Late July 2016
IS ABOUT MANAGING STRESS AND WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS IN YOUR LIFE GO COMPLETELY PEAR-SHAPED…
First of all, welcome to the first newsletter of Vitiligo Support UK. We are a new charity, and hoping to establish ourselves as a source of information, help and encouragement to anyone with vitiligo. Follow us on Twitter and look out for the creation of our Facebook page to learn more about us as we (hopefuly) grow!
We all have an interest in stress. There is strong anecdotal evidence (because there’s been, as far as I’m aware no real study in this area) that stress can cause, or increase, your vitiligo. I’ve experienced this myself, as my small original patch grew to my face, and beyond!, during a very stressful period of my life. So then we ironically experience the stress of trying to avoid stress. During the past few weeks, with family issues, looking for a job, thinking about setting this charity up, I’ve been looking for ways to manage my stress better, and here’s my top list! I hope that you find something helpful here, and please share your own suggestions too. If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings, please see the HELP link at the end, and get advice or support from a professional.
First up is a very useful set of free guided meditations from the University of California, Los Angeles
I’ve also recently been introduced to this website, by one of our Twitter followers. It also has a free guided meditation, and a lovely ethos of “increasing kindness”. After slightly bruising experiences recently, this sounded like just what we all need!
Secondly, I’ve found deep breathing can be a practically instantaneous way of calming your heart rate and, by focusing on your breath, helps to release your mind from the teeming anxious thoughts that may be overwhelming it.
There are many places you can find breathing techniques online, but this simple diagram, and timings for inhalations and exhalations, is a good place to start.
You’ll find recommendations online of longer intervals of holding your breath and inhaling and exhaling – please work up to these as it can make you light-headed to be over-ambitious, when you first start!
Thirdly, you may, like me, need some help in making a difficult decision, or just with the endless decisions we are faced with, day in, day out.
Making decisions in our lives can be a major source of stress, to the point where we become anxious and paralysed with indecision.
TS Eliot talked about doing the “right thing for the wrong reasons”, but it’s probably also that we are worried about doing the “wrong thing for the right reasons”.
I remember though a friend telling me about Nancy Mitford’s advice to “never look back” I also found some of the ideas in this article useful:
I really like the idea of limiting your time spent (agonizing?) on making a decision. It’s worth giving this a try. If you think a decision is too important to be made in a hurry, read about the important decision made quickly in this article.
The key is to clear your mind about the issues, and to avoid regret. Easier said than done, I know.
I also like the idea of forming habits to do positive things in your life, rather than making open-ended resolutions that then make you feel guilty if you haven’t done them, but don’t help you get the action done.
I’ve been following a really great blog on fitness and general health habits and the writer covers habits here. Also throughout her blog.
It transformed both getting myself to the gym, and also being kinder to myself when the summer holidays hit and I wasn’t able to go as regularly.
There’s also this great post, which helped me make at least one of my major decisions recently, thank you, Bethany!
I also enjoyed reading about Timothy Wilson’s idea of rewriting your ‘story’, although his book gets mixed reviews on Amazon, the idea seemed really inspiring. I am not a particular fan of the school of positivism (mostly because if you have a chronic illness, or several, it can seem a bit trite), but the idea that you can recast stressful experiences in your life through a re-writing of them (both literally and figuratively) is a positive one.
I look back on my recent experiences in, and with, vitiligo, and am trying to recast them into one where I tried my very best with some odds stacked against me, rather than…the alternative! Too depressing to tell that story at the moment! Check out the interview with Timothy Wilson.
If you are really struggling with anxiety or depression, please see your doctor and find a safe route through. Please also use the resources provided by the NHS, on the link below. Never suffer in silence.
I wish you all the very best in your vitiligo journey, be kind to yourself and others, and come back soon for our next newsletter.