The passing of Robin Williams—a time to talk openly about depression
Last week, a famous scientist and author that I greatly respect and admire—sent me this note of encouragement from London.
Hi Jim, Your tenacity on this lot is admirable, I have to say. Sadly, you are very definitely in a minority. But keep at it! Best, Stephen
Relentless and tenacity are two of my favorite descriptors when it comes to describing some aspects of leadership—although both words have less than pleasant meanings for some. Let’s see what Webster has to say:
Relentless. Oppressively constant; incessant, nonstop, never-ending.
Tenacity. The quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly. Persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose.
Speaking of “grasping something firmly,” yesterday, I decided it was time to update my professional bio, which perhaps more appropriately should be entitled “Finding my passion in life.” In a nutshell, it’s the story of how I transitioned from industrial engineer to business executive to corporate headhunter to an activist, who has recently gripped my new mission firmly. You can read that one-page story online by clicking here.
What about depression? From time to time, readers ask me how I can do what I do day after day—and not become depressed. Well, occasionally I do get depressed—and Wednesday was one of those times.
But the good news is that I learned how to “deal with” depression about twenty-five years ago. I learned a simple technique from a mental health professional and, thankfully, never had to return for another visit. Fortunately, I found the rare therapist who didn’t automatically prescribe medication for everything. Here’s the gist of what I learned from him and what I have practiced over the years. It may not work for everyone, but it has worked for me. Here’s what I do:
- Remind myself that it’s not all negative; depression can have healing powers.
- Don’t try to do too much while depressed. Let those healing powers do their thing. My father was a sales professional and knew that if he was depressed, that he should just stay at home until he felt better.
- Remind myself that this acute feeling of depression is temporary and that I will come back even stronger.
- Make a list of goals and action steps for achieving those goals.
- Start working on that list in earnest.
While depressed on Wednesday, I reminded myself of all of the above. Then I woke up yesterday, made a list of things I wanted to accomplish and created a brand new one-pager describing my #1 priority. Armed with that new one-pager, I now feel better equipped to “tell my story” as I go about recruiting that one powerful leader the world so desperately needs. I ended that one-page story with this:
Because of the severity of the emergency we face, we don’t have time for the normal process of grassroots change to happen. That’s why my #1 PRIORITY is recruiting that one powerful leader who can make it happen NOW. How do I describe that person?
I am searching for a proven leader with integrity, courage and a globally-respected name. After becoming fully enlightened regarding the ONLY viable solution to the emergency we face, he/she will know what to do. And I will be there to help!
The Bottom Line. I know that what I am trying to do is important. Perhaps more important than ANYTHING else in the history of humanity. I also know that it is a VERY difficult task. Further, I know that there is a reasonable chance that I will fail. Many tell me frequently that I will most certainly fail.
But then I remind myself of something my mother told me many times when I was just a boy.
God gave you a brain and he expects you to use it. You were put here to do something important and I know that you will. I always knew that you would be successful because you were born on Success Road. — Agnes Ware Stanfield Hicks (2200 Success Road, Memphis, TN, is on my birth certificate)
Dedicated to my son and co-author, Jason Stanfield Hicks
One more reason I don’t fear failure. Six grandchildren. I do care what they think about me after I’m gone and I don’t want to let them down. See first blog listed below.
- A blog that I posted on 2-5-14 about what my grandchildren might say about me after I am gone. Solitude of the cemetery; a place for soul-searching
- A blog that continually reminds me of what I must do. The ONLY viable pathway to SUSTAINABILITY posted on 8-4-14. It’s a simple story that absolutely NO ONE in the mainstream is telling; as most of them are “comfortably unaware.”
- My one-page story about why I do what I do. Posted on 8-14-14.
The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.
Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
- What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
- A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
- Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unaware, by Richard Oppenlander.
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.
To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf page and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.
Got a question? Let me hear from you at email@example.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:
Thx Bud – great blog. Very proud of you that you continue to beat the drum. Your grandchildren will most definitely be proud of you some day…
On Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 7:20 AM, J. Morris Hicks, writer. speaker.
Jim, your blog today is mined with jewels! Such an honest testimonial to your humanness, leadership, tenacity, and relentlessness. And your mom – what a wise, special and loving person. I know you are hoping for that one person to come forward to lead this sustainability movement, but even if that person doesn’t emerge in your lifetime, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You have already planted so many seeds in people; you’ve opened their eyes to the precipice our planet is teetering on, and you’ve awakened them to the healing benefits of WFPB lifesyle. Sadly, it might take a dire planetary emergency before someone steps forward, picks up the baton and says, “Yes, I will. I’ll lead. Let’s do it!”
