My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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 the ninth-grade dean at the Athenian School, where he also teaches history. He lives with his wife, Giulia, and their two sons in the San Francisco Bay area.
“Honest and heartfelt, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward tells the difficult story of a marriage tested by mental illness, and reminds us that true love is never easy.”
— Kyle Boelte, author of The Beautiful Unseen
“Lukach’s rare combination of tenderness and ruthlessness is what makes this book more interesting than your typical illness narrative.”
— New York Times Book Review
“An honest and rewarding memoir of a couple’s compassion and love for each other.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“This gorgeous memoir gives readers a raw and unvarnished account of what it’s like to live with and love someone with a severe mental illness. There are moments of gut-wrenching sadness—but, ultimately, the story is hopeful, even triumphant. This book basically tore out my heart and then lovingly sewed it back in place.”
— Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire
“My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is a compelling memoir and a heartrending tale of love, madness, and redemption. Like a long-distance trail runner, Mark Lukach embarks on a harrowing journey deep into the woods of psychosis and through the dark twists and turns of his wife’s illness and gradual recovery. But his loyalty to her never wavers, and his story is a testament to the healing power of love and endurance.”
— Stuart H. Coleman, author of Eddie Would Go
“Lukach lyrically transforms our understanding of love, mental illness, patience, and devotion in this stunning memoir. With moving and touching prose, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward describes what it’s like to have the picture of your life smashed in an instant and subsequently reassembled miraculously.”
— Mayim Bialik, PhD, neuroscientist, actress, and New York Times bestselling author
“The deeply passionate account of the couple’s journey through Giulia’s psychotic break and recovery…through it all Lukach explores the fragility of the human mind alongside the resilience of true love and partnership.”