David Concepcion Diaz was a kind, sweet and sensitive young man who had a bright future ahead of him. In early 2007, he was diagnosed with vitiligo. Less than a year later on July 15, 2008, David chose to end his life. He was just 25.
Over the years, many cases like Davis’s have been reported. The skin is the outer covering of our body, and any disfigurement on it can cause some psychological complications. Hence, it is understood why a chronic skin disorder like vitiligo may have a synergistic effect of hopelessness and suicide attempts. However, just because you feel like ending your life doesn’t mean that you have to do it.
People who feel as shortly as you are able to deal with suicidal thoughts. So, there is a very good chance that you are going to live through these feelings too no matter how much guilt, loneliness or misery you are experiencing now. Don’t worry; you have us. Here’re some strategies that can help you put some distance between those hopeless thoughts and suicide attempt in vitiligo.
1. Speak up.
The first step in coping with suicidal feelings is to share them with someone you trust. It may be a friend, a teacher, a coach, or an experienced counselor at the end of a helpline. It has to be someone you trust before you let him/her know how you are feeling at the moment.
2. Minimize time spent alone.
Suicidal thinking thrives in isolation. So, try to minimize the time spent alone in your room. Ask friends to be with you at vulnerable times and make plans ahead for weekends.
3. Give yourself timing goals.
Each evening, set small tasks or goals for the next day. It can be doing something as simple as watching your favorite TV show. Just knowing that you can still do things you like despite feeling low can help you combat depression in vitiligo.
4. Channelize your energy.
Start your day by channeling your emotions into a song, a poem or a diary entry to give voice to your feelings. This will help you further understand them. Share what you’ve come up with someone you trust – a neighbor, your best friend, a cousin or even a counselor.
5. Let sad feelings pass
Whenever negativity hits you right back, get away from anything you can use to hurt yourself. For instance, if there are knives and pills in your house, come out of your house for a while. This will give you some time to settle down and begin to think reasonably. Pain is momentary but suicide is eternal. You may be feeling extremely overwhelmed right now, but it too shall pass.
6. Face the fear
You might have been having suicidal thoughts for some time or maybe they’ve only recently snuck up on you. It’s totally normal to feel sadness from painful experiences like bullying in school over your vitiligo, strange stares, and unkind remarks. But, it’s not healthy to spiral into a suicidal mindset and believe that death is the only solution to ending this pain.
7. Realize your worth
Remember that you are valued more than you know. You’ve impacted so many people – your family, your friends, members of your community. It adds up even if it doesn’t feel like it. You would be deeply missed by your loved ones who’d have to cope with your permanent absence and who would miss you and grieve for you forever.
8. Say no to alcohol
Alcohol tends to reduce your inhibitions and can make you do something you will regret the next day. Check your alcohol consumption and try to cut down. Also, try not to drink alone.
9. Keep your doctor informed
Many vitiligo fighters are prescribed antidepressant to deal with depression. Be aware that some antidepressant medication can increase the risk of suicidal thinking especially when you first start taking them. Keep your doctor in the loop for a surge in such thoughts.
10. Seek help
Suicidal thoughts aren’t treatable, but the illnesses associated with them certainly are. There are many ways to silence those internal voices without permanently silencing yourself. Many clinics and counseling centers provide confidential support and even offer affordable resources or medication if that’s what you need. Find out what works best for you – Group counseling over the phone or one-on-one counseling.