Saturday, July 3, 1971
Shelli called me at 9 AM, a few moments after I’d gotten up. “Guess what?” she asked.
“What?” I said.
“I got my period this morning.”
So she had lied yesterday to me yesterday morning. After we got to school, she was in the women’s room of LaGuardia helping Alice look for a lost contact lens and then she came out and said that while there, she discovered that she was menstruating.
This morning Shelli said she’d lied for a good cause: to spare me from worrying all day yesterday.
But all the time we were together yesterday, Shelli was nervous that she was late. This morning she told me that if her period hadn’t come, she was going to go with Elspeth to a gynecologist without telling me.
Shelli must love me a lot to do a thing like that. But it made me upset and nervous that she would do that, and I had stomach cramps and diarrhea all morning.
Still, I picked her up at noon and then we got Melissa and came back to my house, stopping on the way to get Midol for Shelli’s cramps and Kaopectate for mine.
Shelli still wasn’t feeling well for a while, so I stayed inside with her for a while, as Stacy, Melissa and Avis went into the pool; they let Allan in when he arrived. After Shelli felt a bit better, we joined them in the backyard.
I had a lot of fun in the pool, splashing and swimming. We put the net up and played volleyball with Marc and his friends.
Melissa told me that her boyfriend is up playing with his band in the Catskills. From the little things I’ve picked up, it sounds like he treats her cruelly.
Stacy is about the butchest girl I ever met. She’s attracted to me – I can feel it – and it’s mutual. We were at the corner of the pool and she said something about with my long blond hair and my tanned body, I looked like a California surfer. We were standing really close and were both almost naked – Stacy wore a bikini — and I kind of got excited but tried not to get an erection.
I thought it was a bit weird that Allan kept his t-shirt on in the pool, but then not everyone is as narcissistic as me. Allan is going to Europe on the 18th, and Stacy and Avis are leaving around then, too.
Avis misses Scott a lot. He’s now in Arizona, visiting the Indian child they adopted as foster parents at the Navajo reservation.
Late in the day, I took the girls home, then went up to Shelli’s house. She got a letter today from Sindy, who seems serenely happy married to Kieran, and she told Shelli to be happy for her.
Shelli had some reading to do, and I still wasn’t feeling very well, so I left early. I’m kind of nervous still, maybe because Mom and Dad are away and without my grandparents here, I’m in charge of the house.
Wednesday, July 7, 1971
A very hot and humid day. I woke up troubled from nightmares and went to school. On the way I passed Kjell’s mother, who said that Kjell has been transferred from Fort Campbell to a base in Virginia and will be coming home for weekends.
At school, Alice said that in a couple of weeks Andreas is going to take her to Switzerland for ten days. Avis was very depressed with Scott away for so long; she misses him deeply. Terry was also down because she ran into her old boyfriend and it reminded her of how lonely she is now.
A Poli Sci lecture on interest group leadership was pretty much a bore.
Back home, even though my parents and Jonny got home from Paradise Island last night, I got a postcard from Jonny in the mail that was hysterically funny; I found his bad spelling hilarious, but he’s also got a good sense of humor for 10-year-old.
My terrible sinus headache cleared up when Mom gave me the car and I picked up Shelli. We went to the Pancake House and had a bite to eat, then roamed through the Georgetown shopping center – we ran into a high school friend of hers at the bookstore – and took a long drive: through Prospect Park, down to Sheepshead Bay, where we stopped on Emmons Avenue to get ices.
She told me that Melissa had called her to say that she’d broken up with her abusive boyfriend “for good” – for the umpteenth time, Shelli said.
I dropped her off at her psychologist’s, and then went to the library, where I did some reading about the coming ’72 Presidential campaign; there are so many Democrats running.
Shelli called me later from SUBO. When she told her shrink about what Dr. Wouk said about my dating other girls, Dr. Russett said he thought she should date other guys.
I began to think that maybe the shrinks are right – that we’re clinging to each other neurotically – and so I said she should be going out with other boys. She hung up, crying.
I sorted out my feelings in a letter to Jerry and concluded that I do love Shelli, and not neurotically, but healthily. When she phoned again, I picked her up at the Junction and drove her home.
We kissed and cried. She gave me a card that said, “I don’t love you because I need you. I need you because I love you.”
