read the full story
read the full story
My name is Ivona and I have been living with vitiligo for 25 years. Vitiligo is a medical condition in which patches of skin lose their color. This occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for making skin pigment, are destroyed. Vitiligo can affect any part of the body, and it can occur in people of any age, ethnicity, or sex. Vitiligo affects approximately 1% of the world population.
It can be very frustrating for many its unpredictable progression, which can be slow or rapid. As of today there is no cure for vitiligo, but new hope is on the horizon.
From my childhood memories, my parents never made a big deal that I had Vitiligo. Honestly, we didn’t really talk about it. They didn’t want me to feel different from the other kids, but I knew I was different and couldn’t understand why me. I was the only one in my family with Vitiligo at the time.
Vitiligo was emotionally and socially devastating for me. Growing up I was called names like “cow” and frequently stared at. My high school years were a bit better then elementary school years. That’s when I found my new best friend, makeup. I never left my house without makeup. Most people in high school had no idea that I had Vitiligo. I never really gave them the opportunity to. I avoided going to parties, especially if it involved the beach or water. I was too afraid that my makeup would come off and that someone would find out I had Vitiligo. Even as I got older I found most days struggling to accept my spots. I would spend a lot of time on my own feeling sad and wondering how different my life would be if I never had it. It affected everything I did and it was on my mind all the time.
For me, acceptance come in my 30ies. Social media like Instagram helped me realize that I was not alone. I would see posts from all over the world of beautiful people with Vitiligo. I recently married the man of my dreams who loves me and all my spots, he was my true inspiration why I wanted to share my Vitiligo story. He gave me the confidence that I struggled for so long to find.
Accepting my vitiligo did not come easy. Mental health was a huge factor for me growing up. I had days that were filled with anxiety then followed by sadness and anger. It took a long time for me to accept who I was physically. Sharing my vitiligo story with others was very frightening but it was the best thing that I have done for myself. I am so much more comfortable with my skin and most importantly happy and in peace with myself.