When you've had many bad days in a row, it's easy to think that "this is hopeless", and "my health will never get better", and if you get disappointed time after time, trying to do more than your health permits and having to give up again and again, this negative self dialogue can turn into: "I'm hopeless, I will never be able to do anything"...
Many doctors teach us to keep a pain journal, which is all good and an important tool in your treatment, but it's also important to document the good times!
I make sure to take photos during good phases when I am able to be outside, go out and about and do fun things with friends and family.
At home I have a digital photo album named "Happy memories". I let that album run as a screen saver on my computer when I am in a bad pain flare, or just stuck inside for longer periods of time because of bad health.
Even if I don't have strength to actually watch it, it's there, silently in the background, showing faces of my loved ones, beautiful places I've seen and memories of good times shared. At some level it registers, even if I'm really far gone, and seeing those photos scroll through one by one brings up good feelings and reminds me that pain is not everything in life, even when it feels that way right now: There WILL be good days again, and this gives me hope and strength to continue, because deep down I know there are so many more joyful memories to be made.
Here's one good memory: an afternoon sailing trip on the Oslofjord with my friend Dina and her father a few years ago. To see this, nobody would guess I had severe pain every day, was handicapped and wheelchair bound part of that summer. But I had that good day and had that experience, and having it documented reminds me of how wonderful life can be - even if I'm in pain.