I must have been 9 years old when I noticed my first white patch. It’s been difficult to deal with vitiligo-led stress since then. I was bullied a lot for my appearance, but with time, I learned to ignore it. Making myself believe that people are ignorant and have no understanding of this skin condition helped me (though temporarily) keep worries at bay.
Vitiligo is hugely misunderstood in India. Many people assume that I must have had fish and milk at the same time, which is why I got these patches. They also consider vitiligo to be genetic. These could be some of the reasons why it took me quite a while to get used to vitiligo. I know it is a bit patronizing but encountering people with different handicaps made me realize that I have it much easier than many disadvantaged people.
Today, I perceive vitiligo life’s new normal, not letting it affect my social life. The awareness of my strengths and the realistic appraisal of my talents and capabilities made me look beyond vitiligo. I strongly believe happiness can’t come from the outside; It must come from within you. When you realize this, you don’t let anyone control your thoughts and actions.
These days, more and more people on social media are owning it and are proud of it. They testify to turning down treatments to change their skin. I find this absolutely relatable. However, I still feel that people with vitiligo are extremely underrepresented in books and movies. And, as a society, we need to change that.
I feel vitiligo has made me the person I am today – more strong, confident and someone who is empathetic towards others. Currently, I am working as a freelancing psychologist. So far, I have worked with schools as well as their counselors. I have worked on several cases of child abuse and have counseled people from dysfunctional families.