Vitiligo is so much more than some spots on the skin because it may deeply affect self-esteem. If you have vitiligo, then you know that vitiligo has a set of emotional symptoms and these symptoms are especially frustrating. Shame, embarrassment, anxiety, fear, are all a result of vitiligo and the changes vitiligo represents:
- How will vitiligo look?
- Will vitiligo spread?
- What will people think?
- Will I be attractive?
- Am I worth loving?
- Are people staring at me?
All these concerns are rooted in our sense of self, our self-esteem, and vitiligo attacks our sense of self by changing almost randomly the color of our skin. This can affect our sense of control over out lives. While everyone deals with personal insecurities that are similar in nature but with vitiligo there is added pressure on our appearance.
So many people with vitiligo attempt to deal with these emotional side effects of vitiligo be working towards getting rid of vitiligo. And this is understandable. We can imagine that if we didn’t have vitiligo we wouldn’t be worried, depressed, anxious about our life. And this is when the biggest mistake is made: we conclude that getting rid of vitiligo is the solution to dealing with vitiligo and self-esteem issues.
The biggest problem with this is that you can’t fully control vitiligo or auto-immune conditions. While there are things that you can do to deal with the underlying health issues that inform auto-immune and vitiligo, there is no guarantee vitiligo will be eliminated. What’s more, the available health programs recommended to deal with the vitiligo take commitment, faith, patience, sacrifice and time and a willingness to try new things. Emotional healthiness is important to develop wether you attempt to get rid of vitiligo or not.
Getting rid of vitiligo is no substitute for dealing with your emotional health.
There is an opportunity here though. Vitiligo confronts us with our insecurities in a frustrating way, so we can accept the obstacle as an opportunity to grow if we want. I want to see vitiligo as an opportunity to grow. I can confront my fears, my insecurities and be stronger and more self-aware because of my willingness to see the positives.
Everyone more or less deals with these emotional side-effects:
- worrying about what other people think or feel about ourselves
- trying to control what other people think or feel about ourselves
- trying to control the future
- struggling to identify feelings
- taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally
- trying to please other people
- obsessing about things we can’t control
Vitiligo ads a special kind of color to these emotional issues. It’s makes the vitiligo struggle somewhat unique, but not totally unique. These are fundamental human concerns and the dealing with vitiligo is just like any other obstacle.
Self-esteem and vitiligo is something I often talk about on my newsletter. How is vitiligo effecting your self-esteem? Let me know in the comments below!
Tiffany Hunt says
living with vitiligo is definitely hard. My self esteem varies from day to day, person to person and stare to stare. The stares throw me off. Some stares make me feel uncomfortable, some out of place and some make me feel down right alien. A stare can make me feel beautiful or like a circus act. I’m constantly aware of the looks and it makes for a stressful tug of war within myself. Fighting to be upbeat and outgoing or depressed and introverted.
Keith Evans says
I understand the ups and downs. I love how you framed it too when you say its a tug of war within myself. I’ve been there, get that.
My kids say I’m imagining the “stares”. NOT. It’s unbelievable to me how people really do not have the courtesy to be satisfied with a glancing peek! And don’t patronize me and tell me you don’t even see it, because it is the elephant on the room. It’s there and it is what it is. The drive through teens win the “stare” award!!! LOL. #lovetheskinyou’rein!
This is so true I’m only 10 years old and a lot of people in my school and on my lacrosse team stare and look and it’s almost to the point where I never want to wear short ever again (I have vitiligo on my legs)
Laurie Jarrett says
I too like the term Tug of War. Living with Vitiligo, for 6yrs, I have become more health conscious. I did read a few yrs back, that if you change the way you eat, you could reverse and stop the vitiligo.. Good thing is i became much more healthy, but, realize it is not going away. There is so much to learn on Autioimmune and our health.. Very interesting. I have also become aware that Doctors, are not the one s to ask, Naturalpath is your answer. I now have a much more open mind, and like to share with others.
Hi. I’m 58. Moslem female. In the society I live in it’s a “what’s this check her”. Now with the help of the most wonderful children who tell me I’m still beautiful inside and out. I have become to accept this is a gods given condition. One day I’ll wake up and find it either gone away or maybe spread faster. There are people out there worse than me. So far I have it under my arms, in my toes, slight dots on my hands and the most frustrating on my face. I try to camouflage it with makeup….. I’m now done with that. Love me as I am or please stop staring and walk away. My heart has accepted this so please let me be.
Thank you for reading this. I feel millions better just writing my feelings.
Diana Meswele says
This is such a touching post, I do not have vitiligobuti have seen persons with it. More awareness of how it affects lives is necessary. It is difficult to deal or interact with a person with vitiligo without either trying too hard to a point of being unnatural or just avoiding interaction with them because one is worried of acting in an insensitive manner. I feel so much compassion reading this article I believe the impact will last in my consciousnessknowing what my starecan do to another person. Thank you so much for sharing this.
LILLIAN ANYANGO WERE says
I started noticing that I had vitiligo 30 years ago. I now have patches on my elbows, hands, feet, knees, legs and scalp. It has never really bothered me but when someone asks me what that is, then I become self conscious. I try to wear clothes that hide the one on my elbows and legs but can’t hide the ones on my hands and feet. Much as I know that it is can auto-immune problem I have noticed that new patches appear everytime I go through stressful situation so I wonder if it is also a manifestation of depression.
I am now 57 years old and have lived with this condition for more that half my
ThanK you and may God bless you.
I have recently been diagnosed with Vitiligo at 21 and I am scared. I am trying to see the positives in this but I can’t help thinking “why me?”. I am going gluten free and vegan here soon to hopefully prevent it from spreading. I currently only have it on my back and that I can handle, I am just scared about when it spreads to more public places that are harder to cover up. I am glad I found this blog and I hope to connect with other people and hear their stories and how they live with it. Thanks, much love.