My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
This is an inside view into the life of a mother with severe mental illness. Not only does she have a mental illness, but it seemingly comes out of NOWHERE.
And it's fucking terrifying.
The effect that her illness has on her family is profound and the multiple hospitalizations and medication changes are frustrating. If you have a friend or family member with a severe mental illness, you'll connect to this story. If you don't (how is that possible?), this will be eye-opening.
What's to love:
In my unscientific opinion, 96% of books about mental illness are written by the person with the diagnosis.
This book is different.
It's written by the husband. Not only that, but he doesn't sugarcoat anything. He tells it like it is (YES, it IS fucking hard living with someone with a mental illness). You can relate to his desire to help her, but you can also relate to his weariness in acting as a caregiver. I admired his honesty. Can't we all just admit that this shit is HARD?
It wasn't hard to ignore that this family had many resources at their disposal. They had access to healthcare. And had the ability to have family members flying in and out to help.
NOTE: I am not saying that this is bad, I'm just saying that this really isn't a realistic scenario in most families. While he acknowledged that they were fortunate, it can't go unmentioned that they benefited from a privilege.
Everyone should have access to healthcare and support. EVERYONE.
Quotes from My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward:
"'I mean, when I drive to the Golden Gate Bridge, I'll probably take the Vespa. When I park it, What should I do with the key? If I leave it in the scooter for you, someone will probably steal the scooter. But if I bring it with me, and they don't find my body after I jump, you'll lose the only key we have to the scooter.'"
"I felt trapped by the impossibility of the situation. I didn’t trust Giulia to make her own decisions. I wanted to make them for her, which led to her resenting me for not trusting her. I didn’t want Guilia to resent me, but the only way to do that would be to allow her to make her own decisions, even it that included choices that could hurt or even kill her. It wasn’t going to work if I remained in charge, and it would be too risky if she was in charge.”
I related to so much in this book. Have you ever felt guilty as a caretaker?
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