I have had vitiligo since I was 10 years old. It all started from just one small patch on my ankle which didn’t change size or shape for years. As I reached my late teens though, I started to gain more patches. I now have patches on my neck, arms, hands and leg. Vitiligo affects people in so many different ways be it mentally, emotionally or cosmetically.
One thing which it has taught me though is to love the person you are. I have tried many different treatments, some have worked, others have made it worse. It is very easy to try and hide the patches and cover it up with make up. This is what I did for a while and it made me feel so much worse as I felt as if I was leading a double life. I shut out people closest to me for a while and kept the pain to myself. I turned it around though by talking to my friends and family. They reminded me that they did not even see the patches on me as they knew me for me – not someone who has white patches on their skin. Suffering on your own is not the answer. It is very easy to hide away from the condition and to try and cover it up but that just makes it worse. Being Indian also meant me having to listen to old wives tales such as “you must have had fish and milk together which is why you have that condition.” This is simply not true and I always put anyone who said that to me straight.
I encourage people to join the Vitiligo Society and to talk to others who have the condition. It is great to have a “friends and family” network around you but the only people who really know what you are going through are the ones who also have vitiligo. I have made some very good friends through the society and we share our experiences and support each other.
I work closely with the society as this is something which is so close to me and I am very passionate about educating others about the condition. I feel that it is our role as people with the condition to raise awareness of vitiligo so we can remove the misconceptions which people have about it. The Vitiligo Society has given me a lot of support through the years and I hope that anyone reading this will find some comfort too.