I just read a very interesting piece of research on how vitiligo sufferers feel about themselves and how they feel their appearance is perceived by others.
Unjustified though this clearly is, it seems that a lot of people with vitiligo feel stigmatised and this is one of the reasons why depression and anxiety levels in vitiligo sufferers is significantly higher than in the general population. It is also one reason why so many go to great lengths to hide their white patches from others. (I used to guard my vitiligo from everyone like a guilty secret. Interestingly, it is only now that I have regained virtually all of my pigment that I feel able to talk about it with others.)
Not surprisingly, older sufferers tend to be less depressed and anxious than younger ones, no doubt reflecting the fact that the older we become, the less concerned we tend to be about what others think of us and, of course, the less likely we are to be looking for a life-partner.
If you like reading this sort of research, this is one of the more accessible pieces (not too full of medical terms or jargon!)
The two quotes below, which are cited in the report, show how varied the attitudes of vitiligo sufferers can be towards their condition:
“I feel that without vitiligo I would be a different person, my personality is trapped
behind a wall of being very self-conscious about myself. My only wish is to be cured -
to be normal”
“I can now say that it [vitiligo] doesn't affect my life at all, because I won't let my vitiligo
make me unhappy and neither will my family and friends let it.”
My name is Caroline.