Vitiligo makes your skin look different than those around you and that gets some unwanted attention and unthoughtful comments. June 25th is celebrated as World Vitiligo Day to spread awareness among people about this skin condition. People with Vitiligo have their own insecurities and set of problems to deal with. To understand that better, CitySpidey talked to Divya Priya, 22, a resident of Dwarka Mor who was only 3 when a white patch appeared on her ankle.
Priya’s family didn't know about Vitiligo back then. While recalling her school day, she shared, "I remember a boy started teasing me and said things like ‘you look so horrible with this skin, ‘black and white t.v.’, ‘surf excel detergent’ and so on. That was the time when I first realised that there is something unnatural about me. I started thinking that I don't look good, why did God give me this skin? ".
For Divya, it was very hard to deal with all that at such an early age. Even after she started going to college, things didn’t change a lot. No matter how calm she was, things like these always made her sad and uncomfortable. Every day was like fighting a battle.
"The medication I took to cure Vitiligo affected me a lot. My parents tried every possible thing to cure my Vitiligo. I also wanted to get cured as my personal life as well as professional life were getting affected. I started having panic attacks and stress anxiety", said Divya. She further added, "Self-acceptance is very important especially when you’re going through something like this. Vitiligo is just a skin condition but people treat it like something harmful and contagious when it’s not".
Divya says that now she feels very confident about her skin and she doesn't care what people think about her, or how they stare at her. It was not something that happened overnight, it was a gradual process.
"People sometimes even say that we shouldn't wear short dresses, it doesn't look good on us. I have heard lots of ‘what will people think’. I have been told that being a girl, I will face problems in marriage, either I will not get married or there are less chances of getting married. People with vitiligo in India have more social problems than in other countries. Sometimes I have seen women not supporting women, they comment on their appearance, looks, dressing sense, bodies, and what not. But if I talk about myself, the women around me, my mother, my friends, they have always supported me, encouraged me, never made me feel down or different", said Divya.
Many people still think that Vitiligo is contagious, which is not true. Divya is the first child in her family who has Vitiligo. Some of her relatives think that Vitiligo is contagious and if they will touch her it will happen to them as well.
After some years Divya's younger brother also got Vitiligo. She says that her family was very supportive right from the start. “I recall when I was child, people usually said things like ‘Awwww kitni sundar hai kitni pyari hai lekin Bhagwan ne isko ye kesa bna diya' and then they questioned me how this happened and if I did something wrong. I was like, just a few seconds ago you were blaming God for all this and now you are asking me. I just laugh at it", said Divya.
She has finally accepted herself and is a confident young woman because, for her, a skin condition doesn't change the fact that she is beautiful.