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About New Directions Delaware, Inc.

Our Beliefs


Click on each item below for the full description.

1. We acknowledge that depression and bipolar disorder (manic depression) are illnesses.

2. We don't blame ourselves or others for our illness.

3. We accept responsibility for having the illness.

4. We learn to accept our diagnosis.

5. We learn not to abet stigma.

6. We help break stigma wherever possible.

7. A full life awaits us.

8. We share a fellowship with people suffering from other mental disorders.

9. We reach out to help one another.


1. We acknowledge that depression and manic depression are illnesses, biochemical imbalances in the brain that cause our mood disorder. And like other illnesses, medication is vital in keeping it under control.

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2. We don't blame ourselves or others for our illness. We didn't cause it to happen and neither did our parents, our spouse, childhood traumas, working too hard or thinking the wrong thoughts. Just as arthritis or diabetes are not brought on by a character deficiency or by being weakminded or lazy, our illness too is independent of who we are.

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3. We accept responsibility for having the illness. We learn to monitor ourselves for the arrival of early symptoms that can be controlled by medication. At the first sign of symptoms - whether depression or mania - we don't deny them and pretend they're not there, but we notify our doctor and take appropriate medication so that the illness will not escalate out of control.

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4. We learn to accept our diagnosis and to work through any initial feelings of shame or loss of self-esteem. We work through these feelings with our therapist or our support group. We learn to rise above the label "mentally ill" and to treat ourselves as human beings, rather than impaired people.

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5. We learn not to abet stigma. Stigma often begins at home. It starts when the labeled person chooses to accept the stigma, believing that they deserve to be treated differently because of their illness. And because they regard themselves as different and less of a person than others, other people will follow their lead and treat them differently too.

If a person consistently expects less for themselves and to challenge themselves less, they end up accepting less as their portion in life. In this way they are working hand in hand with those who would stigmatize them and make them feel different or inferior.

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6. We help break stigma wherever possible. Each of us is a spokesperson for mental illness. When we speak with strangers or with family or friends, we help educate them about depression and bipolar disorder, areas about which they probable know very little. Our solid knowledge and wealth of experience shapes new thinking about the subject and helps wipe out misconceptions and prejudices.

Discretion, though, is the key to our sharing news about our illness. We never talk about it where there is a chance we might get hurt - where our job might be jeopardized or our children embarassed. Our own good judgement is the best guide to whether it's appropriate to speak about our illness.

Talking about the illness is important. If we hide it, if we feel ashamed of it, we are perpetuating the centuries-old tradition of linking shame and mental illness. Instead, it needs to be aired - the way cancer and AIDS are no longer deep dark secrets.

Trust your instincts...Take that first step to talk about your illness to someone you have been wanting to tell, but haven't quite gotten up your courage. Most likely, you will find that the people you choose to tell will indeed have a new respect for you, for our courage and your ability to live with your illness.

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7. A full life awaits us. Though we suffer from an often unpredictable mood disorder, a full and productive life can be ours, with the help of a good psychiatrist, the right medication, and a healthy attitude. Most of us can and do work, get married, have children, travel, laugh and appreciate life to the fullest.

Sometimes patience is necessary in order to get our lives back on track.

Often, our illness may require that we tailor our lives to fit our special needs. Certain jobs or social situations may be too stressful. We may not be able to work full time and some of us may not be able to work at all. But there is always something available for us that gives our lives meaning. We just need to know where to look.

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8. We share a fellowship with people suffering from other mental illnesses - people with schizophrenia, agoraphobia, drug and alcohol problems, obsessive compulsive disorder. We eagerly follow the progress research is making in helping them lead happy, healthy lives.

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9. We reach out to help one another. A telephone call, a get well card, a visit to the home of a depressed person - all these gestures mean a lot to the ill person. Because we have been there, our reaching out carries a lot of weight. What better way to put our illness to work!

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