I think that it’s natural for human beings to compare themselves to others. Many of the things that motivate us come from envy – I want a house like that, a wife like that, a bowel like that.
But it often occurs to me that while we often compare ourselves to the people who have more than we do, it is far more of an effort to compare ourselves to people who have less. I’ve never gone without food for a day in my life, for example, so I’m already better off than millions of people in this world.
But I don’t compare myself to them. I compare myself to my friends who don’t have to worry about stomach pain all the time, or to the pretty people on telly who seem to have everything. Wish I had their intestines, I think. What I would do with a bowel like that.
Just occasionally though I think about comparing myself to the people who have perfect stomachs but actually have bigger problems than I do. There was a girl on telly the other day who had a skin condition which meant that her feet constantly felt sunburnt. She had to have fans at her desk at work just to try to stop the pain. Her feet would swell up all the time and blister, and she’s had it for years and years.
Would that be worse than IBS? Maybe – at least I have whole days and sometimes weeks where I feel fine. And then I read an article about women who were 30 stone overweight and had to have their stomachs stapled and then lost loads of weight and then found out that being slim doesn’t really make you happy.
So the next time my intestines are killing me I am going to try saying quietly to myself “Look, Soph, this is all very unfortunate but you don’t have feet that feel like they’re burning and a staple in your stomach. Buck up, sunshine.”
It might just work.