Friday, July 9, 1971
It remained over 90° again today. This morning I got a letter from Jerry, written on a train from Geneva to Zurich. He says I should get a new shrink.
Jerry liked Spain and seeing what it’s like to live under fascism, but Switzerland is so very peaceful and peace-loving. He writes: “There is still a great struggle going on within me; a struggle symbolized by my inability to reconcile Gide’s thrust for life with Camus’ struggle for justice.”
Also, he’s relieved that he hasn’t heard from his parents and doesn’t want to meet up with Leon in Europe. Shelli and I both love Jerry very much and hope he’ll be happier.
This morning, in Boylan Hall, I met Eugene, who’s also going to summer school. We chatted for a while, but I really had nothing to say to him. It seems a lifetime ago that we were best friends in junior high. We just drifted apart.
At LaGuardia, I spoke with Laurie and Jon K. At first I thought they were strange and they were kind of snobbish to me – Laurie once said in kind of a nasty way in response to a remark I made about sharing food, “This sandwich tastes better because I’m sharing it with Jane. Can someone like you grok that, Grayson?” – but they’re really a vital, loving couple, and I’ve come to like them immensely.
Shelli wasn’t around, so I figured she slept late, and I went to Poli Sci, where we discussed lobbying. After class, I sat around talking with Alice, Elspeth and Ray.
When Shelli finally showed up, she had news. She got a phone call from Barry Siegel, the guy she met in the Georgetown bookstore the other day. He asked her to go to the beach with him today, but she (“and it hurt me to hurt him”) gently said that she couldn’t, working it in the conversation that she had a boyfriend.
But as we were on the Flatbush Avenue bus, she said she would have gone out with him if it weren’t for me. Over lunch at the Copper Penny, I told her maybe she should have accepted, that I didn’t want to stop her from seeing other guys.
Back home, talking in my room, she tearfully confessed two things that she said were on her conscience.
First, on the day Stanley and I left Jerry’s place early and Shelli stayed, they lay on the bed talking and Jerry had his arm around her, and second, that on the bus on the way back from the March on Washington, she and Jack held hands.
I told her to forget about it. Jack and Jerry are my friends and neither of them did anything sexual, even if Jerry told Shelli not to tell me about it because it would hurt me.
We made love and it was beautiful, then we talked some more, and I drove her home to watch her grandmother for the night.
We watched the news and played Monopoly and with our teddy bear, but we got on each other’s nerves a bit, so I left early to come home to wash my hair.
I was disturbed by a piece I read in New York magazine on the investigation into the track at Yonkers and the night of the “low exacta riot” that named Lennie Schindler as the main person suspected of fixing the races.
It says Lennie “has been observed making numerous large wages, and has seldom been shy about his success” and that investigators say he has taken large checks home from Yonkers because he was nervous about carrying so much cash home.
The article did say that winning is no crime and the owner of horses is certainly entitled to bet on them, and the low exacta on June 7 could have been a coincidence, but it implied that it probably wasn’t.
And a lot of people associated with the Mafia seem to be involved.
I told Dad not to go to the track with Lennie anymore even if he and Irving own half of Space Age with him. I just hope he takes my advice.
Monday, July 12, 1971
A pleasantly mild day. This morning I met Shelli in front of LaGuardia, and we got a surprise when we entered the building: there was Carole, home from her job as a camp counselor.
She had written that she’d kept fainting, and it apparently got so bad that she came into the city to see a doctor. That sounds serious and scary.
Shelli and I went to breakfast with Elspeth at the Sugar Bowl. Yesterday Elspeth’s mother visited Jerry’s mother, and she’s very sick and may not walk again. Poor Jerry wrote that he’s relieved he hasn’t gotten any mail from his family. I really hope his mother gets better, but it sounds very bad.
In Poli Sci, Prof. Gluck said he’d give me an A in the class and I didn’t even need to hand in the last paper, so I did all that work for nothing.
After class, I took the train downtown to Dr. Wouk. I arrived before he got home and waited for him downstairs in front of the building on Jay Street.
Again he brought up the subject of my dating other girls. I don’t even listen to half the things he says anymore; I’ve lost a lot of my trust in him.
I had lunch afterwards with Grandpa Herb. In the Slack Bar, Big Hank wanted to know what was up about the Yonkers track thing and if I knew what was going on with Lennie Schindler.
