[Music] EMCEE: Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mark Lukach. [Applause] MARK LUKACH: I tend to not have that much
of a problem with sharing honestly and so I was pretty forthright about some of my life
path and life decisions and stuff. That’s just kind of my personality. MARK [On stage]: I came home from work one
day and I found my wife sitting on the floor in the guest room and she wouldn’t look up
at me. And finally after a little while, I coaxed it out of her. What’s wrong? And she
said I’ve been thinking about what I’m gonna do with the Vespa key. I didn’t know what
she was talking about. We have a Vespa, but… And so she said, when I go to the Golden Gate
Bridge, I need to take the scooter to get there and when I jump off the bridge, I don’t
know what I’m gonna do with the Vespa key. I met and fell in love with my wife Julia
when I was 18, and when you’re 18 you don’t think about the future very much. And when
I thought about it, I thought it was going to be bright and shiny. I didn’t think that
someday, this person that I love so much was going to get really sick and that she was
going to experience so much pain and that I was gonna spend so much time afraid and
worried about whether she would live or die. MARK [Interview]: As for my specific Moth
story, I actually didn’t work with Julia on it much at all. We’ve talked about this so
much. She’s very, I think, comfortable with my take on things. I asked her, I said do
you wanna hear it? She’s like, y’know I kinda just want to wait until the event because
I know—I know you’re going to be respectful to how I would want it to be told. MARK [On stage]: I was completely over my
head, and so I took her to the hospital and I had to literally grab her, but she was kicking
and screaming and trying to grab onto door knobs in order to get her into the car to
take her to the hospital and once we got there, they admitted her to the psych ward and let
me just tell you the psych ward just as horrifying as it looks in the movies. With the blank
white walls and the bars on the windows and the little cups with medicine. And I visited
her every day from 7 to 8:30 during visiting hours. Sometimes she didn’t want me to visit.
She was scared that if I came close to her, this thing that was inside her might get me
too. So in this perverse way she was trying to protect me while I was trying to protect
her and I didn’t know what to do so I did everything because I thought somehow maybe
I could love this thing out of her. Maybe I could say the right thing to her or I could
hold her close enough or I could ask the right questions to the doctors and I could somehow
make this go away. MARK [Interview]: Mental illness is so stigmatized,
but it’s so prevalent. Like, the statistic are really shocking about how many people
actually deal with this and how many families have to address it and yet when my wife was
hospitalized, I thought I was the only person in the world that had ever done this because
I couldn’t find anyone out there talking about what it was like to have your wife locked
up in a hospital. So that really became my charge, was like I wanna be out there talking
about this stuff so that hopefully some guy either in the audience or watching on YouTube
or whatever or child or parent or whoever it might be says, hey, this is similar because
my sister is going through this or my son’s going through this or whatever else it might
be and I think it’s just gonna hopefully make them feel less alone. MARK [On stage]: And when she was discharged,
I took three months off work in order to stay home and take care of her and I thought three
months is gonna be plenty of time. She’ll be fine. After three months I had to go back
to work to keep up my insurance and she wasn’t fine at all. She was, you could say worse
because she was openly suicidal at that point and so I go to work and basically panic all
day and then I’d come home and pretend everything was fine and dance around the house and be
goofy and just try to keep life light for her and for me and this was our life for months.
Y’know, for months I was her cheerleader and I was her watchman, but I was also terrified.
I was slowly falling apart inside. MARK [Interview]: I’ve listened to a lot of
The Moth stories and in my opinion, the best stories I’ve heard couple humor with tragedy
or emotion or whatever. So I really was hoping that I could make it funny. It’s not funny.
Unfortunately. I had to let that go. I just really embraced that, yeah, it’s a heartbreaking
story, what we went through. It was really hard. That’s okay. I don’t need to be the
funny guy that somehow makes sadness funny. MARK [On stage]: Finally, after 9 months,
they sat me down and said we think it’s time we consider ECT. ECT stands for electroconvulsive
therapy. And I know that a lot has changed since the 60s and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s
Nest, but when they said to me they wanted to give my wife shock treatment, that’s when
I really—I knew I was at the edge and I once again feared was Julia ever going to
get better? But they said we’re gonna give it one last try. We’re gonna give one drug
combination, another shot before we go that route and hope for the best. Two weeks later,
we’re in aerobics class and I look in one of the mirrors and I see Julia and she’s smiling.
You have to understand how rarely smiled and I smiled back and I stopped and I watched
her for a little bit and she was less slow. She was more in control of her body. She was
coming back and I turned and I faced her and I looked in her eyes and for the first time
in 9 months, I saw life again. I saw this spark of health that we all take for granted
so much. And I knew she was gonna make it. And I turned back to that aerobics teacher
and I kept going so hard, I thought my arms were gonna fall out of their socket, I was
so victorious. MARK [Interview]: So the part that I don’t
mention in the story is that my wife has bipolar, which does come back and in fact is back right
now. Like, my wife is currently sick. She is currently heavily medicated. She was in
the hospital three months ago. That means that this story once again feels very very
raw to me, but what’s gonna be good for me is to get to talk about the past. I’ll get
to use the past tense and get to drop the present tense for 10 minutes and I think that’s
gonna be really important to to me because I thin it’s gonna remind me, y’know, I try
to remind myself this all the time, but like we went through it once, we can get through
it again. [Applause] MARK: My name is Mark Lukach, I’m a first
time Moth storyteller, please subscribe to THNKR.