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A man looking envious sits on a blanket under a tree in a park while other people around him take naps, do yoga, and eat food around him on their respective blankets.

Jealous of People Without IBS

I am not a perfect person and I don’t pretend to be. As much as I share the good, I also share the bad, and therefore I try to find the balance between the two. In my articles, I aim to be raw, honest, and aware because I feel that allows me to create that balance. Well, in this piece, I would like to share the difficulty of living with IBS through the lens of being jealous of others. But I would also like to show that being aware of my jealousy of people without IBS allows me to work on this imperfection of mine by changing my perspective. Here are some of the ways that I’m jealous of other people that don’t have IBS (or any other chronic invisible illness):

I get jealous of people who get more sleep than me

I can’t stress enough the lack of sleep I get due to my anxiety, back pain, and IBS. These three have a great friendship because they seem to follow each other wherever one or the other goes. And if one of them isn’t around, then at least two of them are always hand-in-hand. I have experienced anxiety and back pain throughout my life, but they’ve worsened due to having irritable bowel syndrome. So, unfortunately, when I go to bed at night, it’s hard to stay both mentally and physically comfortable. I have worrisome thoughts, lower back aches, and sharp stomach pains that would keep a bear up during hibernation season. Sometimes when I’m having trouble sleeping, I look over at my wife and son and envy the fact they get to fall asleep right away, but also can’t help but admire their peaceful faces and be happy for them at the same time. I would never want anyone to go through the battles I face with IBS, not even my worst enemy.

I get jealous of people who get to eat without worry

Frankly, I wanted to initially say that I get jealous of those who get to eat without consequence. However, that statement would be misleading because many people, whether they have IBS or not, eat with consequences. However, those consequences last longer and hurt much worse for those of us with IBS, or other chronic digestive illnesses. Therefore, I, instead, envy those who can eat without worry because the consequences will only last for so long. When I eat certain food, I have to be concerned about the longevity of the pain and how it could negatively affect certain areas of my life, like work and/or social.

I get jealous of people who get to lead a more functional lifestyle than me

For instance, many people get to travel, work, and exercise with ease. My IBS makes it difficult for me to do all of those things. I have to push myself 10x harder than I would if I wasn’t dealing with this condition. Unfortunately, this condition not only makes me feel physical pain, anxiety, and depression, but it also adds jealousy to the mix. I am aware that comparing myself to others, or even my past-self, is never the right thing to do nor the solution to any problem. And because I am aware of that, I know I have the power in my hands to control this emotion and not let it last for long. The power is in perspective.

Learning to change my perspective

So, on those rough nights when I can’t sleep and my family can, at least I’ll be awake knowing that they’re safe and sound. Also, when I can’t sleep, I try do something productive, like writing or reading, that will hopefully and eventually tire me out, so that way I’m not just wasting time with my life by lying in bed. And those moments when I can’t enjoy any kind of food I want, I learn to appreciate that I am at least minimizing the chances of suffering from a possible flare up. Plus, the food I usually want to eat isn’t always best for my overall health anyway. Basically, instead of being upset and jealous of others for an indefinite amount of time and for whatever reason, I choose to learn from that perspective and create a new one that empowers me with appreciation and control over my life. As I mentioned in the beginning, I am not perfect, and therefore I try to share both the good and bad. So, consider this article almost like a 10 second snapshot of how I am currently feeling right now because I know that this jealousy phase will eventually fade like the wind.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my article and allowing me to share my perspective on showing how difficult it can be living with IBS through the lens of jealousy. If any of you can relate to being envious of others because they can do things you can’t due to your condition, then please comment below and let us know!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • CrankyOldHermit
    4 months ago

    As my symptoms got progressively worse over the last 3 yrs of IBS I could not work as much. Ability to work was severely hampered to the point where it was impossible to serve my clients. Wife was my partner in life 32 yrs and my partner in business for the last 20. She took on my responsibilities until it broke her and she quit me and closed the biz. I apparently am now divorced and must sell my home (hunting camp property) and give her the proceeds. She already took everything else. She never believed I was sick so felt justified in ruining me financially. I can’t/couldn’t afford health insurance but don’t qualify for help because I am part owner in my parent’s old homestead in BFE. Gonna force me to move in with my 85 yr old mother in an area so rural, there is no cell service or internet. Thanks for this site. Does anyone else have family, coworkers, friends who just don’t understand why we can’t work like normal people?

