An ode to my wife.

I'm not an easy guy to live with, work with, or be around for any long period. People praise me for being a "nice guy" a "good guy" and that makes me feel pretty cool most of the time. But under-appreciated is the woman behind the scenes, my wife Denise.

I have never been a confident person, and have always been rather anxious. In my Mother's day, she was diagnosed with "agoraphobia" :

"Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety in situations where the sufferer perceives certain environments as dangerous or uncomfortable, often due to the environment's vast openness or crowdedness. The sufferer may go to great lengths to avoid those situations, in severe cases becoming unable to leave their home or safe haven."

(from Wikipedia)

As a kid, I never believed my Mom's diagnosis. I assumed it was just all in her head. I realize now that I've had this all my life, too. Poor Mom. She's been gone 11 years and now  I get it. My anxiety disorder is a little different. Here's mine:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a neurological anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters.

And now, poor Denise is married to my anxious ass. But you know what? She still loves me. She cares for me, calms me, and helps me get along in life with my crazy disorder. Keeping my head on straight has become her job to a certain degree. Take that, and then try raising a daughter - middle school, high school and now college! Boyfriends, sports, learning to drive, becoming a woman and now entering College in another state - Denise has been the force keeping Mad on course, too.

An anxious husband, a daughter to raise, her own Mother's health declining, her own health challenging her, a career that is completely absorbing.... and she's still there for us, every day, when we need her.

Thank you, sweet Denise, my love.  Thank you.