Big Hank said he heard they may soon make arrests and that Jerry Koosman, the Mets pitcher, was called to testify before the grand jury about Lennie. Tonight, I found out Lennie went to Panama for a while, probably till he hopes this all blows over.
After I took a cab back to the college, I walked Shelli to the Study Lounge of SUBO, where she went to do some reading, and then Elspeth and I took a long walk.
She’s sad and lonely but also relieved that her affair with Greg is over. Elspeth said it was nice when Greg told her how good she was in bed. But she looked so sad when she said that, it made me really depressed.
At home, I found a card from Elihu in Florence. To me, he said he’s enjoying himself, but in a card to Shelli he said he’s struggling to keep up his weight because he doesn’t have enough money to eat properly. Of Leon, Elihu writes: “We all need acceptance, and it seems especially from him. Don’t single yourself out.”
Shelli came over later, but after an hour (and a small fight), I took her home.
She got a letter from her old boyfriend Saul, which she showed me (“Shelli dear, be gentle with yourself. I care about you . . .”). Shelli wants me to meet Saul when he returns from New Hampshire in August, but I’m not sure I want to.
From everything she’s told me about him, he’s everything I’m not: freaky, philosophical, sensual. Although I told Shelli to see other boys, I don’t really want that to happen.
But things haven’t been great between us lately. It seems like the best times we had over the weekend were seeing Claire’s Knee at the Brook on Saturday and Little Big Man at the Albemarle yesterday: the times when we didn’t speak to one another.
Wednesday, July 14, 1971
I had a very bad postnasal drip last night, making my throat very sore. Consequently I felt lousy when I went to the college this morning. Shelli said I looked ill and I felt ill and there was really no reason to go to Poli Sci now that I know I got an A in the course, so I went home.
I was a bit depressed, but after an hour, I decided to go back to school, and Mom said she’d take me on her way to drive Marc to driver’s ed.
When I got to LaGuardia, Ruth said that Shelli had been crying and very worried about me. It seems that Shelli had called my house and Jonny told her I was throwing up blood and had to be rushed to the hospital. I guess that is a 10-year-old’s idea of a joke.
I tried to reestablish contact with Shelli, and I called Jonny to find out if she’d gone over to the house, I looked in the coffee shop and SUBO, and I alerted Terry and Robert to look for her. Finally I found out that she’d gone back to her house, so I went over there. We were glad to have each other again.
After lunch at Wolfie’s, we went to Avis’s apartment and chatted with her for a while. Avis and Stacy leave next week for Europe. Avis’s sister had gotten a card from Elayne, who’s in Greece.
The new half-owners of the Kings Plaza store took control today, and not only don’t they want Mom to work there anymore, they won’t even give her a discount. I spoke to Helen, the manager, who says she dislikes her new boss.
Dad and Mom were going to a show tonight and to the hospital to visit Annette, who’s having a hysterectomy. I’m still worried about Dad. The papers are saying investigators are looking for a young man in his late twenties or early thirties who placed the bets for Lennie.
I asked Dad if that “young man” was him, and while he said he didn’t know, it probably was him; they think he’s a kid because he looks so young. But he essentially told me what was going on.
Lennie got the trotters drivers together before the races, and they’d decide among themselves who was going “to try hard” in a race; the others would hold back the horses.
Dad would go up to the window and hold his arms at the sides and hunch over so no one behind him would know his bets, and then he’d collect and go outside the track and give Lennie the money he’d bet, keeping what Dad bet for himself and Irving Cohen.
The night of the low exacta riot, as the bettors realized it was fixed and started to set the track on fire, Lennie told Dad, “You gotta get the fuck out of here,” but Dad first got out his and Irving’s winnings and then “we ran like hell.”
Lennie ended up never cashing thousands of dollars in winning tickets in that race. He just threw them away in a garbage can. Wow, no wonder he went to Panama. He’s been banned, or will be soon, from Yonkers and Monticello.
Shelli called me after what she said was a good session with Dr. Russett, and I went over to her house, bringing a book she needs and a love note I’d written. We just went for a small drive into Forest Park in Queens, but it was so beautiful – she was so beautiful.
We realize we love each other a lot, especially when we’re apart. We kissed and hugged, and for me when we were in Forest Park, it was recapturing the magic of that rainy March night in Prospect Park when I realized I loved her.
