Mark Lukach – Writing About a Taboo Topic to Help Others


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Mark’s Wild Idea: To share his family’s story of mental illness and help others. To also choose commitment and love over fear.

Mark Lukach is a father, husband, teacher, surfer, bodysurfer, and the author of the new book, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, published by Harper Collins and on shelves this month. Six years ago, Mark submitted an essay about his wife’s struggle with mental illness and its effect on their marriage that was immediately accepted and published in The New York Times’ famous Modern Love column. The story quickly led to a book deal, and to many reaching out thanking him for sharing about such a difficult topic.

In addition to being an awesome writer, Mark is a teacher and the Dean of a high school in northern California. He loves trail running, body surfing and surfing, especially in Ocean Beach. His message about sacrifice, commitment and being vulnerable is so important to living wildly, and also inspiring.

Listen to this Episode if:

  • You have or know someone with a mental illness.
  • You are or want to be a writer.
  • You love teaching high school students.
  • You have a story you want to tell, but are afraid to tell it.
  • You are a runner who loves hitting the trails.
  • You love surfing or bodysurfing.

Key Takeaways

  • 3:40 – The inspiration behind Mark’s new book.
  • 6:30 –  Who is affected by mental illness.
  • 8:15 – What gave Mark the courage to write this book.
  • 14:15 – Where the U.S. falls in treatment of mental health.
  • 17:30 – How to help people with mental illness or who are close to someone with mental illness.
  • 21:50 – The values of commitment, sacrifice, and patience.
  • 25:30 – Balancing teaching, family and writing.
  • 27:00 – Mark’s advice for his high school students.
  • 29:05 – How Mark fits surfing and running into his life.
  • 33:00 – What Mark’s wife thinks of his book.
  • 34:20 – Who’s going to play Mark in the movie?
  • 38:50 – How Mark got his piece into the Modern Love column.
  • 41:20 – The difference between a good essay and a good book.
  • 46:15 – How surfing in Ocean Beach made this journey happen.
  • 49:30 – Sharing a story that’s hard.
  • 55:00 – We’re all in this together.

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