Mark Lukach’s memoir about his wife’s sudden psychotic disorder helps fill the need for books by caregivers, for caregivers
What do you do when your wife starts talking to the devil? That was the question faced by history teacher Mark Lukach in 2009, when his spouse, Giulia, had a sudden and unexpected psychotic episode. In Lukach’s affecting memoir, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, he chronicles what happened before and after he took Giulia to an ER in San Francisco for treatment. It’s a moving account of what it’s like to watch a loved one come undone.
Nine years prior to the crisis, they were college sweethearts—lovestruck, with a bright future. After graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., they married and moved to San Francisco to start their new life together. Lukach couldn’t have been more proud of his wife, an ambitious striver who aced her internships in advertising and the fashion industry.
Soon after landing her dream job in San Francisco, however, Giulia stopped sleeping and eating. Within a month, she became paranoid and suicidal, and started talking to God, then the devil. It was a shock to everyone—her family, her friends and, most of all, her husband. After spending 23 days in the psych ward, Giulia went home with a shaky diagnosis and an ever-changing cocktail of medication. A crippling depression consumed Giulia for nearly a year. When her recovery finally seemed complete, Giulia and Mark had a baby and Giulia went back to work. Sadly, Giulia’s psychotic break wasn’t an isolated incident. She had two relapses over the next five years.
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