  • HessP moderator author
    4 months ago

    I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with IBS and how it has affected your quality of life, @CrankyOldHermit. I believe in the darkest of moments, life is just making room and space for brighter days. Please know you’re not alone and in great support here.

    Also, I wrote another article that you may be able to relate to in regards how to my family feels about my IBS. In case you’re interested, here is the link: https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/how-family-feels-about-ibs/. I hope you find it useful! Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your story! Happiness is always worth fighting for so keep fighting the great fight! =) Best – Hess, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team member

  • cfamilyfix
    4 months ago

    I always joke around with people when I’m out at a restaurant and say “…my digestive system is jealous of your digestive system…” especially if they order something real decadent that I’d love to eat but know it will put a hurtin’on me. I’ve suffered with IBS for the better part of 20 yrs with a slight “remission” in between but in recent years it’s worse than ever . On days when I have no choice I eat minimally to avoid a flare to be productive. I just finished a 10 day course of the “latest and greatest “ Xifaxan which kept me out of work a whole week it triggered my symptoms so bad but I was able to finish the whole script. Jealous feelings I try to keep to a minimum by realizing some people are a lot worse off than me even on my worst days.

  • HessP moderator author
    4 months ago

    I can relate on so many levels, @cfamilyfix! From not being able to eat certain foods that other people can to not being able to finish a course of meds because it was doing more damage than good. This is part of the reason why I chose to write this article in this way because I wanted to use “jealousy” as a way to illustrate how IBS negatively affects the quality of life for me and many others with the condition. However, I agree that jealous feelings should be kept to a (very low) minimum because they don’t make enough room for solutions, or, overall, happiness. Thanks so much for sharing part of your story with us and being a great support to this community! Keep fighting the great fight and stay positive! Best – Hess, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team member

  • Lynda
    4 months ago

    First, I want to commend you for raising this issue. Being jealous of anyone else, is not a productive feeling. I would not wish my IBS on any living person. I also have severe intractable migraines. I have tried so many different medications, having seen over 17 neurologists & headache specialists & for the past 20 years, I have had severe IBS. I had to have emergency surgery x 2, and was hospitalized for 85 days in 2016. I was given a 20% chance to live after the second surgery, so it seems God had other plans for me. I can add 4 GI specialists to my list of physicians that I have sought some help from unsuccessfully. I honestly don’t know which is worse. I cannot go without sleep, or I get a migraine. The nausea & vomiting irritates my IBS. SO, it is a viscous circle. Diets haven’t worked, exercise is good when my symptoms allow. My husband has a cast iron stomach, so nothing bothers him. I’m trying a new medication for me, it’s Colestipol & it is supposed to bind with bile acids to eliminate them without causing irritation throughout GI system. It will take a few weeks to know if it is effective (I will give it a few months). Meanwhile I am seriously committing time to meditation & mindfulness. This also takes time & practice. I used to use it for anxiety & depression & it fell away after not being used for awhile. There are several phone apps that are good for this. I’m also seeing a physical therapist who does visceral manipulation & wow, it helps, but only for a few days. She is teaching me to do it for myself. I refuse to give up. I’m 72 years old, retired with grandkids who live away. I will keep traveling to visit them & do the best I can each day & forgive myself (which is a whole different topic) when I can’t do the things I want to do. Jealousy is a green monster that can rob you of friendships, and it’s negativity is not helpful. I’m working very hard to be positive, so I just divert those negative thoughts as frequently as I can. They try to sneak back into my thoughts, but I don’t want them.

  • tmholland moderator
    4 months ago

    @lynda,

    I can’t imagine having to deal with everything you have gone through on your journey. I am so impressed with your obvious efforts to help yourself feel better and the continued effort. I loved ‘Being jealous of anyone else, is not a productive feeling.’ No, it certainly is not. I wish you continued strength and hope you are well today. Please remember we are here for support should you need it. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • Lynda
    4 months ago

    Thank you for the support. It means a great deal to me. I post infrequently, but always read the articles, hoping to find something to help. This is a great, supportive group & it’s somewhere to sound out about the trials & tribulations of invisible chronic pain. This is so needed in today’s fight against stigma associated with any chronic pain. Thank you again.

  • Tara
    4 months ago

    Ive had ibs ever since i can remember and i will be 41 on sunday.
    It’s hard … I have developed fybromyalgia aswell now and my life is so so hard.
    So i try even harder.
    I dont get jealous at all ….i think i am blessed .

