I have noticed a distinct difference between the people who do well with bipolar -- whether they are supporting someone or they have it themselves -- and the people who don't do well.

The people who do well do NOT use the word 'can't' and the people who don't do well managing and coping with the disorder use the word can't ALL the time.

If you talk to someone who seems to have trouble coping with his or her bipolar disorder, you will inevitably hear dozens of statements that have a recurring theme:

I can't afford a doctorI can't get a jobI can't stand my loved oneI can't take it any moreI can't be normalMy wife can't be normalThe medicine can't workWe can't find medicine that worksWe can't find a good doctorI can't find a therapistI can't afford a therapistI can't pay down my debtI can't get a better jobI can't make more moneyI can't accomplish my goals because I am bipolarI can't be a success because my husband is bipolar

....on and on and on.

NOTE: These are all statements said to me in the last 4 months.

It's really sad. Again, I have found that people who are both supporters and survivors that do well find ways that they CAN accomplish certain things that they want to do.

For example, when I was faced with finding my mom a doctor, I heard a lot of, 'can'ts.'

I heard, 'You can't find doctors around here...there aren't enough doctors familiar with Bipolar.You can't get a doctor to call you.You can't get a good doctor unless you pay a ton of money.You can't find good doctors that are covered by insurance.You can't sort though hundreds of doctors without calling through the phone book.'

I ignored all these comments and ultimately created my own 'doctor finding system' which works for ANYONE. If you don't have any money it works for you,if you have money it works for you, if you don't have insurance it willwork and it works no matter what. BUT, you have to do some work yourself.

My advice for today: Instead of saying 'can't,' try to focuson how you can accomplish something. It sounds simple, but it's powerful.

I'm sure some people will write me and say that I just don't understand,or who am I to say such things, but believe me, I have spoken to and met witha ton of people who are dealing with bipolar. I have a degree inSociology/Economics, and I know how to keep track of information andlook for patterns. I can tell you for sure people who do well don't usethe word 'can't' all the time.

Start focusing on how you can accomplish the things you need to get done. Itmight require some creative thinking, but you can do it.

As an example, some people will comment that someone suffering from bipolar usually can't work long hours in a high pressure job. I would counter by asking why someone want to work 60-80 hours a week? If it's to pay off debts that have piled up while in a manic episode, there are better ways than trying to hold work unreasonable hours in a high pressure job. There are over 50 ways a person who is bipolar can make $50,000 a year working part time in their own home business, and get tax benefits so they can pay off their debt faster and not have to work long, boring days for someone else. So again, my rule that you shouldn't say 'can't' applies here.

So before you decide there are things that you 'can't' do because you or your loved one is bipolar, firmly grab hold of the thought that you can do almost anything and put your mind to work on some creative solutions.