As for family, (and this is for our dear Sal), I know it’s hard to realize that many in our families may not embrace our lifestyle, and may reach for that piece of pizza or dish of chicken nuggets, but I know, with certainty, that I’m an example for them and living proof of how these foods can foster health, energy and vitality. When my grandchildren draw pictures for this Nana with bunches of broccoli, I know I’m reaching them on some level. When my grandson tells me that the other granny can’t get up from a sitting position on the floor and asks how come I can, I know my response will have some influence. Sometimes, we have to let go of a desired end result, and keep on living our truth and trusting that change will happen when it is supposed to happen.
On that note, I sure feel good knowing that there are kindred spirits, as I meet on Jim’s blog, who feel as I do, who eat the foods I do, and who often share similar struggles and frustrations.
Each day, awaken to thoughts of gratitude, and that’s a bit of wheat grass for the soul!
Thank you, Jim… eloquent and inspiring writing as always. Best wishes.
Excellent!!!! I went to TrueNorth, going to PLANTSTOCK. I’m wondering if I could work my way through the conference I San Diego or share a room or both. Are you in touch with the powers that be? Best!!! Mary Lou
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks for sharing these tips. I had a traumatic experience with sudden professional loss this week – same day as the Robin Williams news. I will use your tips help get moving forward. Another practice that’s helped me (from the great book “the Tools”) is mentally listing five things I’m truly grateful for in rapid succession (things usually taken for granted…hot shower, Tennessee mountains, summer tomatoes…). After 30 seconds, I usually feel the dark cloud lift, and a connection with “something greater” – and hope for moving forward in life. One thing I’m grateful for today is your blog – and continued passion for the plant-based message. This path can be a lonely one in the deep south – and anywhere due to the money behind conflicting messages. Like you’ve said, for others to understand, it takes a “blinding flash of the obvious” – a Road to Damascus experience. Unfortunately, that flash often comes only after heart disease, diabetes, or obesity has put a person desperately on that road. Suddenly when health is transformed, you see what’s good for you is good for the planet. That was my experience anyway. As a marketing person, I started with WIFM – “what’s in it for me” – and everything else unfolded.
I feel really bad when I hear of someone who dies way too early such as in the case of Robin Williams. I know that there is often a feeling that this person is selfish and weak in taking their own life but I think there is a great misunderstanding regarding the actual causes of mental illness and the problem surrounding the brain.
I speak from a level of experience when I talk about the actual causes of mental issues. I suffered from much the same problem that Robin did in that I had undiagnosed manic depressive issues for most of my life. There is nothing externally that can be done to treat this issue because it is not something that is within the control of the person that has the issue. I say this from the standpoint of seeking help from a therapist or friend or loved one. 90% of all metal issues come down to an imbalance in brain chemistry. When a person is depressed they are basically not chemically stable inside the brain either because they have something toxic in their bloodstream such as drugs or alcohol or they are lacking a needed nutrient which is not being supplied by their diet. Like I said, I personally went through the same issues that Robin Williams suffered with and the only thing that helped was removing all of the bad things from my diet and replacing them with the food that we were designed to thrive on. It was not an instantaneous process and took several years to complete but I now have absolutely no issues and I am completely stable. I am not going to say that this is easy but when you get your chemistry corrected then everything falls into place. You no longer get bad signals such as false hunger, addictive desires or the roller coaster of manic or depressive feelings.
Personally, I believe, as you may as well, that the large elephant in the room is our use of the incorrect food. Humans were not designed to eat most of what we currently eat and as a result it has created almost all of our current health issues. The rest are mostly due to environmental factors such as pollution and non-organic processes (man Made Chemicals etc…) Simply put, we are not designed to eat animals, processed foods, or even cooked foods in reality. When I removed all of these things from my diet all of my problems health-wise went away. This included all of my brain-related issues as well.
It is almost to the point where I have trouble watching the news at night because I see so many people suffering that should not be suffering because all they really needed was some help getting off of the foods that are slowly killing them from the inside out. I can’t help but feel helpless and can only watch them as they get bad advice from all of the mainstream sources such as the news and medical establishment. It is really a shame.
To anyone that has these types of issues or is feeling depressed I can only say – Change your diet by removing all of the animal foods and processed foods from your menu, start getting more exercise to the point of sweating, Remove any bad foods such as alcohol or coffee or soda pop. If you are taking prescription drugs then do the research necessary to get off of them as they only add to the problem. In general you need to become knowledgeable about your body and get back to what animals do in the wild. They live simply and eat what they are designed to eat.
That is my opinion regarding this issue.
Your perseverance is admirable but the search for this magical leader – is this the only solution?
On a personal level: For my family and friends, at age 88 and a living example of the WFPB lifestyle who has been preaching change for 42 years – for them I would think I would be their leader to lead them out of their destructive food habits. My score . . ZERO!
So why would they listen to your magical savior? Even if it was their God preaching the message of immortality if they make the change to WFPB – would they listen? They would rather have another another slice of pizza.