How I Failed to Help Robin Williams

Dear Robin,

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

You walked into my Great Earth Vitamin store on Polk St. in San Francisco in 1987, and I feel like I failed you.

You didn’t say what you were looking for. I asked, but as soon as you looked at me you began picking up one bottle of vitamins after another and making jokes. I laughed and tried to keep up with your understanding of vitamins, but soon realized it didn’t matter -- you were just having fun and entertaining me, period.

You didn’t stay long — about 15 minutes — and I was euphoric after you left because the fabulous Robin Williams had just given me my own private comedy show.

I knew you lived in San Francisco and I hoped you would stop in again to talk seriously about vitamins, but you never did. So, for the past 27 years, I've thought you had just been cruising Polk St. looking for material for your comedy act and, seeing a customer-free vitamin store, decided to entertain me with a vitamin comedy show (it worked in I Love Lucy and The Flintstones, but I never saw another vitamin-themed performance by you).

I now know that  in the 1980's your mother, Laurie Williams, made a senior exercising video and recommended that you take vitamins and exercise. (I’ve been watching interviews you have given over the years.)

I know in 1987 you had not been drinking alcohol or using cocaine since your son was born in 1983 and that you and your wife were expecting the birth of your daughter.

In one interview you said you bonded with your mother as a child by making her laugh by telling her jokes.


1738 Polk Street

In interviews about you given by your male friends, I’ve learned that you could visit with them without telling jokes when you were alone with them, but I haven't heard any of your female friends say that. 

We were alone in my store that day and you could not stop telling me jokes. I read an article by Leah Garchik in today’s (August 13, 2014: two days after you died) San Francisco Chronicle newspaper where she said you did a one-on-one stand-up for her when she found herself alone with you at a private dinner party when she had hoped for a casual one-on-one conversation with you. She said she was disappointed.

That’s when I realized that back in 1987 I was disappointed too -- because you didn’t give me a chance to tell you about vitamins and what they can do to help with depression, which, in turn, would decrease the desire for drugs and alcohol. Now I’m wondering, if there had been a knowledgeable male salesperson alone in the store that day, would you have asked him if vitamins can help a person with depression before you entertained him and if you had, would you still be alive today? 

The following is what I would have told you if you had asked:

The most important supplement for helping relieve depression is Vitamin B-Complex. Using cocaine, abusing alcohol, and/or consuming refined sugar depletes B-Complex vitamins. 

Studies show that even many pharmaceutical drugs deplete vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, B-12, folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium, selenium, zinc, chromium, and CoQ10. 

B-Complex vitamins are water-soluble, so they must be taken two or three times a day preferably with meals. I take two Country Life Co-enzyme B-Complex capsules twice daily (I’ve taken two B-Complex capsules two to three times a day since 1961).

The second most important supplement for relieving depression (and the first for the overall health of the brain) is Omega-6 oil (the brain needs Omega-6 oil for its proper development and smooth functioning throughout life).

Omega-6 oil is also crucial for the health of the heart. Dr. Johanna Budwig proved this in the 1950’s and, even though in the final results of her studies she recommended Omega-3 oil (from flax seed oil, which was called linseed oil in the 1950’s), all her experiments were done using Omega-6 oil (Ref: “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill,” 1993, Udo Erasmus). 

One visible sign that you are deficient in Omega-6 oil is shrunken, stiff lips. It was reported in 1928 by Royal S. Lee (1895-1967), founder of the Vitamin Products Company, now called Standard Process, Inc., that people who are deficient in Omega-6 oil gradually see their lips shrink and become stiff. This happens more quickly if they are out in the sun daily (cowboys, sailors, and sportsmen such as bicyclers). 

Whether or not you eat fried foods and/or foods that contain hydrogenated oil/trans-fats (oils that are harmful to brain and heart), you should take supplements of Evening Primrose Oil and a small amount of Omega-3 oil daily to keep your brain and heart healthy. (Note: It helps to take these oil supplements before meals as they will prevent any bad oil in your meal from attaching to your oil receptors.)

Before eating breakfast every day I take two Barlean’s Evening Primrose oil capsules and three Yes oil capsules (a combination of Omega-6 from Evening Primrose oil and Omega-3 from flax seeds) (I've taken a combination of Evening Primrose oil  and flax seed oil daily since my month-long stay at the Gerson Cancer Hospital in Rosarito Beach, Mexico in November 1982).

The third supplement needed for the health of the brain is a good mineral supplement.  

The mineral supplement I recommend is Sea Vegetable capsules by PotentSea. As our farm soil becomes depleted, only the ocean can provide the nutrients needed for longevity, wellness, youth and vitality. Several Asian cultures credit their long life spans and low disease rates to a diet rich in ocean nutrition.

The rich amount of organic iodine and trace minerals in PotentSea Sea Vegetable capsules work to promote a healthy thyroid. Many Americans suffer from a low thyroid condition known as hypothyroidism. Signs of hypothyroidism can include weight gain, low energy, poor hair, skin and nails, frequent lack of wellness, depression, lack of mental focus, etc.

I take three capsules of PotentSea Sea Vegetables daily with breakfast (I've taken mineral tablets or capsules since 1961, but have only been taking PotentSea Sea Vegetable capsules since June 2013).  

It is best to take all the vitamins daily: A, B-Complex, C, D, E, and F (Omega-6 and Omega-3), minerals, and other supplements such as COQ10 and systemic enzymes (because our body gradually makes less enzymes after age 30), but for eliminating depression B-Complex vitamins, Evening Primrose oil capsules, and PotentSea Sea Vegetable capsules are the ones you should never go without.     


Bonnie O’Sullivan

PS My Great Earth Vitamin store was located at 1738 Polk St., near Washington St. There is a Douglas Brett Modern Life Designs store at that location now.

1738 Polk St San Francisco CA 94109

1738 Polk St San Francisco CA 94109

Cee - August 16, 2014

Well done, Bonnie!

bonnie - August 17, 2014

Via Email:

Thank you for writing this article. It was helpful to you to write and may be quite helpful to some of your readers too. I have a problem with depression and just don’t want to take the pharmaceuticals. I will look into your suggestions.


bonnie - August 17, 2014

Via Email

Amazing letter Bonnie. My grand Mother just passed away this August and i should have visit her right when i got to Mexico … and when i saw her it was too late… I regret it so much but now there is nothing i can do except pray for her and ask her to forgive me … we all always think … I should have or if i just did this or that.. God knows our intentions and he will take care of the rest …

Regards to Dale.



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