“Because I couldn’t help my son, I couldn’t do anything for him, I thought maybe I could start this group and help other people and other parents deal with this problem. What I wasn’t prepared to face was just how lonely, how alone, how sad, and feeling hopeless I was.  In a way, when the group began, I needed the group as much as the group needed me. I’ve continued the group although I need it for different reasons – at that point I needed it because I felt overwhelmed because of the problem with my son. Now I need it because I’ve grown to love the people of the group and I feel a tremendous sense of connection with them,I care for them deeply, and it is a very meaningful part of my life.”

Episode Description: We begin with the definition of stigma and how it exists as a force from outside of oneself as well as an internal state of self-disdain. It can be a cause of emotional difficulties and also a result of the label of mental illness. We discuss the symptoms of depression and how it differs from sadness, especially noting the role of guilt and self-hatred. John describes a group that he began 25 years ago that is affiliated with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – DBSA. He walks us through the process of participating in the group and, in conjunction with individual treatment, describes the ways that it is a powerful force for healing. He also shares with us his personal journey of being a father of a son with bipolar illness, which originally inspired the creation of this group.

He welcomes participants from around the world who can participate in his online group.

Our Guest: John S. Tamerin, M.D., practices clinical psychiatry in Greenwich, Connecticut. He serves as a Clinical Associate Professor at the Weill/Cornell Medical College where he has taught resident psychiatrists and medical students for over thirty years. Dr. Tamerin has twice been honored by the graduating residents in the Department of Psychiatry and chosen Teacher of the Year.

Dr. Tamerin has served as a member of the Board of Scholars of the Vail Leadership Institute. He has been a faculty member of the Yad Vashem Center of Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem. He has been a member of the Board of Directors and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Depression and Bipolar Alliance (DBSA). Dr. Tamerin is currently the President and the psychiatric consultant to the Greenwich, Connecticut, Chapter of the National Depression and Bipolar Alliance.

Dr. Tamerin is an enthusiastic jazz musician who plays the alto saxophone. He is also a competitive tennis player who participated as a member of the USA Grand Master’s Tennis Team in the 20th World Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2017 and was awarded gold and silver medals in doubles and singles. He currently, at age 85, plays singles 5x a week year round and last year competed in the world championships for his age group. 

Recommended Readings:

Depression, Shame and Stigma in Therapists: To share, or not to share – that is the question by John S. Tamerin, M.D.

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