My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward by Mark Lukach | Book Review


My Lovely Wife in The Psych Ward is a heartbreaking memoir about a marriage that survived an illness that threatened to break it apart. Giulia and Mark were your average couple until they weren't. Before Giulia took ill, they were leading an average day-to-day life. Work was good, they had an apartment in San Francisco, a lovable dog, and enough savings to warrant thinking about starting a family. But a few sleepless nights, manic ramblings, and a mental breakdown later led to Giulia being committed to a psych ward for 14 days. From there Mark writes about the hurdles the couple faced, the life changes that had to be made for Giulia's safety, and the inner worries of someone who's in love with a mentally ill woman. And most importantly, how all of that led to her being committed for the second time.

I knew this memoir was going to break my heart, but I didn't expect how much of an impact it was going to make. This is a story about depression, but also about the power of love. How to love through the darkest of dark times, and how to do all of that without compromising yourself. Mark's voice is powerful throughout this book. 

What I really appreciated from this memoir was the no-filter way Lukach wrote about mental health. There were times when Giulia's depression made her act out in truly ugly ways - the way of most mental illnesses. Being sick can bring out the monsters inside of us that are built from months of pent up frustration at no longer knowing who we are and at feeling misunderstood by those who we thought loved us. Depression makes us question ourselves in ways that seem impossible once you look back on it with a cloudless vision. Mark doesn't sugarcoat anything, and instead of his writing making Giulia unlikable, it makes her feel human. I wanted to both shake her past self while pulling her into an embrace of safety. This book never tried to be fiction, it never tried to find beauty in the sadness, it was raw and continued to be so until the very last line.

This entire book is the most authentic voice of depression I've read. If you've ever struggled with any form of mental health, I urge you to pick this up. I guarantee you'll find at least one paragraph that speaks to your heart. 

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