I trust the voice inside my head. In general, I trust other people.

However, at one point in life I was very disconnected, depressed, and panicky. I started to lose my trust in others. I sometimes thought people were trying to poison my food. I knew this was nuts but I couldn't stop being nervous. I'd eat a few bites, freak, spit the last bite out into a napkin, and try to hide the napkin. This got to be very embarrassing.

I went to my doctor for an EKG to see if my always-racing heart had a physical cause or was just anxiety. The office was closing early because a snowstorm had begun. Dr. Sharkey sat me down in his office after the test.

"How are you doing?"

I started falling, falling, falling down a hole in my soul. Sob, sob, sob.

"What's wrong?'

"I don't know . . . " Doctor, there's a hole in my soul . . . .

"It says here you're having panic attacks? Like, you're sitting there, and suddenly feel like you're going to lose it?"

"Uh huh."

"I get those. It happened to me at the Board of Directors meeting at NYU Hospital."

"Uh huh." The snow was splatting against the 15th-floor window.

"I'm going to prescribe an antianxiety pill for you. If there's something you have to do, and you need to calm down, just take half a pill and you'll be fine." He pulled out a prescription pad, wrote something on it, tore off a sheet and handed it to me.

"Okay." I took the paper.

"I'll tell you what." He wrote something else down. "This is my buddy. He's a great shrink. He'll fix what's bothering you. Just fix it. He doesn't want to hear about your problems, doesn't want to hear about your family. He'll patch you right up."

I took the second paper. I was still snorting and choking on sobs. However, I still knew this was bullshit. I walked out of his office, rode the elevator down, and stepped out into snowy midtown.