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Behind the Heart with Chiadi Ndu: I Own My Story



Chiadi NduI knew that she had come a very long way but nothing prepared me for the strength and resilience she exhibited in that piece she posted on the popular female social media platform. I was moved by her openness and candor. I called her and told her how I felt and her response wouldn’t stop ringing in my heart. “Chi,” she said, “I have to own my story.”  Those words resonated and once again I connected with Nne-Nne, my precious cousin.

I understand what it means to “own my story” because I have spent the past couple of years trying to do just that.  For me, it has meant learning to face my pain, my mistakes and my weaknesses.   From starting to own my story, I am beginning to come to terms with most of my “negatives” and this has freed me to start celebrating my “positives”. I have finally started to breathe out and I can hardly wait to finish exhaling.

Like Nne-Nne, “owning my story” has expedited my healing process. With her kind permission, I have replicated parts of her story:

I was born in the early 70s, just as the Nigerian civil war was wrapping up. Birthed by a “Biafran” mother and sired by a Nigerian army officer, I belonged to the group of children commonly referred to as “the bastards of Biafra”.

Growing up was particularly difficult and coming from a prominent Eastern family didn’t make it any easier. Right from a tender age, I felt unwanted, unloved and isolated. I knew what my existence encapsulated  – a source of shame to the family and like a cloak, I wore it everywhere I went. I remember being frequently asked which of the men in the family was my father every time I mentioned my last name and this caused me quite a lot of shame and anxiety. Sometimes I would mumble an incoherent answer and other times I would lie and mention my mother’s big brother. I couldn’t wait to get married and drop that name, I was tired of the “who’s your father?” interrogation…

I was open to my husband about my life’s struggles; I bared it all because I felt it was okay to be vulnerable with the one you would spend the rest of your life with. I told him about how being a bastard and being called one made me feel and I made him promise he would never call me that.

The very first huge fight we had he called me just that. I remember writhing in pain for days on end. That was the beginning of many such episodes. ‘Bastard’ became his favorite pet name for me, that and other vile names. Every time he spat that name at me, something little died in me and as the years wore on, I discovered I felt nothing for him…

As for my mother, she’s failed me time and time again. I feel as though I spent most of my childhood begging for her love and offering penance for coming into her life and turning it upside down.

A loveless childhood and a loveless marriage haven’t stopped me. I’m firing on all four cylinders, making the most of my life, and being the great parent I never had to my children. I’m a work in progress no doubt, and part of this progress is that I’m able to share my story on such a huge platform and not feel shame….

I am sure you held your breath most of the time just reading Nne-Nne’s story. For a very long time, I didn’t realize that I was living my life holding my breath too – not exhaling. But now life and a bit of science have both taught me that exhalation heals and relaxes; and “owning my story” feels like breathing out.

I celebrate the woman Nne-Nne has metamorphosed into. She has refused to be held back by the past.

Like her, you too can own your story (after all it’s yours to do with as you choose) and you can choose to exhale.

CHIADI NDU was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987 but has since obtained a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology. A Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, she runs BTH Integrated Wellness and Therapy. Email: [email protected] BTH provides premium professional counselling services with experts who understand how the mind works; offering a confidential and safe environment where our clients can work on any stressful, traumatic or simply uncomfortable issues they may be facing- ANXIETY, GRIEF, FEAR, TRAUMA, LOSS, FINANCES OR HEALTH  CHALLENGES. Website:


  1. A Loco Viva Voce

    February 24, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Wow! Touching story. Passes a strong message. So many people are held back by the verbal abuse of others. They let others decide their fate. It’s really time we owed our own story. Well done!

  2. similicious

    February 24, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I now understand the power in owning my story and not letting others’ perception hold me back any longer. Once you ‘own’ your story, it is almost difficult for words about your story to bite.

  3. Depressed somebody

    February 24, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Does anyone know where to get “anti depressants” (or whatever) in Lagos? I’m seriously depressed and seriously suicidal. I don’t need anybody to preach to me seriously i have heard every line and i am still going to do it, I need drugs, or a shrink or something. Before Friday. I’m doing orphenadrine and vodka.planned everything. some part of me dont want to do it, but the remaining part dont care, I want out. But i feel like drugs might help…or something, apart from preaching and telling me about devil and God

    • Ekik

      February 24, 2016 at 11:55 am

      @ depressed somebody, please why not contact the author of this article. Her bio says she’s a therapist, she just might be able to help you.