Late tonight, at home, I spoke to Gary, who told me about his two-week Guard duty at Camp Drum, where he said he was stoned the entire time.
Gary talked about “the radical right-on revolution” in the National Guard as the new, younger Guard members want to organize and fight for reforms.
But I don’t see how they can accomplish anything stoned on grass and mesc all the time, as Gary says they were.
Friday, July 16, 1971
Nixon made a startling announcement last night. The President announced that he was undertaking “a journey for peace” and had accepted an invitation from Chou En-lai to visit China within the next year. I hope some good comes of it – perhaps a Vietnam settlement.
Nervous about her final, Shelli woke me this morning and I tried to calm her down. After I had a late breakfast, Mom dropped me off at the college on her way to take Marc to driving school.
In the library, I tried to find the address of Ivan’s camp. I still don’t know whether to send the letter I wrote him. Although Shelli says little about it, I know how much his not writing her at all this summer has hurt her, and I think it’s because he’s judgmental about her having sex with me. But I could be wrong.
Coming out of her English exam, Shelli said it was hard, but the teacher had given her an A- on the paper comparing Soledad Brother with Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist that I wrote for her. He said it was great that she could use words so skillfully.
We had lunch at Campus Corner, then met Marc on the Flatbush Avenue bus coming home. Shelli got off at Kings Highway and went home to freshen up.
Later in the day I picked her up and she looked so gorgeous I couldn’t believe it. We went to bed, and it was fantastic, especially because we came together for the first time.
We sat naked in bed and she gave me a letter Jerry wrote to her. He didn’t like Italy. He wrote the letter in a sweltering hotel room last Sunday night (the room next door had The Forsytes on very loud: “the one where the lady at the party calls Fleur a traitor”).
Vatican City was a “clip joint,” Jerry said, and he’s spending too much money and is going to (is now in) Belgrade. He said Leon went to Tehran to stay with Prof. Frazetta.
I cried when I read: “I’m beginning to feel guilty about being here. It would be shitty if she died while I was away. She was a drug addict, a sick woman, and I can’t hate her. The first 7 or 8 years (before diet pills) was quite good.”
Shelli and I had dinner in Georgetown, where we spotted Kjell with Sharon. Kjell came in for the weekend from Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He’s practically bald, has grown a mustache and lost about twenty pounds, but he’s over the illnesses he had and will be home in a month.
Sharon was obviously thrilled with Kjell’s being home, so we left them alone and went to Elspeth’s in Coney Island. Jessie and Peter were boring me to death and Shelli was tired, so when Lee Katzman arrived with some cretins looking to get stoned, we left.
Tuesday, July 20, 1971
A hazy, muggy day. I don’t know why, but I haven’t been feeling very well for the past few days. My stomach has been rocky, and I’ve been getting headaches and have been tense.
Perhaps it’s because I haven’t had that much to do. I always get depressed when I’m bored, and I usually get sick when I get depressed. On the other hand, it could be something physical, like a virus.
I spoke to Shelli early this morning; she’s afraid she’s going to lose me. But although I’m confused and going through some sort of identity-questioning crisis, I still love her.
I’ve trusted and depended upon Dr. Wouk for a long time, yet I love Shelli and think so much of what Dr. Wouk says about not giving in to Shelli or becoming her pet cipher is probably bullshit. I shouldn’t have told her what he said yesterday, and she shouldn’t have dialed his number and yelled, “Pig!” into the phone.
I’m really sorry Avis is leaving for Europe with Stacy tomorrow because she’s been a good buffer to do things with when I’m with Shelli, like seeing Summer of ’42 yesterday or at Avis’s apartment the other day. We don’t bicker so much when Avis is around.
There’s just so many things about my relationship with Shelli, about continuing to see Dr. Wouk, about my identity, that I need to consider.
I met Shelli in the late morning on the steps of LaGuardia. She had a present for me: a copy of the new “instant book” paperback collection of the Pentagon Papers.
At the registrar’s office, we spoke to Robert, who works there, about Jerry’s plight. Robert checked everything out and said the record shows that Jerry did take Science 2, and therefore he did graduate. His transcript was also sent to The New School.
At SUBO, we went to a Spigot meeting Mendy called. Also present were Gary, sporting a hideous mustache, and Juan. According to Aaron, we will put out an issue, with teacher listings, in time for Club Fair on September 3.
