There are changes that need to be made in terms of protecting the patient and having more caregiver rights. We packed our separate apartments into one moving truck and told the driver, “Go to San Francisco. Probably anxious about work. “My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward” is a heart-wrenching yet hopeful memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by the effects of mental illness. If there was a green or orange psychosis-supporter ribbon, I would have worn it. MY LOVELY WIFE IN THE PSYCH WARD: A MEMOIR By Mark Lukach 320 pgs. They’d sit on our couch and commiserate about how much they hated their pills, their doctors, and their diagnoses. Giulia stayed in the hospital 23 days, longer than anyone else on her ward. In the early days of the illness, Mark doles out platitudes: "stay positive" and "be in the moment." “The person we visit is not my daughter, and we don’t know if she is coming back.” I was silent, but agreed. We wed at 24. She sent us to El Camino Hospital Mountain View, an hour’s drive south from our house. She wasn’t that bad off, right? Three hospitalizations and the threat of more with a bipolar disorder diagnosis: how has this mental illness affected your marriage? I stayed up as late as I could, trying to comfort her—I’m sure you’re doing a great job at work, you always do—but by midnight I inevitably dozed off, racked by guilt. 351 King Street East, Suite 1600, Toronto, ON Canada, M5A 0N1, Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. Free trial available! Click here to subscribe. After a few years of marriage, we started talking about having the first of those three babies. From the beginning, I’d cast myself in the role of Giulia’s self-effacing caregiver—not a saint, but definitely a guy working on the side of good. The two meet in freshman year and marry six years later, the waves rocking them as Lukach proposes while they paddleboard and kayak far off land in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a small victory, but a genuine step in the right direction in a world where such steps are rare. I kept notes on what made things better and what made things worse. Now, at age 27, she was petrified, actually frozen—terrified of disappointing people and making the wrong impression. There are potlucks and Frisbee games with friends in Golden Gate Park. That meant her staying on the pills, going to bed early, eating well, minimizing alcohol and caffeine, exercising regularly. (That’s part of the critique from Insel, Frances, and others: Psychiatry, as it exists in the DSM, is just a directory of catchall symptom-based labels.) We never considered the possibility of a relapse. I told myself that I knew what was better for her than she did. Some family members of sick people want to question doctors aggressively. That was enough. There, a doctor instructed Giulia to nurse Jonas one last time, before she took the meds that would poison her breast milk. He's downplaying his role but I don't know if I would be here without Mark present the last eight years to get me through three hospitalizations that shook up my entire existence. The person you love is no longer there, replaced by a stranger who’s shocking and exotic. Giulia experiences both the highs and lows as negatives, and her mania manifests itself in delusions, sometimes involving God and the devil. Giulia and I, finally, are trying to make one, and now that we’re doing so I have to concede that in some ways, Laing was right: The treatment of psychosis is about power. This is who we are are. “While that term can be really useful for explaining some things, it’s lacking in a whole lot of nuances.” He said he found the label “kind of alienating.” All that resonated with me. It's a fundamental rejection of their feelings. Then, finally, almost abruptly, Giulia was back. I wasn’t seeing the brilliant side of Giulia’s behaviors, and I wasn’t eager for more judgment and guilt. I realize no mad map is going to keep Giulia out of the hospital, nor prevent us from fighting over her care. Now we have a plan—for one bottle of pills. When we set aside time to talk about things, we know we’re making calendar space to fight. I called my insurance provider when Giulia was hospitalized and told them that I needed to speak to a therapist, that I was having a tough time. by Lukach, Mark (ISBN: 9780062698391) from Amazon's Book Store. The conflict between us extended to the doctor’s office. And Giulia, she can't just assume that I'm chugging along at 100 per cent all the time. Giulia chose not to take the pills. This dynamic isn’t unique to us—it exists in countless other families who lived through a psychiatric crisis. How mental illness re-shapes a marriage. When people get married and say, "in sickness and in health," you really don't know what you're signing up for. That was critical. We'd sit there, they'd ask questions and I'd give Giulia a half-second to answer before I jumped in and answered for her. Why would we? I can send them a note and literally, within 30 minutes, they'll reach out to me. Already, Cas knew, I was worrying about falling back into my role as Giulia’s keeper, the psychiatrist’s enforcer. All this was very comforting, but I really perked up and started paying careful attention when DuBrul introduced me to the concept of mad maps. She’d always been a bit high-strung, holding herself to impeccable standards. I tried to swallow my anger and fear that she wasn’t taking care of herself. It's a It's a beautiful, romantic and funny love story, which balances out the unsettling aspects of the Lukach family's experiences. This dynamic led us to become less than equals, which was unsettling. 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