Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The first thing I saw Tuesday morning when I woke up and turned on the laptop was that Robin Williams had killed himself. I passed Denial and went right into Anger. What the fuck is going on? Philip Seymour Hoffman and now another dear genius? I guess on paper, intellectually, I agree that anyone has the right to kill himself or herself. But, emotionally, I’m hurting more than I realize. I just can’t shake my sadness at the waste of such creative, vibrant lives.
I don’t write this post lightly. I never write lightly, even if I make fun of myself. It is not easy for me to say these things. And it is especially hard to come out with these truths in the face of our shared loss in the deaths, both very much suicides, of Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The idea of just not wanting to be here any more, the quality of life issue, has gotten me down more than once. Who wants to be in this world where people cannot stop killing each other? Yesterday, I saw a picture of a toddler with three rifles pointed to his head. Who cares what is was about or which side was which? Who wants to live in that world? It’s horrifying! To say it’s depressing is an understatement. (This photo turned out to be posed. It’s still disgusting. And, since we know atrocities like this pose are actually happening, the posing seems both moot and representative.)

I get depressed because the bees are dying or because Bill and Melinda Gates have invested in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault along with Monsanto Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Syngenta Foundation and the Government of Norway to create a doomsday seed collection, when I know they are really busy destroying our food supply and cornering the world’s seeds for some kind of horror movie agenda. Now, that’s depressing. There are moments in the middle of the night when I really do panic, not for myself, but for mankind. For God. For Nature. Nature doesn’t care; she’ll adjust, even if she has to turn earth into the moon for a while. But, God. The loss of all He created? All He gave us? Such an act is beyond evil. I feel so sad about it, so very sad. The only thing I can do is to continue to champion organics and hope organics can survive. But, I don’t get depressed. I fight. I feel a very powerful sense of responsibility to keep on. As a writer and an artist, I must go on. I believe in the responsibility of the artist – to his talent, to God who gave him his talent, to the people who love him - to keep on - to never, ever squander his gift, not on drugs, not on laziness, not on fear. Not on depression.
When I look at celebrities, people we think “have it all,” people who have “made it,” the severe suffering and panic is obvious: they are people who stuff their faces or breasts with plastic or some other substance foreign to the human body; starve themselves in a land of plenty; workout till their muscles and veins strain out of their arms and legs; shoot heroin; shoplift; drive fast; guzzle pills or alcohol and limp off to rehab over and over. I can feel how lonely many celebrities are, especially geniuses like Williams and Hoffman. Depression, again, seems like an understatement.
However, as a macro, I know that depression is quite often the result of dehydration and constipation. In the coffee shop I go to, one of the kids who works there told me, “I used to get so depressed after drinking the coffee (dehydrating) until I started drinking a tall glass of ice water along with it. Then, I felt completely different.” Just in case you thought a kid with colored hair and a nose ring couldn’t teach you anything. Water is the only liquid that can hydrate you. Prolonged subtle dehydration, that is, not getting enough water every day for a long time, from drinking too much alcohol or other dehydrating liquids such as coffee or tea, soda or mineral water, working too hard, traveling, forced-air environments, smoking, medication side-effects, stress or - just plain not drinking enough water - can interfere with the function of the body’s organs causing problems that may be attributed to other causes and treated with more medications. Problems like muscle spasms, hamstring injuries, heat exhaustion, dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, weakness, lightheadedness, kidney stones, rashes, gout, even dementia have been noted in people who do not get enough water. 
Robin Williams would have been the first one to rant on depression being caused by constipation. He would have made it funny, though it’s not funny. Constipation is brought on by the American diet of too much sugar, meat, saturated fats, trans fats, dairy, white flour, baked goods and salt in combination with lack of exercise, not drinking enough water and chemicals and drugs of all kinds, whether prescribed medications or recreational. The more medications your doctor prescribes for your depression or for other health problems, such as Williams' heart medications, the more chance you have of being constipated and depressed. Medications make your intestines lax; in turn, you feel heavy and burdened. You have a hard time getting “fired-up” about things. Reinvention seems impossible, while, in reality, reinvention is ALWAYS possible.
We all know about the endorphins released by exercise. Endorphins create positive feelings in our minds and bodies. And I’m really not preaching when I say that exercise can erase depression. I know Williams had a difficult heart surgery which he himself said was so traumatic, he found himself, in recovery, weepy and vulnerable instead of strong and powerful. My husband had heart surgery and he has made lots of healthy changes since. I've seen my husband's improvement first hand and it is very inspiring. I am 63, Robin Williams’ age when he died. I am overweight. I hated to exercise – until I did – now I cannot do without the sense of strength exercising gives me in my muscles – in my legs, my belly – I can feel power in my waist when I move, a little push from inside pushing me forward, more energy, more strength, encouragement, power, the opposite of depression. I can now get out of bed without suddenly grabbing my back or tottering on unsteady legs. I was getting to the point where I could not turn in bed, not from the weight, but from complications from the weight – muscle cramping, poor circulation, weakness. That’s depressing. Most people would give up. But, as a macro, I knew, I didn’t want to go backward. I had some bad habits that were bringing me down. Oh, yes, even macros can make mistakes. The only way was forward. I started to exercise, just a little, then more and more, and the rewards were - and are - greater as the exercise increases. Not just energy, but good positive energy from the good, positive functioning of the body.