Aaron wants Juan to be the new editor-in-chief. Juan’s a nice enough guy, but he’s a photographer and a bit of a nebbish and I don’t think he can really write a decent sentence.
They want me to become managing editor and Gary to be news copy editor. The whole situation is very confused – just another thing where I don’t know what’s what, since Mendy’s not sure we can even get funding.
Shelli and I came home to make sweet love, and then she had to go to the dentist, returning a couple of hours later with her braces back on. I drove her home and came back here to write letters and watch TV.
Sunday, July 25, 1971
If nothing else, this was an interesting day. Last night I slept for twelve hours, getting up at 4 AM to watch a beautiful thunderstorm. I spoke to Shelli this morning and we agreed I’d pick her up at noon.
“Where do you want to go?” I asked her, hoping to avoid any more trouble.
“Anywhere you want,” she answered.
I read the Sunday papers and finally got around to starting that novella I’ve been working on. It’s in my “loose” style and maybe I’ve finally found my style.
After I picked Shelli up, we drove around and finally I went to Rockaway. I was hoping to see if we could find Mikey on the beach, but she didn’t want to go on the beach. I held my impatience in.
But when we got back to Brooklyn, she and I couldn’t agree on where to go and had a big fight. She said she was a person, too, and was important – that she was asserting herself, just as Dr. Russett told her to, and that I was being a baby because for once I wasn’t getting my own way.
I was sick over the whole thing. It looked like we were going to break up for sure, and when I took her home, we didn’t kiss – for the first time. I went home very upset, but I decided it was for the best.
But ninety minutes later, Shelli called and we finally said some things to each other that needed to be said – like my saying she was too dependent upon me. We made up and I said I’d come over.
While preparing to leave, I found a legal-looking envelope that read “Last Will and Testament of Sydelle Martin.” I opened it up and read it; as expected, equal shares of Aunt Sydelle’s estate go to her children, my two cousins.
But there was a codicil, dated July 1971, that made Dad the executor of the estate instead of Uncle Monty, and Dad was also made Scott’s guardian. Curious.
Shelli and I made up for lost time: we had a lot of fun, looking at the wedding photo proofs and talking away. We bought dental floss and changed our tennis lesson to Thursday.
Before we watched The First Churchills – Shelli loves it now – I called Grandma Ethel to wish her and Grandpa Herb a pleasant trip to Canada tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 28, 1971
A mild, sunny day. I was awakened at 9 AM by a phone call from Shelli. She decided to go into Manhattan today to buy an exercise book she’s been wanting, so we didn’t see each other today.
Gary called to say his first day as a cabdriver yesterday didn’t go well. He worked nine hours, got only seven fares, made only $2 in tips and got 40% of the $18 in fares. Gary’s ready to quit.
I spent a relaxed morning and went to the college. I was talking with Robert, Terry and Stanley about the newly named Chancellor of CUNY, Robert Kibbee; no one knows much about him except that he’s the son of the actor Guy Kibbee.
Terry showed me a hilarious John Birch Society publication listing known Communists, including Dean Rusk, Joseph Alsop and Emanuel Celler.
Elspeth told me more about Elihu’s letter to Leon. Apparently it was a long denunciation and Elihu went so far as to accuse Leon and Charlie of having a perverse relationship. Leon showed the letter to Charlie, who said that Elihu must’ve gotten drunk one night. Elspeth just said, “Elihu’s flipped.”
Speaking of flipped, I ran into Crazy Artie, who’s going to Israel to work on a kibbutz; I give him one month to wreck their national economy.
Art was really fantastic: all Gauguin and Seurat. Mr. Viola is really very good. I walked with Ruth to the Junction, and she said Marty’s working as a camp counselor. Apparently all the political jobs he and Bob expected fell through.
I took a taxi to Dr. Fletcher’s office. He said that my health was generally excellent, my blood pressure and heartbeat strong. He diagnosed the whole thing I’ve been having all summer – starting with the dizziness at school in early June – as sinusitis, and he gave me a prescription for antihistamines.
I spent the afternoon in the public library and doing some reading in Art. I sat out on the porch with the Wagners and the other neighbors. I noticed Mrs. Pollack’s nephew is staying with her, and Evie said he would like to meet a girl.
