Talia Fehrenbach and Carl Westerby’s love story began on the Ultimate Frisbee field in 2011. They were on the same Milwaukee Ultimate Club team.

After dating several months, Talia shared something that only those closest to her knew – she struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder and needed treatment in 2008. Read her story on Pages 6 and 7.

The news gave Carl pause, but it didn’t change how he felt about her – she was still the genuinely nice person who cares about others, was self-sacrificing and willing to go the extra mile for someone.

He admitted the revelation startled him.

“It just wasn’t something I was expecting, but at the same time, it didn’t really change who Talia was to me,” Carl, an electrical engineer for Milwaukee Tool, told me over the phone.

He asked her questions and researched the disorders online, and learned about her struggles as well as how to aid in her continued recovery.

The couple were married in September 2013, and are expecting a son in March. They’re going to name him Maximilian – after St. Maximilian Kolbe – because they were both drawn to the saint.

Marriage has allowed Carl to see just how selfless Talia is.

“We send out, I don’t know, too many Christmas cards because Talia kept in touch with – I joke – every person she’s ever met, but she’s really good at that and keeping up relations, staying connected with people,” he said. “I feel like I get to see the selflessness a lot more just in the ways that she’s able to serve me and I try to serve her. Some people say don’t keep track of who did what favor for who; I only keep track just to know how far behind I am.”

Carl knows they might have some difficulties to work through in the future, but he has confidence in Talia. She got the help she needed, and that’s what everyone should do.

“I think the biggest thing is that if you need help you should get the help,” he said. “You shouldn’t be embarrassed about going to talk to a therapist or going to see a psychiatrist to get medication to help balance you out physically, and actually going and getting that help is a real important first step – so don’t be afraid.”

Talia shared her story publicly for the first time last summer to offer hope to others who might be struggling, and to spread the word about mental illness. Her hope is that it’s talked about more. The ball is in your court.