When we first moved to Cincinnati in 2005 I had no job, I didn’t know anybody, and Alice was often away at work. Sometimes she was gone for weeks at a time; within days of us moving in, for instance, she flew off to Arizona for a mission trip. I was alone in our new house, with no idea what to do. It was not a good time for me. I became depressed.
I had imagined that once I quit working in retail I would be able to find the job of my dreams. But I was too lethargic to look for a job. It was hard enough just to get out of bed in the morning.
Alice was supportive--extremely, ridiculously supportive--but months passed and the sadness did not go away. I really wanted to be happy again, and I started to think that maybe I could get some kind of pill that would fix me up. I got a list of psychologists who were covered by Alice’s insurance, and I chose a name off the list, and made an appointment. It turned out that, out of all the therapists in Cincinnati, this guy was the one most passionately opposed to the use of psychoactive drugs. He’s written books about it. There was no way he was going to help me get a prescription for anything.
But that was okay, because he helped me see the obvious (in retrospect) solution to my problem. The more I stayed at home alone, the more I withdrew from the world, the less functional I became. The only way to get better was to reconnect with society. Instead of holding out for some perfect job, I needed to just get any kind of job, and get back around people again.
I took his advice and worked at Target for a summer, and then at a movie theater. I decided to become a teacher, and I went to grad school. I got a teaching license. My first year as a teacher, I became a father. Everything I am now, everything in my life, was defined by how I came out of that depression. In a way, it’s my secret origin.