    Dont get me wrong I have off days where I cry because of the pain….but still feel blessed.
    Everyone who suffers from this horrible condition be strong and remember take each day as it comes .

  • tmholland moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi @Tara,

    Happy Pre-Birthday! I love your attitude and feeling blessed and grateful for the things I do have has helped me through a lot of bad days. One day at a time, right? I wish you well and hope you enjoy your birthday. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • gutsalmighty
    4 months ago

    Yes I’m jealous, very much so. As I already have Post Polio Syndrome, which has eroded my life to such an extent that I spend all my time alone at home, most of it in bed trying to recover some strength and energy to have some sort of a life, I could well do without IBS which seems to be with me permanently now. Just a day or two off here and there. If I’m lucky. I long for more. I’m not a saint, I’m only human with needs to express myself physically, and to renew my spirit in Nature. Illness is so debilitating.

  • tmholland moderator
    4 months ago

    @gutsalmighty,

    Illness is debilitating and it sounds like you’ve had more than your share. The idea that you would like to express yourself physically and renew your spirit in Nature says that you have resilience and you have hope. Know how strong you are and remember we are here for support. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • gutsalmighty
    4 months ago

    Cheers Todd, thanks for your encouraging comment. Xx it’s good to know you are there, and I really appreciate the weekly newsletter and the valuable articles.

  • Emily
    4 months ago

    Yes. I get jealous of people who can come and go anytime they want without giving it a thought. Who can travel or even just make plans with family without the worry of their stomach acting up. I try to imagine all the things I could/would do if I didn’t have IBS. Sure there are other illnesses or conditions people deal with. But don’t put people down bc they’re dealing with IBS. It’s not fun and should never be minimized by those who don’t have it.

  • Corgimom
    4 months ago

    I’ve had it for 58 of my 61 years. I have it so severely that I had to go on disability nearly 25 years ago and haven’t worked since. It’s not minimizing anything. It’s about accepting what I can’t change, and choosing to think about what I have, and what I can do, rather than focusing on what I can’t- which accomplishes nothing but generating even more bad feelings.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing Emily. I hope this reminded you that you are not alone in this. Wishing you some relief ahead. Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team member

  • tmholland moderator
    4 months ago

    @emily,

    ‘It’s not fun and should never be minimized by those who don’t have it’. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Dealing with illness sometimes becomes so overwhelming that we start to look at others as ‘the lucky ones’. I think this is probably one of the most natural emotions we can have. As you indicated, we are all aware that others may have it harder than we do. In our moments of pain, this type of empathy is very difficult to summon. Thank you for your comments and I hope you are well today. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • Corgimom
    4 months ago

    I am not jealous at all. My girlfriend’s son has cystic fibrosis and has already had a double lung transplant. My husband has neuropathy in his feet that will eventually cripple him. Another girlfriend had to retire early because of mental health issues. Compared to that, IBS is nothing. There are always people that are better off than you and always people that are worse off than you. Just focus on your best life and don’t worry about other people. Live long enough, and you will get sick with SOMETHING.

  • Corgimom
    4 months ago

    And just for the record- I have suffered with GI issues for 58 of my 61 years, my mother first took me to the doctor back in 1961 because I would cry when having a bowel movement. It just isn’t worth it to be jealous, it hurts you the most and won’t change anything.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    4 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your story and experience Corgimom. Your positive outlook is inspiring. Sounds like you have seen a lot of suffering first hand and in those close to you. Love your advice to focus on your best life. Keep it up. We appreciate you being part of our community. Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • ldonne
    4 months ago

    Was talking with my mom the other day, here I am saying give me acne and take the ibs away. Atleast that way I could cover it up and feel more productive. It truly is draining on the days that you want to be better and try so hard, but you can’t do much.
    I do say very often probably everyday, wish I could do that, eat that, have less anxiety, feel normal.
    Ibs is a life changing diagnosis to have. Everyone with it suffers differently.

    I Can relate to you @hessp.

  • HessP moderator author
    4 months ago

    I’m so glad you’re able to relate, @ldonne. I agree – acne would be so much easier to manage/deal with as opposed to IBS, lol. And, you’re right about another thing – people with IBS do suffer from it differently. At the end of the day, all we can do is our best to manage, and our best is just enough. Thanks so much for sharing and being understanding! Stay strong and positive! – Hess, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team member

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