When talking about bipolar disorder, many people use what I think of as negative, or even damaging, thought patterns as it relates to the use of terms associated with the disorder. For example, one person might say, "I’m bipolar," where another person might say, "I have bipolar disorder," and that's what I'm talking about. Let’s break just these two statements down. In the one case, where the person refers to themselves as bipolar, they are identifying themselves with the disorder. In other words, they are making bipolar disorder the central factor of their life when, instead, it should be something they have. Which is why, in my opinion, the other person's phrase is the better phrase: "I have bipolar disorder." You don't hear people saying, "I am cancer," do you? No, they correctly say, "I have cancer." Another example is the use of "bipolar sufferer." First of all, if you say you suffer from bipolar disorder, is that really true? Does it have to be true? Many people who have bipolar disorder have learned to manage the disorder so well that they no longer refer to themselves as "suffering" from it. They don't refer to themselves as "bipolar sufferers." Again, it's a matter of negative thought patterns. These people refer to themselves, instead, as "bipolar survivors." In my opinion, people with bipolar disorder should carefully try to control the language that they use when talking about themselves and the disorder, and so should other people. Avoid defining yourself as bipolar, instead (just as if you had cancer), define yourself as having bipolar disorder. It could make the difference between the disorder controlling you or you controlling the disorder. Examples of words that I think should be eliminated from the vocabulary of people with bipolar disorder are: crazy, never, always, nothing, can't, and suffer. These are negative words when used in contexts such as: "I'm crazy, and I'm always going to be this way. I'll never recover, because I can't ever be normal. I'll always be bipolar, and I'll always suffer from it. Nothing will work for me." Do you see how negative that language can be? It can mean defeat for a person with bipolar disorder – they may not see stability for a very long time with that type of attitude. You can see that when you start saying statements like this, you internalize these falsehoods; ultimately causing them to be true and eventually leading to the very opposite of what you want. On the other hand, by changing your thought patterns, you can change the course of your bipolar disorder. If you change your internal thought patterns to more positive ones, your attitude toward yourself and your disorder will reflect this change, and your disorder will become more manageable. Don't be surprised if your self-esteem doesn't improve as a side result, as your outlook on life becomes a more positive one. Change your thought patterns and you change your wording. Then, naturally, you change your attitude and outlook into a more positive one. Remember, you are not bipolar. You have bipolar disorder. High functioning people with bipolar disorder use the positive statements and thought patterns in their day to day lives. Those who do not effectively manage this disorder do the opposite. The difference in effectively dealing with bipolar disorder and living in unhappiness (with many bipolar episodes) is simply the way you think about and talk about your disorder. Bipolar disorder is NOT your fault. It isn't the result of something you did or didn't do. It is largely genetic and, when not part of a family history, it's a disorder that is, quite simply, just like any other illness such as arthritis, diabetes or asthma. You are not the reason for the disorder happening to you. Learn to live life to the fullest in spite of your disorder. Do not allow the disorder to completely and totally control you instead of you controlling it, by simply changing your thought patterns and use of terminology.