"Is This a New House, Clark?"

Autodidact that I am, I know enough about psychology to be able to pinpoint the source of one of my most torturous and annoying characteristics. I recognize the source and the cause of it, and I labor doggedly at conquering it, but it never goes away...

I am a Fixer and a Worrier. When anyone in our family is depressed, dejected, feeling like a failure, or feeling anything but sparklingly happy, I take it on myself. (Thank God I'm not a Meddler!)  I silently torture myself, blaming myself for everyone's feelings of discontent or malaise. I mean, when the family will fell through, that was my fault, right? And my monthly Morgan Stanley check being (so far) 3 days late and the client not sending a promised and much-needed bonus is my fault too, isn't it? By "fault" I don't mean that I cause these things, I mean that I seem to live a jinxed life. Conversely, I am blessed with an optimistic nature despite everything. Lynette sometimes calls me "Sparky", after Clark Griswald, who also takes on himself the emotional happiness of and wellbeing of his family. There's even a cousin Eddie in my family (thankfully, he doesn't know where I live, because he's the original source of all this, curse him).

Last night I lay in bed wide awake worrying, blaming myself for the misfortune this family has experienced since we've been together. I cursed myself for my bad health and my inability to take a job outside the home. I cussed out myself for all the energy I wasted on playing too hard when I was young, doing and ingesting things that probably brought these health issues on me. Back then, I didn't understand that there would be a trade-off and that there is a balance: all that fun then would have to result in the opposite later. I really didn't believe I could have such a happy, well-adjusted family—that I deserved that—so I trashed myself. I even went so low last night as to tell myself that my family would be better off without me, not in the suicidal sense, but in the sense that if they finally all had it with me and my bad luck, and left, they would be better off. I saw myself old and sucking down soup in a rescue mission, then, my worst nightmare, going home to my cardboard box. It's not easy being me.

Last night was a rough one, but I awoke feeling better. I'm telling myself that I'm not responsible for everyone's happiness and that I'm loved just as I am, rotting thyroid, degenerating disks, neuroses, and all.