Almost a year ago, Mark Lukach went on a TEDx stage in Monterey, Calif., and told an audience that his wife, Giulia, once contemplated jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
In that talk (above), Lukach describes what it is like to love a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He also addresses a question he says many used to ask him: Why did he stay with Giulia?
"First off ... I love my wife, I love her a lot," Lukach says in the video. "The second reason I stuck around is because of this commitment to the idea of commitment itself."
Watch the full TEDx talk above to hear Lukach explain how love and commitment helped his family in the darkest of times.
Lukach has also discussed his wife's mental illness in a New York Times op-ed and a memoir, Where the Road Meets the Sun.
"The biggest thing I hope to achieve through sharing our story is to help others feel less alone, to know that they aren't the only people to go through this, and that although there are no certain outcomes, there is reason to be hopeful," Lukach, now 31, told The Huffington Post in an email.
In the past year, Lukach says he, Giulia and their son, have had time to "re-establish [their] sense of balance and stability."
"There's a huge temptation to simply put the troublesome past to rest once you've made it through," Lukach told HuffPost, "but by 'going public,' you feel this sense of obligation to live up to the things you say ... It's like I am now on the record saying these things about love, commitment, and faith, and so I damn well better not forget them."
Lukach says he's been floored by the outpouring of people who have reached out to share their own stories with him. He hopes that those who hear his message take away this:
Love doesn't solve all of life's problems, but it somehow makes them more manageable. Love takes so much from you, but it gives so much in return. When you are hurting, I think there's a temptation to turn inward with pity. Why me? Why now? But I've found those feelings of pity sap you of energy and of compassion for others, when it's compassion that pushes you in a healthier direction. So I want to remind people of the age-old truth to love each other. And love can be found everywhere, not just in a dozen roses, but in a psych ward or a conversation about suicide, too.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.