    • GraceOfGOD

      February 24, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Good afternoon sweetie, I actually did not want to comment due to time constraint BUT I could not ignore your comment. Darling I have been there, I went through that DANGEROUS path of DEPRESSION and I believe I know how you feel. I was ALONE, I had no one to really talk to, I had NO ONE to help me out. I thought about SUICIDE, I had no more hope, I thought I was USELESS BUT THEN I talked to GOD. Honey I know you said you don’t want to hear a preaching BUT it is GOD ALONE WHO helped me to SURVIVE, it is GOD ALONE WHO RESCUED me. Please and PLEASE AGAIN, TALK to GOD, OPEN your heart, TELL HIM about your PAIN, DECEPTION, ASK HIM for HELP and HE will SAVE you, HE will give you HOPE and make everything RIGHT. I invoke the SPIRIT of the ALMIGHTY GOD to come and REMOVE those suicidal thoughts from your head, I command HEALING, BLESSING upon you, YOU shall be a WINNER not a loser, you shall be the HEAD not the TAIL and above all you shall have GOD as your MASTER and PROTECTOR in the MIGHTY name of JESUS CHRIST I prayed, amen. Receive VERY HUGE E-HUGS and stay BLESSED and POSITIVE 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  4. Chu

    February 24, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Please contact the author.
    Bellanaija please do whatever you can to assist. Her life is too precious to go like that.

  5. Depressed somebody

    February 24, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    well, i checked her website and she offers “premium proffessional service”. If i could afford premium in life, I bet I woulndt be putting this up would I?

    • Person

      February 24, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      2 of my friends are psychiatrists. One is a Senior Resident of Psychiatry at LUTH and the other is Consultant Psychiatrist at Federal Neuro Psychiatry Hospital in Yaba. Please drop your contact details and I’ll have one of them call you and offer the help you need.

    • Niola

      February 24, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      @Depressed somebody, I am sure if you send her an email at [email protected] she will most likely respond. I did a quick research for you on anti-depressants and doctors to call before you do anything crazy, Fammed Services, 15 Agard St. Sabo Yaba, Lagos (opposite White House Canteen) Dr. Famuyiwa. 0807 665 9140. Also I heard Valium, Prozac and Zantax may be used temporarily I don’t know. I know right now preaching is the last thing you want to hear that is why I attempted to resolve your issue first, Can we talk and then pray together please send me an email at [email protected]

  6. Anonymous

    February 24, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Hi. Depression really is a very serious condition but thankfully, you don’t have to go through it alone.

    Please send an email to [email protected] or visit to book an appointment. There are experienced counsellors who are available and willing to help you work through this.

  7. Authentic Sunshine

    February 24, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Ok. So you can’t afford her premium services. That’s fine. BN pls ask the author if she can provide one free service a month for BN users. She appears nice. No harm asking is there? In the meantime get Diazepam from a chemist. One tab at night. SHOULD take you off the edge and help you get some sleep.
    Take one step at a time. Have a wash, a healthy meal then relax. Next search for Anne Kansime online. She is a very funny Kenyan blogger, mind her older editions are better.
    That been said, I will preach girl and PREACH I will. Who’s given you the right to think it can’t get better. Most importantly your life isn’t yours. Pass it over to him who is most powerful and ever merciful. Say a few words. Dear Lord, I need you. I welcome your Holy Spirit into my soul. Take control of my life. Give me your Life, your Peace and your Joy. In Jesus Name. (that is if you are a Christian otherwise get spiritual healing whichever way you prefer). Note that your mind and spirit are two key players in your mental wellbeing.
    Right now babe…..Don’t Think, Don’t Act, Don’t Understand, Don’t Rationalise. Just breathe and Live. Ring somebody, anybody. Listen to lovely tunes. Try Tasha Cobbs. You’ll get there. Slowly but surely – If you believe.

  8. Depressed somebody

    February 24, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I’m not even using my real email address cos I don’t want to be contacted or recognised as the girl who “chickened out” anonymity it is. I hate it when people think suicidal people are seeking for attention! I’m not, I think ive passed counselling at this stage.

    @Niola, I tried the number for Fammed, did not get through.Maybe ill stroll by and see if anyone is there. I think ill feel pretty much weird talking to strangers about my crap, it’s not like they would understand, even people that actually care cant seem to wrap their heads around it when i tell them how i someone even told me to “laugh jor afterall that’s what u do best. What happened to that happy independent girl”. so ignorant and annoying. The person who sits beside me every single day has no idea ive planned my own death lol. So talking about it is off the table, ill feel stupid(they say rich people talk about suicide when they are bored) lol…Thanks for well meaning responses tho. I read all about depression and stuff and even took various online assesments(i’m also supposedly bipolar bla bla) so i’m hoping this is a manic phase that will pass and maybe saturday will come and I will chicken out cos I hate drugs and maybe I won’t bring myself to swallowing a whole 18 of em.

