Heart Of A Warrior ~ An Inspirational Woman
Updated: Apr 29
March being Women’s History Month, I would like to celebrate an incredible woman that inspires and motivates me. A woman whose resilience and tenacity I not only admire but also respect.
I am celebrating Uchenna Mary Udeh - Founder of Diamonds in The Rough, a non-profit organisation dedicated to impacting and supporting the lives of those dealing with adversities and going through a transitional time in their lives. An organisation that places a huge emphasis on the importance of wholesome social impact for supporting communities to spread love, light and hope to all; especially those who are at the risk of exclusion due to traumatic experience(s). Uchenna Mary Udeh herself had a challenging childhood as a result of abuse and molestation. As a result, she relocated to the united kingdom as a teenager, away from everything and everyone she loved and knew, away from her country to start life all over again. This did not deter her as she was determined to make the best out of life and live her best life. Unfortunately, the effect of the early trauma took its toll on her as she struggled with her identity, self-love, worth and this led to bad decisions, terrible relationships and finding her true purpose.
During her teenage years, Uchenna had to live with an alter ego. One for the world and the other which was her real identity the one she looked at but couldn’t bear to face every day in the mirror. The one she did constant battle with, and sadly lost. The need to understand the human mind and ways to achieve wholeness led her to study psychology at university. She was determined to understand behavioural patterns, life’s mysteries in the hope that she would find answers and the solace she desperately sought. As she battled with insomnia, depression and other mental health illness as a result of the trauma she experienced, she also had to battle with domestic and emotional abuse from her partner, with her mother being the only person she could speak to and find some sort of solace. Yet again disaster struck as in her final year at the university, she lost her mother to an untimely death.
This turn of event left her devastated, alone, heartbroken and completely in shock. However, Uchenna was determined to not give up and continued with her studies. Still trying to pick up her life (as her mother was the one person she felt safe with and whom showered her with unconditional love and reason to keep on moving), the loss of her mum was a wake up call for her as life was about to take a different turn and not for the better either.
At the age of 21, a few months after the untimely death of her mother, her father who was all the stability and love she had remaining died suddenly from a heart attack - Another untimely death. All within the space of a year. Uchenna, was determined to make her parents proud. She went ahead to attain a CIPD qualification. Building her academic portfolio, she knew she was all alone and had no choice but to push and make something out of life. however, she was dealing with mental health issues as her depression, anxiety got worse, her alter ego was in full effect. She couldn’t slow down as she had to survive.
She moved into central London and got her first professional job in the heart and city of London within months of losing her parents. She could barely mourn them properly as a result she lived her life on auto pilot mode whilst trying to make something of her life.
Exactly a year after burying her parents, there was a terrible riot in north London and unfortunately, Uchennas house was one of those burnt to the ground. This left her not only homeless, but completely in disarray. she lost all she ever had, she was completely alone, lost, empty, broken! But yet determined not to give up, she kept forging ahead and continued working and slowly got back on track. She rented a place and carried on working, worked as a human resources advisor and later put her Psychology experience to good use by working in academia for one of the UK’s, and indeed world’s best universities of science, technology and medicine in London.
Uchenna was desperate to feel loved and not be alone as a result of all she’d been through and this drove her into making wrong choices in love. Her relationships didn’t only add to her pain, but also broke her in so many ways. She dealt with emotional abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, which led to loss, suicide attempts, and mental health issues.
November 2015, whilst still trying to get herself together after recovering from a very traumatic loss in her life, Uchenna was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness which left her fighting for her life for the next 4 years. During that period, she learnt to love herself, embrace herself fully, find her faith, heal from all her trauma and accept who she was. This gave her the confidence and strength to fight through her illness.
July 2019 her illness took a turn for the worse and the doctors were doing all they could to save her as she was deteriorating. Uchenna was determined to fight and wasn’t ready to give up as she believed she was made for more and refused to accept her life was meant to be filled with pain, grief and untimely death. She was determined to tell her story if it could save just one person’s life as she realised built up pain causes physical and mental damage to the body. Whilst lying on her hospital bed, she founded DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH.
Diamonds In The Rough is An organisation set up to serve rape survivors, those that have been and dealing with abuse, molestation and drug addiction. Uchenna is determined to spread awareness about mental health issues, the ripple effect of unresolved trauma and its link to mental health issues. She wanted to speak her truth to those living with loss and grief, those that are homeless and alone. She was determined to let them know the importance of letting go, in order to heal so they don’t find themselves on that bed fighting for their life. She wanted the world to know how critical it is to support one another as its those who seemingly appear strong that could be the ones in need of love and assistance the most.
Whilst in and out of hospital over the years she developed a flare for writing and kept a journal and this helped her put all her thoughts on paper and a way for her to reflect and work towards healing. She hoped to someday write a book to help others who may have faced similar struggles. When the doctors weren’t sure she would recover, as she lay on that hospital bed, she began sending motivational posts out via social media. She wasn’t sure there would be much time left to do so.
She was Determined to tell her truth and touch lives. Deep down she wasn’t ready to leave this world as she had so much life and live inside of her, so much she was hoping to experience, so much she had inside of her to give herself and the world. You see through her trials and tribulations especially her illness , she found herself and fell in love with herself as she fought for her life, her sanity and just rising from the darkness she was in, she hoped if she got out of it, she would explore the woman she’d morphed into.
She wanted to experience life and see life through the eyes of this new woman she’d blossomed into. So, she held onto that dream on that hospital bed, and lived those dreams through writing and speaking to others through her stories.
She convinced herself that if it would make a difference to one person at least that way she’ll know her life had a purpose and all that happened to her was for a reason to touch someone’s life. if she had to go out of the world, she’ll do it with a bang. The days she couldn’t type, she downloaded a text to converter to write her thoughts and words and all she was feeling. She had someone an amazing lady that volunteered to help her manage the DITR page.
Uchenna thought to herself if she left the world at least she’d be remembered. She got responses from random people and this gave her a morale boost and showed her that she was born for that purpose and if she could fight a little bit more, her life would indeed not be in vain the pain, struggles all the year was for a reason. She realised she’d just found her true purpose. To speak to people. Touch lives and help those that need their voices to be heard.
An amazing thing happened to her when she realised this. She was given hope. Her faith, courage and determination to live came into play. She spoke life into her body, fought against all odds. Her body began recovering. The doctors still say her case is a medical miracle. She was released from hospital in time for Christmas.
Uchenna, after spending practically the most of whole year of 2019 in the hospital, decided to spend the whole of Christmas after being discharged from the hospital with those in need. She dedicated the Christmas to doing charity work. She believed she was given a second chance to life due to dedicating her life to help others and she wasn’t going to take it for granted. Filled with so much gratitude for life. she registered the organisation fully and has continued her work sending out love, light and hope to everyone as best she can.
I celebrate UCHENNA MARY UDEH. Her resilience, positivity and heart to love everyone even after all she’s been through is not only courageous but inspirational. Through her trials, she grew, embraced herself, learnt to love herself and heal physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, she not only found herself, but dedicated her life to helping others. she refused to allow her past or hurt determine who she is or give up her fight.
I celebrate Uchenna, because I am Uchenna and I deserve to celebrate myself, looking back at where I’ve come from and all that’s happened to me and where I am presently in life - alive, breathing. This is why I celebrate not just myself, but everyone that’s ever had to deal with life’s trauma, and yet still find the strength to keep going and push through life!