This week, from 13th-19th May, has been all about raising awareness of mental health. The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 is Body Image – an extremely relevant topic for those of us who have vitiligo, a condition that affects the skin and creates areas of depigmentation. Skin diseases like vitiligo can affect peoples’ everyday lives, mental health and confidence.
We recently caught up with some friends of Vitiliglow™, all of whom live with vitiligo – or as Nike has said, “Vitiligo’s got to live with me!”
Polly Gotschi, founder of Vitiliglow™, has vitiligo, and her sons do, too! One of Polly’s sons, Nike, explains about his experience of living with vitiligo.
“When you get something that’s going to affect your looks, it does have an effect on you, but I just look at it like this: I’ve not got to live with vitiligo – vitiligo’s got to live with me! I’m not going to let it affect me or change what I do. I’ve embraced it.”
Joti, a close friend of Vitiliglow™, kindly shared her experience of living with vitiligo and how it affects her everyday life. “I have been testing the waters by going out with and without make up, and I’ll tell my daughter that I’m a bit conscious of how I feel sometimes and that I’m going to apply a little bit of makeup, and she’ll tell me not to do it! She says, ‘If people look, they’ll look.’”
Joti continues, “I’m trying to get her to be confident with her own body but also, as she gets older, to know what to say if children say to her at the school gate, ‘What’s that on your mummy’s hand?’ I want her to be in a position where she can respond and say ‘Look, this is what my mum’s got, she can’t change it, she’s still my mum, she does what other mums do, and the colour doesn’t define who she is.’”
Founder of Vitiliglow™, Polly, explains how she feels about her son, Nike, having vitiligo too. “I feel terrible that he might have inherited it from me because it can be hereditary... but then there are a lot of worse things he could’ve got from me!”
Body Image matters, and it’s important that we all practise self-care and self-love, and boost our self-esteem if we need to. Take some time this Mental Health Awareness Week to focus on yourself, and remember that help and support is always available.