Do you have com­pare and de­spair syn­drome?

En­vi­ous of your best friend’s Twit­pics of her new kitchen? Sick of read­ing Face­book posts about your for­mer col­league’s amaz­ing new job, or your cousin’s glamorous wed­ding plans on Pin­ter­est and In­sta­gram? Don’t be, say the ex­perts, be­cause they’re all ed

Friday - - Society -

Tanya has just been out for Fri­day lunch with a friend and she’s on her way home on the Metro when she checks her Twit­ter timeline. She sees im­me­di­ately that a for­mer col­league has landed a new job, about three grades above Tanya’s. Scrolling down, she also spots some gor­geous Jimmy Choos her friend has bought and she notes that the kitchen fit­ters have just ar­rived at her cousin’s six-bed­roomed villa.

When she switches to Face­book, she sees new pho­tos from her friend’s hol­i­day in the Mal­dives with her hus­band. Her friend is look­ing slim, tanned, toned and very much in love. A col­league on ma­ter­nity leave has also posted pho­tos of her sweet new twin ba­bies. By the time Tanya gets off the train, her mood has gone from happy to feel­ing to­tally in­ad­e­quate and de­pressed with her life.

“I’d had a fan­tas­tic lunch with Ca­role. We laughed so much and we both said that we must meet up more of­ten,” says 38-year-old Tanya, a pub­lic re­la­tions ex­ec­u­tive. “I felt so good about my­self and my life when I got on the train, but af­ter I’d read about how well ev­ery­one else is do­ing, I felt in­fe­rior.

“I’m still on the same grade I was five years ago, while my for­mer col­league is fly­ing off into great things. I’d love a new kitchen in my apart­ment, but liv­ing alone, I don’t have much money left over at the end of the month for new shoes, let alone a new kitchen. I haven’t been on hol­i­day for two years and there has been no one spe­cial in my life since I split up with my boyfriend three years ago.

“When I read what ev­ery­one else was up to, I felt de­flated, as if I’m not good enough. I started think­ing how use­less I am. I told my­self I’m a fail­ure, I can’t do my job, I can’t dress well and I can’t af­ford nice things like hol­i­days. I’d also love to have a baby – just one would be won­der­ful, but there’s a col­league who got preg­nant nat­u­rally with two!”

Be aware of ‘the high­light reel’

Dur­ing her jour­ney home, Tanya fell vic­tim to com­pare and de­spair syn­drome, which af­fects all of us now we have ac­cess to ev­ery­one’s high­lights via so­cial me­dia. Even if we’re not on Face­book and Twit­ter, we see our neigh­bour’s shiny new car in their drive­way or our friends call us to share their news that their son has been ac­cepted by a top univer­sity.

When we drop our chil­dren at school, we no­tice when other mums have a new de­signer jacket, or a gor­geous new hand­bag. Some­times it feels as if the rest of the world is do­ing so much bet­ter than we are. But the rea­son for

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