Quality of life, Coping and Social Impact
The society we live in places great importance in the outer appearance of a person and whether it is right or wrong it is a fact that we must accept. This however doesn’t mean you can not overcome any situation and be happy and thrive. The world is full of examples of people who have overcome medical conditions and accidents living a life full of possibilities and hope. At the end of the day people will look at qualities that matter most in a person and that quality is not seen on your skin or outer appearance.
When you are diagnosed with Vitiligo the psychological and societal impact you will be facing might be too overwhelming to deal with on your own. This is where finding the right doctor becomes crucial. A doctor who has experience with Vitiligo will give you a support system for your condition so you can cope and have a great quality of life (QoL).
The importance of QoL is highlighted for Vitiligo because the disease does not have any physical symptoms except the discoloration; its greatest impact is psychological. This is why the impact on your QoL should be part of the initial consultation and integral part of your overall treatment.
Your doctor must make an assessment of the psychological impact Vitiligo will have and determine how it will affect your QoL. The primary goal should be to improve your QoL along with the prescribed therapy to stop the spreading of the Vitiligo and start the process of re-pigmenting the patches on your skin. This process is going to differ from clinician to clinician because there is no standard method of dealing with the psychological impact of the disease.Each person has different levels of tolerance and vulnerability to the condition they are facing and understanding what these tolerances are will help someone with Vitiligo live with the realities of their condition.
No matter how strong you are Vitiligo will affect you and how people interact with you. Understanding this fact will help you face the realities you will have to deal with until your condition improves. You can ask your doctor, therapist, counselors and support groups to help you with this process. Some of the things you can do to help you cope include:
- Knowing your disease –knowing what you have will help you deal with it more effectively. You will not fall victim to snake oil salesman on the internet promising to cure your Vitiligo if you take their concoction. You will be empowered by the knowledge you gain which in turn will help you cope with your Vitiligo with more confidence.
- Be realistic – the best way to cope with any situation is by being honest. Positive thinking is very important when dealing with Vitiligo but don’t create unrealistic expectation. Repeated failures of these unrealistic goals will have a negative effect on your condition which in turn can create acts of desperation.
- Don’t isolate your self – in countries where they don’t have effective therapies patients with Vitiligo isolate themselves to avoid social stigmas, discrimination and other aspects associated with the condition. This has a negative psychological impact and it more than likely will exacerbate your Vitiligo. Interact with your social circle as much as possible and create new ones around positive people.
- Support Organizations – find out about associations created specifically for Vitiligo patients in your area or nearby offering support. Our resource page has a list of the most trusted and recognized organizations online around the world for Vitiligo.
You can also ask your therapist, doctor, family, friends and support group to help you improve the following strategies:
- How to deal with stressful conditions such as being out in public and avoiding or confronting people who are staring at you.
- How to avoid stressful situations until you are more confident about your Vitiligo. Social occasions at the beach, playing sports or being intimate can be very difficult in the beginning. Learning these strategies will help you feel more confident so you can participate in everything life has to offer.
- How to deal with all the feelings you are experiencing because of a stressful event. Understanding what you are feeling or talking to someone about it is very helpful.
The key to coping is not dismissing how you feel and doing what works for you. Everyone is different and what might be right for one person may be catastrophically wrong for you.
You are responsible for your own quality of life so choose what works for you so your self esteem and confidence will help you deal with your Vitiligo.