Being diagnosed with vitiligo can be an unexpected and unwanted twist in anyone’s life journey. It’s only natural to feel afraid and wonder how your life would look like in the days to come. Naturally, these feelings will use up a lot of energy and may make it harder to absorb all the medical information your dermatologist has shared with you.
Believe it or not, even this unfortunate change can be an opportunity to negotiate how life will play out for you. Though you cannot completely control your appearance in the future, making certain choices can set your path in the right direction. Keeping up the right attitude can make living with vitiligo comfortable and least bothersome.
So, if you’ve just been diagnosed with the chronic skin disorder recently, here’s a list of things you should do to get through the first week after vitiligo diagnosis.
1 | Talk to your loved ones
Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and break the news to your loved ones. Being fearful, you might like to withhold the news. But, being honest and open is usually best. The first conversation about vitiligo is often the hardest. Choose a time when you and your partner/parents/kid(s)/sibling(s) feel comfortable. All you need at this point is being honest and using simple language to explain the nature of the chronic skin disorder. They might feel sad, or confused. Allow that to happen.
Hug each other and vow to do something good for the world. You can make a meaningful difference in life, even with vitiligo. This could be your answer to your diagnosis – “World, look out, here I come!”
2 | Discuss the diagnosis with your employer
Depending on the nature of your work (especially if you are in retail business), your employment may get affected in the future. Talk to your human resources representative to find out what can be done so that you can work stress-freely. Ideally, your employer must take reasonable steps to prefer your talent over your appearance.
3 | Take your medication on time
Maximizing the benefits of your medication is important during the initial phase. Set up reminders on your cell phone to be certain that you are on time for every medicinal dose. Keep water, and paper available in your drawer so that you never miss a dose at your workplace.
4 | Exercise regularly
Exercising on a regular basis is a healthy habit to improve your mood and shift your focus from vitiligo. Bonus? Working out will help you sleep better and say goodbye to mild depression as well. To make the most of your workout regimen:
- Always workout in a safe environment. Avoid slippery floor, poor lighting and loose objects around you.
- Maintain right posture while exercising.
- Keep a tab on your breathing pattern and heart rate. Breathing should never be labored and heart rate should never cross the max heart rate.
- Avoid using heavy weights during the workout as this may result in increased rigidity.
- Take adequate rest between exercises.
- If you are tired during the day, have trouble sleeping, and have low motivation, it could be a sign of overtraining. Talk to your trainer to readjust the workout frequency or intensity.
5 | Indulge in beneficial hobbies
Many hobby based activities seem to help vitiligo fighters by stimulating the imagination and promoting a sense of inner peace. Thankfully, all art forms are enjoyable, and there are no such rights and wrongs. Read How can Art help challenge vitiligo?
Approximately all vitiligo cases can be exacerbated by stress. Art making can lower blood pressure, slow down breathing and calm the central nervous system. Pick an activity you like. It can be anything – painting, sketching, dancing, singing, listening to music or playing a musical instrument.
6 | Combat Fatigue smartly
At times, it would be hard to keep up with your chosen line of vitiligo treatment due to mental fatigue. Setting your priorities right can amp up your motivation. To maintain the right energy levels, set aside quiet time each day. Listen to audiotapes that promote positive thinking and deliver a healing message.
7 | Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Take care of yourself to deal with the emotional side of the diagnosis. Grieving after diagnosis is taxing physically, and emotionally. So, get enough sleep and eat healthy. This can improve your motivation to recover from vitiligo.
8 | Join a support group
Many people find joining a vitiligo support group tremendously helpful right after diagnosis. While they don’t exactly replace the standard medical care, they can you feel less isolated. The groups come in a variety of formats. Introspect to know what exactly you want at the moment. If you were recently diagnosed with vitiligo, you will benefit more from joining an educational group that offers helpful information and resources on the chronic skin disorder.
Attend a few support group meetings to make sure it meets your needs. Some fellow group members may be pessimistic about their future with vitiligo, while you could be looking for hope and optimism. Don’t feel obligated to stay connected if a group dynamic is upsetting. Not all support groups are a good match for you. Instead, go for online support groups.