My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward gives readers an intimate and often heartbreaking look into the lives of author Mark Lukach and his wife, Giulia. In their third year of marriage, Giulia suffered a psychotic break. Delusional and suicidal, she was confined to a psych ward for twenty three days before she was allowed to return home. In time, she recovered, and they welcomed their son, Jonah, into the world. Sadly, Giulia would suffer two more psychotic episodes over the next few years, and had to be confined to the psych ward, again, each time.
Giulia’s journey is often distressing to read about, as is the way it affected all those who loved her. Lukach tells how he felt as a husband—and later, as a father—as he watched his beloved wife slide into episodes of delusional thinking, and the terror he felt when Giulia became suicidal. He also writes about how the role of caretaker took a toll on him physically and emotionally, and is brutally honest about the anger he sometimes felt toward his wife, and how overwhelmed he became in trying to care for both his wife and son during these times.
It feels weird to say I enjoyed a book about so serious a topic as mental illness, but I did. It’s beautifully written, and I know I’ll be thinking about this book for quite some time.
Highly recommended for readers who enjoy memoirs, and books dealing with mental health issues!
About the Book
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 the Author
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.