Today’s guest is Mark Lukach, author of a brand new memoir titled “My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward.” If the title alone isn't enough to grab you, this snippet from the book’s description says it all:
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.
Needless to say, when Mark was thrusted into the new role as his wife’s caregiver he inevitably found himself confused, frustrated, and worst of all — completely alone. So the two big questions Mark and I tackle in our conversation are: A) How does one take care of themselves and draw the strength to support your spouse during a difficult mental illness? And B) How is his love and admiration for his wife able to remain intact through this journey? Mark’s wisdom on the topic is definitely worth a listen.
WHAT WE DISCUSS IN THIS EPISODE:
— Mark summarizes the story of his marriage and the onset of his wife’s illness and 3 hospitalizations [1:54]
— The (lack of) help Mark’s insurance company offered him when he considered counseling for himself [8:05]
— How Giulia’s illness actually made their family stronger in the long run [9:35]
— Mark’s frustration about the lack of information available for caregivers [12:20]
— How Mark’s love and admiration for Giulia has remained intact throughout her illness [15:05]
— How an active lifestyle, particularly running, became a great source of strength for Mark [16:25]
— The primal nature of running, and it connects us to our human ancestry [22:05]
— How surfing, and even just being in or around water can have similar effects [24:05]
— Mark’s advice to other caregivers [29:55]