Anxiety, negative self-image and low self esteem are all emotions that can often be experienced by someone living with vitiligo. We all experience a mix of emotions every day, however, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with how you are feeling, it may be worth seeking some help so you can get the right support to help with finding healthier ways to manage such feelings.
Because vitiligo is highly noticeable, feeling negative, depressed and socially anxious is common amongst those with the condition and if help isn’t sought, then often there can be a long term negative effect on mental health.
Given how vitiligo can make some of us feel emotionally, here are some holistic ways you can manage your emotions that can help support and encourage a healthier way in living with vitiligo;
Know you’re not alone
It can often be said, that there is ‘strength in numbers’ and leaning on your community when you’re struggling can really help. Talking to other people with vitiligo can make a significant difference because they understand what you’re going through and likely know what it feels like to have experienced low confidence and self esteem. Knowing that there are others out there, not only helps to validate your feelings, but it also provides you with an opportunity to reach out to someone you have something in common with.
The people around you want to support you and there’s no shame in asking for help when you feel you need it. Sharing your story with others who have been there, or might even be dealing with something similar, can provide you with a place to vent and will allow you to process your emotions in a safe environment.
Write about it
Studies have proven the power of journaling when it comes to managing our emotions, both negative and positive. So, if you ever feel as though you are losing control of your feelings or find yourself overthinking situations, writing down your thoughts could significantly help. Journalling is a great tool for ‘offloading’ your emotions if you are feeling angry or frustrated, as it allows you to ‘dig deep’ into your thoughts and can provide clarity in how you are feeling. It is also a healthy way to release the pain of what you are going through.
Something that people who journal often find when writing down their thoughts, is that they are able to see things from a different perspective, without ruminating on them. It also helps in monitoring the triggers that can lead to outbursts. But more than anything, the act of stopping and writing down your emotions forces you to slow down, which is often the best way to reduce your anxiety, anger or feelings of frustration.
The psychological impact of vitiligo can take its toll on your mental health over time, but when these emotions are left to fester, they can become all-consuming. In these situations, it’s best to find ways to give yourself time and regain composure.
There are a few ways you can do this – a common method for gaining perspective is to count backwards from 10 to 1, which requires you to refocus and work out how you want to handle the situation. It also gives you space to calm down and adjust your thought patterns which may help in thinking more rationally. Another option if the situation allows, is to go for a short walk to catch your breath, remove yourself from the environment and give yourself time to think.
Exercise has the potential to be a great outlet for negative emotions, whether you’re feeling angry, sad or just need some time out. By doing something active such as going to the gym, cycling or running, you’re able to release energy and place your focus elsewhere.
Exercise has been proven to have a positive effect on people struggling with anxiety and depression, and the effects can last for hours after you’ve finished an exercise routine. Over time, a regular schedule of activity can boost your overall mood and help you to manage your emotions more effectively. It also serves as a great way to boost self-image and confidence, which can be hugely beneficial for those with vitiligo where image and self-esteem can sometimes be a problem.
Learning how to manage your emotions in healthier ways will help you to develop better relationships with those around you and most importantly with yourself. It can also improve your physical and mental health, and encourage a more positive outlook on life in general.
Finding ways that work for you has long term, positive benefits, so next time you are experiencing a low mood or are feeling frustrated by the challenges often associated with vitiligo, remember to find your outlet that will help you to manage negative feelings in a healthier way.