Maybe I should introduce him to Melissa; although I’ve never talked with him, he seems nice and maybe he’d like Melissa. It would be safer for her than cruising Kings Highway and better on her ego: one guy she met last week wanted her to make it with his Great Dane.
Shelli called from home after her last appointment for the summer with Dr. Russett. She’s been on the Stillman diet all week and has lost ten pounds. Shelli put her sister in tears last night over the phone, chewing her out for not writing.
I think Shelli’s going to go out with Saul if he calls her. But I’m not that upset. She and I are getting along fine now.
Friday, July 30, 1971
What’s that they say? “All things must come to an end.” I never want to see Shelli again after what she did to me tonight. We went to Mark and Consuelo’s for dinner and she embarrassed and humiliated me in front of my friends.
I never thought the most callous, cruel person could ever have hurt me the way she did. After dinner, Mark and Consuelo wanted to go on the Staten Island ferry and I didn’t. But Shelli badgered and persisted and made a fool of me, saying in front of them how neurotic I was, that I never took her anywhere, making fun of my hypochondria and my Rolaids.
The whole situation was so embarrassing. Mark was also making me uncomfortable. Thank God for Consuelo and her tea and pound cake.
But I was inwardly pounding, but when Shelli and I left the apartment, I exploded. I’m ashamed to admit it, but she said something and I just hit in her in the middle of her back and she ran into a cab home.
I drove home furious. I hope never to see her ugly body again.
A furious rainstorm fell all day. This morning Mom drove Marc to driver’s ed and me to the college in about the heaviest downpour I’ve ever seen.
In Art this morning, Mr. Viola gave a very interesting lecture on Vuillard and Bonnard. I went with Fran to buy the text in Barron’s. I like Fran a lot; it’s too bad she’s engaged.
Then Shelli and I went into the library and she brought me over to see this guy. Or rather, for him to see me. I just stood there dumbly while they talked. Later she went on and on about how sexy and wonderful he is.
On his way back home to Rockaway, Mikey dropped off Ruth at her home and then Shelli and me at Kings Plaza. After lunch at Cooky’s, I left Shelli to buy a dress for tonight.
I picked her up at 7 PM and I have got admit she did look pretty in that new dress. The only other guest beside us was Consuelo’s friend Dov. Mark is wrapped up in his work at Newsday. The meal Consuelo made was excellent, but afterwards – well, what a disaster.
Tonight will live long in my memory.
Saturday, July 31, 1971
What a difference a day makes. Last night Shelli and I were never going to see each other again. Today we are linked by the strongest bond that can hold a man and woman together: that of a child. Shelli is going to have my baby – at least it appears so.
When I calmed down very late last night, I called her, but we still were at each other’s throats. She said, “There’s one thing I can’t handle alone. . . I didn’t have my period.”
Earlier I was very hurt by her and I wanted to hurt her, so I said, cruelly, “That’s your problem.” She hung up on me.
Later I apologized. We talked most of the night. I got perhaps an hour’s sleep.
Shelli has all these morbid ideas in her head. She keeps thinking of suicide. I went to her house at noon today and we hugged each other. We’re two very scared kids; it doesn’t seem that we could be parents.
We bought tennis rackets and drove around and talked. I asked her if she wanted to marry me – in fact, I proposed – but she said that we were too young and it wouldn’t work and of course I know deep down that she’s right.
Shelli doesn’t want to tell any of our friends: “I don’t want it to be another LaGuardia Hall dirty joke, like Carole’s pregnancy was.” I’m so sick with worry. During lunch, it really hit me and I felt faint for a while.
When Shelli and I came home, I found a card from Allan, who said he likes Geneva. And there was also a letter from Grandpa Herb in Canada. He and Grandma Ethel saw Montreal and are on their way to Toronto to visit his cousins. If I could confide in anyone now, it would be Grandpa Herb.
Shelli and I tried to relax and practiced tennis with Jonny’s racket, went swimming and played with the cat, which Jonny has named Spooky.
It looks like an abortion is the answer, much as the idea repels me: killing my own child. I guess as soon as a gynecologist confirms her pregnancy, we’ll have to tell our parents. What a picnic that will be.
I tried to comfort Shelli, but I myself am very nervous; I have no appetite and am living on tranquilizers. My life has become a nightmare. I’m very scared. Give me strength.