Title: My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward
Author: Mark Luckach
Published: May 2 2017
Genre: Personal Memoir/ Biography & Autobiography
You can buy it HERE
I just finished it… The book that I have been obsessed about for a few days now, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, By Mark Lukach. Much like many of the books that I read, this one is full of emotions, raw and real. The book doesn’t sugar coat any part of Giulia’s mental illness or how it affected her family. The book is based on real events that happened in this families life and I think it is something that everyone should give a read! As someone who doesn’t personally deal with a diagnosed mental illness, I do have family members who do and I can sympathize with Mark.
Love in Sickness and In Health
The love between Mark and Giulia is quite beautiful. They meet in university and fell head over heels for each other. They were inseparable for many years through school, struggled with long-distance as their jobs separated them after graduation, but they still came together after many years of indescribable love for each other. For the beginning of their relationship Giulia never struggled with mental illness, she was just going about her day to day life with very few concerns until she had a mental breakdown. It slowly developed over a few weeks until it was unbearable. At this time Mark could have just upped and walked away, as some people do. He was with Giulia as much as he could be, keeping on top of the appointments, doctors advice, and meds, he was there for it all. It just shows that when mental health affects someone you love it also affects you and your personal life. Love isn’t easy, neither is marriage. Many people tell me that over the years love is something you choose, something you work for daily and I totally believe that. Mark didn’t choose for Giulia to have a mental breakdown, nor was it something he was happy about, but it happened and they dealt with it the best they could, together.
Sometimes You Just Need to Listen
I found that having a family member who is struggling with a mental illness you can often feel helpless. I stayed awake many times worrying about what might happen, wondering what I could do or say to help, and often worried to go into work because I know I would lose contact with that person for a few hours. Being there first hand, you want to just tell them that everything will be ok, they are great and the most amazing person you know and that we will get through it together, but that isn’t always what they need or want to hear. I found it very reassuring that this was also the case with Mark and Giulia. There was a time when Mark would constantly reassure her that she would make it through this, and confirm that she is strong. At a point, he didn’t know what to say anymore, and instead just listened and at the end, she thanked him for just listening. Sometimes we don’t know how to help or what to say, and that is ok too. I know it’s not easy, but being there for that person is the best thing that you can do for them. That doesn’t always mean hovering over them, but just being around or checking in when they need it.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
Giulia spent 23 days in the psych ward during her first episode. Every day Mark was there visiting her for as long as he could. When he wasn’t at the hospital he was usually updating people on how she was or entertaining family who was staying with him to help. Eventually, Mark realized that he needed some time alone. At home Mark and his mother in law had been living together and he wasn’t able to properly decompress what was happening. Know that it is ok to be alone and just veg on the couch for a bit. You cannot forget to take care of yourself! After Giulia returned home from the psych ward and was in a better place mentally Mark felt a lot of resentment toward his wife. He had spent the past few months with all the attention on her that he forgot to take care of himself and his needs. Their relationship dynamics had shifted and so did their routine that they had known for so long. They had to learn how to love each other again, how to talk about what had occurred in a healthy way, and how to adapt. Luckily with time and hard work they were able to get through everything and care for each other again. It is important to be there for your loved one when they need you most, but don’t forget to take care of yourself too. You cannot help someone else if you are not first helping yourself.
This book taught me a lot and really showed me how deeply mental health can affect the daily lives of many people. Whether it is yourself, your family members or someone you know that is struggling try to be there for them the best that you can be. You might feel helpless but trying is better then not trying. There are many great resources out there that can help you or someone you know, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Moral of the Story: Hug your loved ones