An athlete I know once told me, “I can’t tell you how big my bowel movements are after I run!” I asked her, “Where is it all coming from? You’re so thin!” She said, “I don’t know, but it sure comes out!” I said something silly like, “You better run home fast!”
Alicia Silverstone has tried to tell people about how “effortless” her bowel movements are since becoming vegan. Of course, people just laugh at her. What does an actress know about health? Try it sometime. Try being vegan for a while and see if you can get depressed. Leafy green vegetables, vegetables that grow up. These will keep you smiling. Robin Williams would have been the first to make a comedy routine out of it.
There’s a great episode of Two & a Half Men in which the young boy, Jake, is depressed and grouchy. After enduring Jake’s rude remarks and slouchy attitude for a while, the maid, Berta, hands him a jug of prune juice and says, “Here, drink this! The whole thing!” The next time we see Jake he’s back to normal, laughing, joking, eagerly running out to the beach. Berta tells his father, “All you feed him are pancakes and pizza, whaddya expect?”
Can constipation kill? John Wayne had 40 lbs of fecal matter in his intestines when he died. Elvis, whose favorite food was a bacon/peanut butter/banana sandwich, had 60 lbs. of feces inside him when he died. Certainly, these two cases are severe. I don't know if Robin Williams was anywhere near this condition. However, even being slightly constipated can slow a person down and cause other difficulties. Catherine Zeta-Jones' favorite comfort food is a spam/corn flake sandwich. I heard her tell this to an interviewer. As a macro, I can see the results of this eating in her skin. We know she is bi-polar; she's been to rehab more than once for this disorder. She's an amazing, talented, beautiful actress; it's hard to see her having trouble of any kind. According to macrobiotics,  the above mentioned snacks are a recipe for constipation, depression, and other complications.
It’s hard for people to believe that depression can be caused by something as simple as constipation and cured by something as simple as relieving your bowels. We want to think we are depressed about something important. And, we are: death, loss, war, human suffering, our own pain. But, we cannot come to grips with the world and our own pain unless we are reasonably healthy. As a macro, I do not believe that some people are so depressed they cannot be helped by positive diet and lifestyle changes or so far gone they cannot help themselves. As long as you can cook and chew, you can change. If you think you’re too depressed to cook, you are lying to yourself. You have to help yourself if you want to change. Help yourself.
I’m still angry. Angry with Robin Williams. Angry with Philip Seymour Hoffman. It also hurts me to think - they were working when they died. When I think of all the talented people who never get to work, or older actors and actresses who cannot find work, I get really angry with both Williams and Hoffman. One of the things I admired most about Robin Williams was his ability to reinvent himself. He was a crazy-great comedian. He was a brilliant serious actor. His work in the movie, One Hour Photo blew my mind. He was beyond amazing in the Law & Order, SVU, episode, Authority. They say Americans love a come back. I want to say come back, Robin. Come back, Philip. At the very least I can watch them over and over on film. I don’t need to tell you which films. You know.
Yeah, I’m angry. I’m also sad. I’ve always told my daughter, “No matter how bad things get, please remember how amazing you are. And, you never know what’s coming around the next corner. Someone as amazing as you will know how to take advantage of the next possibility.” Robin Williams took advantage of those possibilities over and over. I don’t know why he finally ran out of hope. But I can tell you I’ve seen it many times: a healthy lifestyle change can make a tremendous difference to what may seem insurmountable difficulties. You may not believe it can be that simple. But, it is.
And that makes depression even more tragic.

CNN: Dr. Amen discusses Robin Williams’ depression and the healthy benefits of diet and lifestyle changes.

***Update: We now know that Robin Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease when he died. According to macrobiotics, Parkinson's is a degenerative disease of the nervous system that is caused by long term eating of extreme yin, in the case of yin Parkinson's (shaking) and long term eating of extreme yang in the case of yang Parkinson's (seizing-up). He had been taking more medications for this condition, compounding his depression. As a macro, it is painful to hear this news because Parkinson's can be prevented, controlled, and often reversed with healthy macrobiotic changes.  It seems every day brings another sadness about Williams' death. Even Koko the gorilla who met Williams mourned him. She speaks over 1,000 words and overheard the staff talking about him. She remembered him. He had made her laugh when a gorilla friend of hers passed in 2001. Now, I realize, nature is mourning too. 

Impromptu Robin Williams Memorial at the Boston Garden bench from Good Will Hunting.
These tributes were most likely washed away by Wednesday's rains, making them even more poignant.

©PatriciaGoodwin, 2014

Patricia Goodwin is the author of many articles on GMOs, organics, and other subjects. These articles and her books may be found on her website at Books on Amazon: When Two Women Die and Dreamwater.