If thoughts could generate power, my mind would have lit up all of Southern California on Thursday night.
I received notice from an online literature magazine that they would be posting one of my stories on Friday. It had been over a month since I had last read the story so I read it again. It was a story about the power of color, but that is not all. It was also a story about my ex-husband and something way less than flattering that he did. I changed the name, but I knew if anyone knew us from that long ago time in our lives, that they would know who I was actually writing about.
By the time my husband got home, I was in a state of full blown paranoia.
I wrote to the magazine and asked them not to run the essay. I said it needed editing. I didn’t hear back from them right away so I shot off another e-mail telling them that, in the article, I didn’t think I took a strong enough stand on a very important feminist issue.
My husband and I needed to go grocery shopping, because we were having family come to stay for the whole weekend, so I had to leave my computer and couldn’t check every second for a response.
We try not to go grocery shopping when we are hungry, and we were both hungry, so we stopped at Chipotle for dinner. During the whole dinner I ran through every scenario I could think of on how my ex-husband was going to sue us for my story about him. My husband tried to reason with me. My husband tried to rationalize the situation. My husband tried to go step by step on why my ex-husband wouldn’t have a case against me. I was so worked up, that I believed we would soon be in the middle of a horrible lawsuit and end up broke and on the street.
We went grocery shopping. All I could think about was keeping that essay off the Internet.
When we arrived home from dinner and shopping, I immediately checked my e-mail. There was a message from the editor. He understood. He asked me to revise it and send it again, or consider sending him something else entirely.
I screamed. I hooted. I ran to my husband in the kitchen waving my hands over my head. I was elated. For many minutes I made the sound “Whoo whoo whoo…”.
The spell of paranoia had been broken, but not without taking a part of my artistic license and expression with it. There is always a price to pay for mental illness. The cost is always high. I’m tired of paying the toll.