No matter how great life seems, things like depression, anxiety, and nervous breakdowns can hit at any time. For Mark Lukach, and his wife, Giulia, mental illness hit after Giulia turned twenty-seven. Lukach chronicles their life with mental illness and the way that mental illness shapes a marriage. The story that Lukach tells is poignant and page-turning. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to find out what was happening with Giulia whether she got better, and how Mark and their marriage fared through all of this.
As someone who has suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, it was really good to read a book from the perspective of someone who has been the partner of the person struggling against mental illness. I recommend this book and hope that it helps to de-stimgatize mental illness.
• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (May 2, 2017)
A heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love.
Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well-adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe.
Eventually, Giulia fully recovered, and the couple had a son. But, soon after Jonas was born, Giulia had another breakdown, and then a third a few years after that. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything the couple had once taken for granted was upended.
A story of the fragility of the mind, and the tenacity of the human spirit, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is, above all, a love story that raises profound questions: How do we care for the people we love? What and who do we live for? Breathtaking in its candor, radiant with compassion, and written with dazzling lyricism, Lukach’s is an intensely personal odyssey through the harrowing years of his wife’s mental illness, anchored by an abiding devotion to family that will affirm readers’ faith in the power of love.
About Mark Lukach
Mark Lukach is a teacher and freelance writer. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Wired, and other publications. He is currently the ninth-grade dean at the Athenian School, where he also teaches history. He lives with his wife, Giulia, and their son, Jonas, in the San Francisco Bay Area.