    I would however still want to try drugs, I hear that it takes about 2 months for some to work, I could wait that long and if i still want out then ill just do it then. I think if someone just wrapped chalk and put it inside “nylon” for me pretending it was anti depressants sef i’ll believe I was getting “help”. I don’t want to hurt my mum but thats not enough reason anymore.

    • Sisieko

      February 24, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Hello… if you can send me an email [email protected], I can hook you up with a psychiatrist friend. I am sure he will see you free of charge…. Take it easy. There’s light at the end of every tunnel.

    • Tosin

      February 24, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Go to hospital this woman. If in Lagos, use the suggestions above.
      Kai – take medicine, no. Ask the writer, no. Tell a person to help you, no. Talk to God, no way. (Why nah?) Please try one. Just manage, get to hospital.

    • Person

      February 24, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      OK. I just spoke with my friends. Can you go to the psychiatric clinic tomorrow? It’s at 6, Harvey Road, Yaba. There’ll be specialist doctors there is help you. Please, I beg you in the name of all that you believe in, go to Yaba tomorrow.

    • chichi

      February 25, 2016 at 12:01 am

      What she needs is not hospital or psychiatrists or therapists….she needs friendship that cares loves and listens without pretence or falsehoo….DS please drop your number inbox @ [email protected] let’s chat..hopefully pranksters Will not send in mails pretending to be you.

    • Niola

      February 25, 2016 at 9:46 am

      I haven’t heard from you pls send an email may be there is something wrong with that email send it to [email protected]..just see how people who don’t know you yet care so much about you imagine your mum and loved ones pls do not do anything that will hurt them..send me an email and we will just chat..stay strong

  9. Chiadi Ndu

    February 24, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    @ Depressed Somebody – If you call me on Monday, I will be available to speak to you. I am presently out of town and I won’t be back till then. Please don’t do anything drastic. If you can see another Therapist before then please do. Inbox your details, I will be willing to refer you to someone immediately. Your wellness is more important to me than the money….

  10. Rose

    February 24, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    @depressedsomebody…I have no words…I can’t say I know how it feels or anything like that…but what I do know is that there is power in the name of JESUS to break every CHAIN….believe me…this I know…. This I am speaking from my on personal encounter with GOD….just call the name JESUS… Submit all to him….let him know you can’t do it on your own….and watch HIM free you from every bondage…I pray that tonight the good Lord will visit you and envelope you in His love…HE will give you hope were you feel hopeless…. And make you know you mean the world to him…May HE bless you such that you will be able to see yourself through HIS eyes. This I ask through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. Amen

  11. Anonymous

    February 24, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Please do not take your life.I dare say I know a little about how u feel.I found out I had contracted HIV sometime last yr.I got married in 2014 as a virgin.I had no risk behaviour whatsoever.Hubby swears he hasn’t been with anyone since we met.So u can imagine my shock and I was depressed but I just gave it all to the Lord.I take my drugs daily and I’m actually believing God for total healing.I have peace now,only God could have done that.Life is actually beautiful,don’t leave us please.You actually need to go see a Psychiatrist.God bless you.

  12. Depressed somebody

    February 25, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Thanks everyone…good news is I don’t know where to get more pills, Im supposed to get prescription to get the particular drug I need to OD on…

    @person I will go to Harvey road in a bit, my office is one bike away so I won’t be lazy about it I hope I won’t be turned back at the entrance for lack of referral?

    @Authentic Sunshine I tried getting diazepam but I’m supposed to come with hospital prescription..maybe ill try one of these local chemists who won’t care

    @Chaindi Ndu I have sent you a mail.

    • Person

      February 25, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Were you able to make it to LUTH Psychiatric Clinic today? Were you seen? I hear the clinic is every Thursday, if you can go again, ask for Dr. Bolu . If not, you can go to LUTH A&E in Idi Araba. You will be seen.

    • Depressed somebody

      February 26, 2016 at 9:30 am

      I did, I assumed it was a regular hospital where you walk in asking to see a doctor and someone pops i ur face, It’s a very huge hospital and after walking round and having no name or referral to give any of the nurses of course i had to carry my sorry tired ass back home..

      Even trying to “not kill myself” is more stressful than killing myself which is ridiculous! Do I want to do this or nah, of course I do and I have tried not to and did everything y’all asked but well dead ends so I’m done!

      Thanks for all the attempts, and the display of “love”. Whatever it is, if im alive by monday ill be here to drop a comment..

  13. Chiadi Ndu

    February 25, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Very well done- that’s a great step you just took. I have replied your mail. Take care

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