This is my vitiligo journey.
Vitiligo started showing when I was 6 years old. My parents took me to the doctor who diagnosed me with Vitiligo. My treatment started even though I had no clue what Vitiligo meant. But instead of improving, my vitiligo spread; I developed spots near my eyes & on my neck. For the next many years we went from doctor to doctor and tried different treatments. I had to follow a strict diet and my whole life revolved around curing vitiligo and making my skin look "normal", even though there was no guaranteed cure for it.
My classmates called me ‘Zebra’ & my teachers didn’t pick me for class shoots; my self esteem plummeted. I once overheard the hottest girl in the class talking to her friend. She said, "I wish my nose was a bit sharper, and that I was a bit taller". And in my head, I was like "What?! Are you even serious?" A few days later, my friends were discussing their experience with acne. Their skin was breaking out and they were facing some serious acne issues at that age. To be honest, I didn't have any idea what they were talking about, I have never had that issue. My skin has always been nice to me. That's when I realized that I was doing the same thing, being thankless for what I had and focusing on what I didn't.
When I grew up, I wondered why I was spending all this time, energy and money to cure a condition that wasn't even hurting me! It wasn't worth it. It doesn't itch or burn. It doesn't cause any physical discomfort. The only difference is I have to wear sunscreen when stepping out because there isn't enough melanin to protect my skin.
A lot of people believe that consuming food items that are white or sour-tasting aggravate vitiligo. For some time, I was told to stay away from them - no milk, no curd, no eggs, no lemon, no fish. I became weak because of lack of nutrition and we decided to stop the medication. When I got older, I found out that there was no proper research to support those claims.
Once I accepted myself, life became a lot easier and I was a lot happier. We are all born so beautiful. The greatest tragedy is being convinced we are not. Imperfect is what we are and that's how it's supposed to be. I hope we all see the beauty in our imperfections.
Manisha Malik, Digital Creator