Chinonso Ojukwu grew up in an aggressive home where there were constant fights and arguments. From the outside looking in, you could never tell because she had become a master at masking not only what was really happening at home but even more so how it affected her on a day to day basis.
“Never knowing what would trigger an outburst, I always felt ashamed, lonely and confused.”
Chinonso’s new story began exactly when she thought it would end – standing at the edge of the road ready to run in front of moving traffic. She reached this point because of everything she had bottled up inside of her since she was young, and this seemed to be the only way to end it all. However, a light at the end of a very dark tunnel came from an unexpected place.
“Thinking back to that moment, I can’t believe that was me. I can never imagine myself ever doing something like that today but the journey to get to this point was a long one. Growing up I always felt very alone. My sister was studying at a boarding school and my mum worked very long hours to make ends meet.
Later when I too attended boarding school that’s when those feelings of loneliness turned into not wanting to leave my room, or take care of my appearance or health. I felt so low that my roommate had to drag me to do basic tasks like showering. I didn’t have the strength to do anything.
It felt like a dark cloud was looming over me and I was drowning in a sadness that I couldn’t put into words. I was so afraid of being misunderstood or judged that I never told my family what I was going through. On social media, I would portray myself as confident, but in reality, I battled many insecurities about myself and always tried to be someone that I wasn’t.
I would go to parties, or try to do what other people my age did, but nothing ever filled the gaping hole I felt inside of me. I felt as though I was trapped and the only way I could get a sense of emotional release was by inflicting pain on myself.
However, very quickly I realised that this would only work momentarily, and the more I did this, the emptier I felt inside. No one knew. I hid my scars under long sleeves and hoodies, even in the summer.
One day, I was stopped by a young girl holding a leaflet in her hand, inviting me to an event being held by the Victory Youth Group. When I came, I didn’t understand much of what was going on, but the environment was so different to anything I knew, everyone was so happy and lively. I felt so much peace just sitting down in my chair. Although I was so unfamiliar with everything going on, something inside of me was telling me to give this place a chance. When the event finished, everyone cleared the room but I remained seated. An advisor asked me if I was waiting for the service that was about to start and because I didn’t want to leave I said yes. I received a prayer which left me feeling so much lighter, and I slept so well that night for the first time in a while.
I was advised to start attending the Friday meetings to receive spiritual support against the negative thoughts, and with every meeting that I attended the messages led me to have a more positive mindset.
The new Chinonso now had a desire to use her experience to help others who were going through the same as she once did. Today, although I don’t have everything, inside I am complete and I have a strength to fight for my life that I didn’t have before. If you told me 5 years ago that this year I would graduate as a doctor, so I can help others to stay alive, I wouldn’t have believed you. My life took a complete turnaround.
I invite you to attend this coming Sunday at 10am for an opportunity to begin your new story!”