living with mental health issues, chances are high most relationships face these challenges. In our case, and in Mark and Giulia’s, the journey only made us stronger. It changed my relationship with Ben for the better and I wouldn’t change a thing. My guess is Mark and Giulia wouldn’t either.

To order My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, use our This Is My Brave Amazon Smile link and we’ll earn a tiny donation. {I had pre-ordered the book and was lucky to receive this beautiful coloring page from Mark and Giulia’s son Jonas when it shipped in February. Been meaning to write this review ever since.}

Fun side note: Since connecting with Mark and Giulia on Twitter a few years ago, we’re hoping to meet in person this summer since Mark’s family still owns a beach house at Bethany Beach and my parents just bought one. It’s neat when internet friends meet up in person. Today is also Mark’s Birthday! Happy Birthday, Mark!

Comments

  1. I love where that podcast link has taken you and mark! What a great shared story!
    Xoxo

  2. HI jEN, I JUST READ YOUR BLOG THIS MORNING, AND STRAIGHT AWAY WWENT AND READ A SAMPLE OF “MY LOVELY WIFE IN THE PSYCH WARD” WOW OH WOW, I HAD TO BUY IT SO I DID, I AM ALREADY A FEW CHAPTERS IN AND DONT WANT TO PUT IT DOWN. I BOUGHT THIS BOOK TO TRY SEE IT THROUGH THE EYES OF MY HUSBAND AND TWO CHILDREN, THEY ARE BOTH TEENS NOW, I FIRST GOT DIAGNOSED SIX YEARS AGO WITH BIPOLAR. tHANKYOU FOR SHARING.
    sincerely KRISTY XX

  3. Mark is a truly wonderful person. He’s actually in my town this weekend staying with some friends! It’s a small world! I tried to arrange a book talk for him at our local bookstore, but they have a policy of not doing author events during graduation time… they get too packed. I’m extremely honored that Mark wrote a beautiful endorsement for my upcoming memoir about postpartum bipolar disorder.

    His book is a landmark achievement, and I am fortunate to know him through the internet, and hopefully meet him and his family in person someday!

  4. His book was incredible! So glad he was able to share their story.

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