DBSA Brightened My Life…

My journey with DBSA started after my son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was a board-certified psychiatrist for many years and was surprised to find I was not prepared to help him. We provided the best care and professional help we could for my son, which tragically was not effective for years. Living with a strained and sometimes threatening relationship for so many years, it took me a while to realize I needed healing as well. I wanted to channel that healing and everything I learned into helping other parents. I flew out to attend a DBSA meeting and returned to my town to start one myself in 1999.

The past few years have been a testament to resilience in the face of adversity. As we navigated the isolation of the pandemic, mental health struggles surged. Yet, within the vortex of uncertainty, a glimmer of hope emerged—a beacon of light in the form of DBSA support groups.

Despite the upheaval, our group stood as an unwavering pillar of support, which led to not a single member requiring hospitalization or any suicide attempts. In the weekly groups, we connect, we chat, and we build a deep social network that creates a community of people who really care about each other. Throughout the years, I have developed an enormous amount of respect for the coping skills of people who live with bipolar disorder and depression. I have watched many of my group members handle complex situations with dignity.

Regardless of one’s age or background, our group fosters connections that are meaningful to all. Our discussions, unlike those within families, offer a unique comfort. In a peer support group, if someone says they know how you feel, they usually do. They know how it feels not to want to get out of bed, to be suicidal, to be terrified to go to a job interview because you are insecure about yourself, to take medication and know the side effects, and to go in and out of wellness.

DBSA offers a forum to have these important conversations. They do a great job of diminishing loneliness and isolation. The basis of the groups is really humans helping humans because the focus is amicability, friendship, support, and love. These principles and positive relationships fan out into all aspects of group members’ lives as well.

I offer my time and money to DBSA because they help me. If DBSA has helped you, or someone you love, or you have seen their mission make a difference, I encourage you to support them as well. You can make the programs and services available in more communities and bring peer support to people who have not heard of the amazing benefits.

Thank you,

John Tamerin, MD
DBSA Support Group Facilitator and
Scientific Advisory Board Member